Learning of Russian language is becoming more and more popular. A lot of students from different countries such as: Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Turkey, Myanmar, India, Italy and etc. continue their education in Russia. So they start learning Russian language in their native countries. And these first steps are really important because Russian language is different and difficult for foreign students. It has different system of sounds and letters, different reading and writing.
«The process of teaching Russian language for foreign students involves comprehensive introduction of linguistic material i.e. lexical, grammatical and phonetic material is aggregated in certain complexes that involve real communication. Speaking requires students’ skills and abilities in a variety of language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing» [2, p. 95].
Listening is one of the most important types of activities. Listening (perception and understanding of oral speech) is an active creative process. Listener perceives and understands already formulated thoughts. This is accompanied by a complex mental activity and hard work of memory.
Initially, listening must be developed in close connection with speaking. This helps to establish strong links between articulatory and auditory sensations. Therefore, listening should precede speech and phonetic exercises, singing, imitation. Teaching listening skills begins with the development of phonemic and tonal hearing. Clear pronunciation skills are one of the conditions that facilitates the process of perception.
The most difficult thing for foreign students is the phonetic structure of Russian language. From one hand it is phonetic difference and from the other hand it is morphologic difference.
In Russian language the number of syllables is not always the same as the number of morphemes. The main difficulty for foreign students is distinguishing such sounds as ([б] – [п], [в] – [ф], [д] – [т], [г] – [к], [ц] – [с], [в] – [у], [ы] – [и], [ш] , [ч] – [щ]) and mastering of Russian word stress. Work for overcoming these difficulties should be done during the first year of learning Russian language.
There are different types of exercises for the development of speech and hearing. These include “Listen and repeat the following words (phrases, sentences)”. Students are supposed to repeat the proposed material after a single presentation. Exercises based on imitation on the phrase level can be as follows: “Repeat the phrase observing intonation”, “Repeat the phrase transforming the narrative tone into the interrogative tone and vice versa”. Exercises to distinguish sounds, syllables, words, phrases, semantic units in the proposed insolated or connected material are useful for the development of speech hearing.
« A student is supposed to develop lexical, grammatical and phonetic skills. Student’s attention can be concentrated on the content and not be distracted by the form only in the event that these skills are sufficiently automated. One of the types of exercises to develop the skills of probabilistic anticipation at the sentence level is as follows: “Listen to the sentences, finish and write it in your copy-books:
Я написал письмо, положил его в конверт и пошел…
(I wrote a letter, put it in an envelope and went… )
Я опустил письмо в почтовый ящик. Теперь оно лежит…
(I dropped a letter in the mailbox. Now it is… )
Мой брат хорошо плавает, потому что…
(My brother is a good swimmer, because…)
Моя сестра любит путешествовать, поэтому она…
(My sister loves to travel, so she… )
Работа продолжалась, несмотря на то что…
(I kept working, despite the fact that…)
It is recommended to use the sentences the length of which is not more than 5–7 words when teaching listening at the initial stage. It is possible to increase the length of sentences up to 10–12 words. The same applies to the number of sentences and conceptual pieces of the whole text» [4, p. 89].
«The average rate of speech (about 220–240 syllables per minute) is the most common in the process of verbal communication, with small deviations in either direction which are designated as the rate “above average” or “below average”. It is recommended to start training with a slightly slower rate (by increasing the length and number of pauses) at the initial stage. This rate is approximately 180–220 syllables per minute or 60–70 words per minute. The message volume is measured either by the number of words or sentences, or by speaking time. Simple descriptive or narrative texts consisting of 3–6 sentences, the number of which is then increased to 10–15, are recommended for the initial stage. It is usually recommended to start teaching listening with texts up to 3 minutes long. This amount of text is considered to be optimal as it does not exceed the students’ capability to retain information» [1, p. 35].
The success of listening, on the one hand, depends on the listener himself (his memory, attention, interest, and the level of speech hearing) and, on the other hand, on the conditions of perception (rate of speech, number of presentations, duration, etc.), as well as the complexities of the verbal messages. It is important to consider how the proposed messages match the experience and knowledge of students.
Teaching listening involves not only the development and training of speech mechanisms but also the development of skills to overcome difficulties that complicate reception.
«The largest group of difficulties is those related to the conditions of perception (single presentation of information, understanding the speech of people with different vocal characteristics and manner of pronunciation, the rate of speech used by the speaker, intonation tones and etc.)
The second group is the difficulties associated with the perception of linguistic form.
The third group is the difficulties associated with the perception of the subject matter of the sounding speech, the general idea, the meaning of the text and comprehension of the speaker’s intent» [3, p. 66].
Consistent development of listening comprehension skills involves the use of two exercise groups — language and speech exercises. Language exercises prepare students for listening; speech exercises teach students listening as a speech activity. The exercises should provide for interaction of listening and speaking as the two forms of oral communication.
Auditory text material must be adequate to the speech and life experience and interests of students and any other type of speech activity training. However, there are some specific requirements for audio texts. Total playing time of text at the beginning of training should not exceed 1.5–2 minutes. The time of productive listening should be gradually increased.
«An audio text should have a clear structure. It is usually divided into three parts: introduction, main part and conclusion. At first, it is preferable to use texts consisting of familiar language material. After six to eight weeks students may be offered messages containing unfamiliar vocabulary (first 1.5–3 % of the total number of words). However, these should be words that do not affect the overall understanding of the text. An audio text should have a clear structure. It is usually divided into three parts: introduction, main part and conclusion. At first, it is preferable to use texts consisting of familiar language material. After six to eight weeks students may be offered messages containing unfamiliar vocabulary (first 1.5–3 % of the total number of words). However, these should be words that do not affect the overall understanding of the text» [2, p. 156].
