Listening comprehension skills
Thread poster: DZiW

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
May 11

Situation: A straight-A teen student able to communicate and understand AmE/BrE films/news.

Problem: The girl has big troubles distinguishing words without seeing--even partially--the interlocutor's mouth.

After a nice small talk I came to the conclusion it has to do more with a psychological problem/trauma, allegedly caused by mocking at her wearing braces or associated with her mute cousin.
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1) Wha
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Situation: A straight-A teen student able to communicate and understand AmE/BrE films/news.

Problem: The girl has big troubles distinguishing words without seeing--even partially--the interlocutor's mouth.

After a nice small talk I came to the conclusion it has to do more with a psychological problem/trauma, allegedly caused by mocking at her wearing braces or associated with her mute cousin.
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1) What you could recommend to mitigate the issue?
2) What meaningful songs would do for better understanding?


Thank you for any relevant tips
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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 16:16
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Hearing problem? May 12

Sorry if this is too obvious, but has she had her hearing tested?

Kay Denney
DZiW
 

Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:16
English to French
+ ...
Maybe not so simple. May 12

This might be a "hearing/auditory discrimination" problem ("discrimination auditive", in FR). You get totally lost when people are speaking fast or with a certain pitch/accent, especially in a noisy environment. It feels like sounds are just "cascading" in packages, with no space between the words. You need to "read" the speaker’s lips to make sense of what is said. But then, people realize fast enough your "interest" for their mouth and they don’t all end up thinking they have a piece of sp... See more
This might be a "hearing/auditory discrimination" problem ("discrimination auditive", in FR). You get totally lost when people are speaking fast or with a certain pitch/accent, especially in a noisy environment. It feels like sounds are just "cascading" in packages, with no space between the words. You need to "read" the speaker’s lips to make sense of what is said. But then, people realize fast enough your "interest" for their mouth and they don’t all end up thinking they have a piece of spinach on their teeth... The situation worsens.

There are some tests and exercises on the Net, but the student should seek a professional help. An interpreter told me that he doesn’t look at his clients; he bends his neck forward, covering his forehead with his hand and closing his eyes, to focus his attention. It didn’t work for me when I tried it with some of Celine Dion’s song, but Celine sure can be a good source for training! So would be some of Olivia Pope’s diatribes in the first season of Scandal (at least). Many interviews on Youtube are a good source for practice. As for understanding people with a speech impairment, a nurse suggested to listen as if they were singing (instead of talking); that surprisingly works well.
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Liviu-Lee Roth
DZiW
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:16
Chinese to English
Not unusual... May 12

I still have this problem after 15 years living in my source language country! People are awesome integrators of information. In many situations when you might think you're just listening, you're actually integrating information from many different sources - visual, contextual, emotional, etc.
If it's important to her to practice listening alone, then... practice it! Sorry, that's not much of a tip, but it's all there is. There are lots of good podcasts these days, so there's plenty of mat
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I still have this problem after 15 years living in my source language country! People are awesome integrators of information. In many situations when you might think you're just listening, you're actually integrating information from many different sources - visual, contextual, emotional, etc.
If it's important to her to practice listening alone, then... practice it! Sorry, that's not much of a tip, but it's all there is. There are lots of good podcasts these days, so there's plenty of material for her to work with. She can do extensive listening with headphones while she's on the bus, and intensive listening with formal exercises.
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DZiW
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aid? May 12

The British Council has some active listening exercises that might be useful (no songs as far as I know):
https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/listening/elementary-a2-listening


DZiW
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:16
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
my thoughts May 12

I don't think there is any secret. She just needs to practice a lot by hearing without looking at the lips of a speaker. The main thing is to be patient and not be discouraged if the progress is slow. If she is otherwise a straight A student then she might expect that all things come without much effort and not be ready to face her weaknesses.

As for the songs, I think the best ones are those that she likes the best. Any suggestion will not be useful if she doesn't like the song. Pr
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I don't think there is any secret. She just needs to practice a lot by hearing without looking at the lips of a speaker. The main thing is to be patient and not be discouraged if the progress is slow. If she is otherwise a straight A student then she might expect that all things come without much effort and not be ready to face her weaknesses.

