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Difficulties and Good Listener

Difficulties of Listening
Listening is usually a hard skill to master by the students. The first reason is that the students do not have the text in front of them to look at if they do not understand the information. A second reason is the accent and intonation of the native English speaker. In addition, each country has dialects and regional accents which can confuse the listener. All of these make listening learning a major challenge and it is no surprise that the students can find it difficult. Ur (1996: 111) in Ammashumam (2010), says that there are some students difficulties in learning listening: trouble with sounds, have to understand every word, can’t understand fast and natural native speech, need to hear things more than once, find it difficult to keep up, and get tired.

The other problem in learning listening is the students have no control over the speed of what they are hearing and they cannot go back or rewind to listen again. Although, in class the listening materials are recorded and can be played again or students to listen again, it is usually under the control. Also, because the speed at which native speakers usually speak, students feel that the teacher asks the students to listen to the overall message and forget about what they could not catch, which probably means what they did not understand, the teacher has no idea that sometimes what they do not really understand can add up to 75% of what is heard (Rixon, 1986: 37) in Ridwan Prayoga (2012).

Moreover, Underwood (1989: 17) in Ammashumam (2010) mentions some other kinds of difficulties that are directly related to the students themselves. One of the problems which the students have established learning habits in the sense that they were encouraged to understand everything by listening carefully to teachers who probably speak slowly and clearly. Hence, when they fail to understand every word while listening, they stop listening and lose the thread, which seems to be the reason for state of panic and worrying they usually show before and during listening.

In relation to those problems, we cannot deny that students’ motivation plays important role in learning listening. As mentioned in Brown (2006: 1), another theme will be motivation. Because listening is so challenging, teachers need to think carefully about making the activities successful and the content interesting. We can create the interest activity in learning listening such as by listening English songs. By creating of high students’ motivation, it hoped can reduce the listening difficulties. Furthermore, the students will be stimulated and not be panic or worry when they are learning listening.

As mentioned before, the most students are still difficult to understand English through listening and their listening skill is not getting well yet. The students could not understand the meaning of the material after playing the tape for the three times in class. Furthermore, the students might gradually lose their self-confidence. When they are face to face with listening material, they have little confidence in their listening comprehension abilities. Therefore, they may not understand them because they have to battle the psychological suggestion that they could not understand spoken English.

Listening Difficulties

Good Listener
The students can be said that they are good in listening if they are active in learning listening process. The characteristics of active listeners as below: (a) Make eye contact/follow the listening. (b) Summarize the listening material has heard. (c) Make connection what are hearing to what already know. (d) Ask and answer the question during the learning listening process.

In other hand, Saricoban (1999) says that a good listener is one who has the enabling skills. The enabling skill characterizes the listener can follow the material by well. The skills are: (a) predicting what people are going to talk about. (b) Guessing at unknown words or phrases without panic. (c) Using one’s own knowledge of the subject to help one understand. (d) Identifying relevant points; rejecting irrelevant information, (e) retaining relevant points (note-taking, summarizing). (f) Recognizing discourse marker, cohesive devices, including linking words, pronouns, references, etc. (g) understanding different intonation patterns and uses of stress. (h) Understanding inferred information.

In summary, the students are said well in listening skill if they are active when learning listening. The activeness can be seen from the students’ motivation and enthusiasm during learning listening. The students who active in listening are characterized they always focus on what they hear, they ask and answer the questions, and they can make a summary from the materials given in the post-listening.
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