Understanding of verbal messages can be checked in different ways. For example, when students find the required information, they raise their hands or make non-verbal notes in a graphic manner using certain signs; when they are shown pictures that reflect the content of messages, they accept or reject the utterance (“yes” or “no”) depending on whether the pictures match the message content. Here, the teacher can use multiple choice tests which offer the listener a number of statements, out of which the correct one has to be chosen. However, these methods make it possible to check only a general understanding of the message.
«If the goal is to verify the completeness and depth of understanding, students may be offered the following tasks: fill in the blanks in the printed version of audio texts, answer questions, reproduce selected pieces of text (orally or in writing), comment on the recording by expressing their own attitude to it, use the obtained information in a discussion to prove or refute the statement discussed» [4, p. 48].
Checking general understanding does not give a complete picture of how adequately the text is perceived. At the same time, monitoring the completeness, depth and level of development of auditory skills requires the use of speaking, reading and writing in one way or another.
«This is further evidence of the close interconnection of speech activities, which proves that an integrated and balanced development of all speech skills is needed in the learning process. Game activities can be used at all learning levels (from beginner to advanced). As mentioned above, listening exercises should be included in the earliest lessons with foreign students. We propose some examples of games that can be used by teachers in the development of students’ listening skills at the beginner and intermediate levels. Game tasks usually bring variety into the learning process and increase its attractiveness to students. Besides the function of entertainment, games also promote effective acquisition of vocabulary, phonetics and grammar of the Russian language. Here are some examples:
Right or wrong
Words and structures that are used must be familiar to students. The game can be adapted to any level.
Preparation for the game.
Make a list of suitable sentences. Put 2 chairs by the blackboard so that there is enough room and students can run up to the chairs. write the word “true” over one of the chairs and “false” over the other.
Description of the game.
Divide the class into two teams and assign numbers to the players. Then pronounce a sentence, such as « Санкт-Петербург – это столица России » (St. Petersburg is the capital of Russia) . After a pause name a number: «Five». Player number five from each team has to run out and sit down on the “true” or “false” chair (in this case, the “false” one). If he chooses the right chair, he gets a point for his team.
Fragments of the studied texts can be used in the game. The teacher prepares several texts (sentences) that are right or wrong in relation to the text that the students know. This can be an easy way to check homework.
Games which involve movement are usually very popular. But if the teacher thinks that the students make a lot of noise and bustle, they can remain in their places and shout “true” or “false”. They can also mark their answers on the answer sheet individually or in groups.
Yes or no?
This game can be used at any level of understanding. Model questions and the words used must be known to the class.
Preparation for the game.
Prepare a list of suitable questions in order of increasing difficulty. There must be three times as many questions as the students. The same questions can be used more than once.
Description of the game.
All students have a number of “lives”. Give them, say, 4 lives each and let each have 4 books on the table representing those lives. The teacher asks questions that require a “yes” or “no” as the answer. Questions should be addressed to the whole class. The teacher asks questions quickly allowing very little time for students to think. If the student answers incorrectly, he “loses a life” and removes a book from the table. Since the players have several lives, they do not leave the game too quickly and thus keep interest in the game. Examples of questions depending on the level of language proficiency:
Is this a cat? (demonstration of a picture)
Вы говорите по—английски?
Do you speak English?
В комнате три лампы?
Are there three lamps in the room?
В классе 26 студентов?
Are there 26 students in this class?
Ты ходишь в университет 7 дней в неделю?
Do you go to the university 7 days a week?
Есть ли львы в Индии?
Are there lions in India?
Наполеон жил в 17 веке?
Did Napoleon live in the 17th century?
В Санкт-Петербурге население более пяти миллионов?
Does St. Petersburg have over five million people?
Владимир Путин-это президент России?
Is Vladimir Putin the President of Russia?
Comments. Students have to answer “yes” or “no” when the game is played for the first time. Thus the game checks their general understanding. Later they can answer in short sentences: “Yes, I can”, “No, I cannot” or with auxiliary verbs in any tense etc.
Alternative. If the teacher wants to test all students in the class by the same questions, the students can write “yes” or “no” on pieces of paper to answer. Questions must be numbered in this case» [4, p. 100].
These and other types of game tasks aimed at development of listening skills are useful and allow presenting difficult material in a form attractive to the students. If a wide variety of games is used, foreign language classes will become more significant for the students, since language will be studied not on its own but as a means of knowing the self and the world and as a means of communication.
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- Волина, В.В. Учимся играя / В.В. Волина. – М.: Новая школа, 1994. – 448 с.
- Рыжак, Н.А. 200 обучающих игр на занятиях иностранным языком : пособие для преподавателей / Н.А. Рыжак. – М.: Астрель : АСТ, 2009. – 158 с.
- Chamberlin, A. Play and Practice : graded games for English language teaching) / Anthony Chamberlin, Kurt Stenberg. – Illinois: National Textbook Company, 1979. – 115 p.DEVELOPMENT OF LISTENING SKILLS (Based on Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language)Written by: Власенко Наталья Ивановна, Толмачёва Ирина АнатольевнаPublished by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНАDate Published: 04/18/2017Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_ 30.04.2015_04(13)Available in: Ebook