As for the songs, I think the best ones are those that she likes the best. Any suggestion will not be useful if she doesn't like the song. Probably, the best is to go to youtube and try one by one until she finds those that she really likes.
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Liviu-Lee Roth
DZiW
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Doesn't she have the problem in her native language too? May 12

DZiW wrote:

Situation: A straight-A teen student able to communicate and understand AmE/BrE films/news.

Problem: The girl has big troubles distinguishing words without seeing--even partially--the interlocutor's mouth.

After a nice small talk I came to the conclusion it has to do more with a psychological problem/trauma, allegedly caused by mocking at her wearing braces or associated with her mute cousin.

It sounds to me as though it's quite likely to be happening in her own language, although probably to a lesser extent, but only she could confirm that. If it is, I really don't think it's a problem that a foreign language teacher should be trying to resolve on their own. Of course, you can do a lot with audio recordings by working on natural intonation, syllable and word stress, word linking, etc. so that she gets to take advantage of all the help she can get concerning how English-speaking people say what they say. But the underlying issue is a matter for a health specialist, IMHO.


Teresa Borges
DZiW
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
spot on May 12

Thank you.

The girl is a musician without any health-related issues or handicaps.

However, Sheila is right the student has a similar minor* problem in the native language too--yet only talking face-to-face to serious or unfamiliar people. The girl is very shy and never speaks to strangers, short phrases only. I think she gets very nervous, trying to closely watch one's voice and paraverbal language, actually worsening the affect.

When asked about TV
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Thank you.

The girl is a musician without any health-related issues or handicaps.

However, Sheila is right the student has a similar minor* problem in the native language too--yet only talking face-to-face to serious or unfamiliar people. The girl is very shy and never speaks to strangers, short phrases only. I think she gets very nervous, trying to closely watch one's voice and paraverbal language, actually worsening the affect.

When asked about TV series/movies and narrations, the girl replied she still could follow the plot or the others' reaction no problem. Indeed, every time I turned away while talking, she blushed, helplessly glancing at her parents. Yet after a small talk, if I just started replying as she expected (grasping the idea), she seemed to feel relaxed, occasionally looking at other things, keeping me in view.

A couple of years ago the girl temporarily lost her voice when asked to read aloud a test text as fast as possible in front of the class. Interesting, nobody (including herself) knew about the problem till her recent pre-qualification interview at uni with a lecturer she never saw before.


To conclude, she must be confusing the good manners (facing her interlocutor) with attempts to pattern-match or "predict" the talk, let alone as a teen she struggles to manage her emotions and biases.
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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
French to English
Any number of possiblities May 12

This could be related to any number of possibilities that may - or may not - have something to do with the following, which should all be considered as part of an "and/or" non-exhaustive list

- a hearing problem
- a specific experience
- a problem related to social cognition
- a ton of other possibles, including just being extremely shy.

As a result of any one or more of these, and of other possibilities too, your student probably needs to look at some
... See more
This could be related to any number of possibilities that may - or may not - have something to do with the following, which should all be considered as part of an "and/or" non-exhaustive list

- a hearing problem
- a specific experience
- a problem related to social cognition
- a ton of other possibles, including just being extremely shy.

As a result of any one or more of these, and of other possibilities too, your student probably needs to look at someone's mouth to feel confident about what is being said. It could be anxiety-related, but behind that anxiety, there may be an underlying difficulty. it could even just be some habit she got into over time and that she has continued to rely on.

There are a number of particular conditions where people are not comfortable looking someone directly in the eye when communicating. So you can have a straight-A student who has communication problems. The face conveys a lot of important information when someone is talking. The eyes reveal a lot about the speaker's emotion. If a person does not have all of the social information that goes with what is being said, then, in turn, their reactions may seem a little strange.

The question now, is what you can and/or should do with this. Probably nothing, except do the best you can to adapt what you do to account for it. It might be a good idea to talk to your staff superior about it.
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DZiW
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
House, M.D. not May 13

Having watched a 29-minute New-Year video of the girl chatting with a classmate in Japan, who was habitually wearing a procedure mask, I'm almost* sure it's neither an impaired hearing, nor a mental issue.

Maybe, she is just losing control when an interlocutor turns away--as if not interested in talking to her, let alone being in a senior class puts a huge strain on the girl, making her perceive any dialogue far too seriously.


 


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Listening comprehension skills

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