As a teacher, sometime I found myself in the situation that my students struggled with listening. No matter how hard I try, they never seem to improve at all. Later, I learned that through extensive listening and intensive listening, students can improve their listening skills. So what is extensive listening?
Extensive listening is “where a teacher encourages students to choose for themselves what they listen to and to do so for pleasure and general language improvement.(303)” according to The Practice of English Language Teaching.
Extensive listening could be done during class time. However, it might take up too much time. As a result, extensive listening is best executed at home or outside of classroom. For example, I often assigned my adult students to listen to English radio one hour a day. They might not be able to understand it at first. But after a few months of listening to it on a regular basis, they start to pick up. They learn new vocabularies from it!
Another good example of extensive listening is Christmas caroling. Instead of simply teaching your students the lyrics, you can make a CD with all the songs you want them to learn and ask them to listen to it everyday. My young students learned how to sing the song before I begin to teach them!
However, there is still downfall for extensive listening. Extensive listening is only effective when your students have strong will enforce it. And the materials got to be exciting enough for them to follow through.