The Significance of Listening
Listening is the most frequently used language skill (Morley, 1999; Scarcella & Oxford, 1992 in Ahmadi, 2011: 978). Bird (1953: 127-130) found that female college students spent 42 percent of their total verbal communication time in listening while they spent 25 percent in speaking, 15 percent in reading, and 18 percent in writing. A study conducted by Barker, Edwards, Gaines, Gladney, and Holley (1980) in Ahmadi (2011 : 978) confirmed Bird’s view of the primacy of listening and showed that the portion of verbal communication time spent by college students was 52.5 percent in listening, 17.3 percent in reading, 16.3 percent in speaking, and 13.9 percent in writing. According to Devine (1982) in Ahmadi (2011 : 978) listening is the primary means by which incoming ideas and information are taken in Gilbert (1988) in Ahmadi (2011 : 978), on the other hand, noted that students from kindergarten through highschool were expected to listen 65-90 percent of the time. Wolvin and Coakley (1988) in Ahmadi (2011: 979) concluded that, both in and out of the classroom, listening consumes more of daily communication time than other forms of verbal communication.
Listening is central to the lives of students throughout all levels of educational development (Coakley & Wolvin, 1997; Feyten, 1991; Wing, 1986) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979). Listening is the most frequently used language skill in the classroom (Ferris, 1998; Murphy, 1991; Vogely, 1998) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979). Both instructors (Ferris & Tagg, 1996) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979) and students (Ferris, 1998) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979)acknowledge the importance of listening comprehension for success in academic settings. Numerous studies indicated that efficient listening skills were more important than reading skills as a factor contributing to academic success (Coakley & Wolvin, 1997; Truesdale, 1990) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979). However, Dunkel’s (1991b : 431- 457) in Ahmadi (2011 : 979) study reported that international students’ academic success in the United States and Canada relied more on reading than listening comprehension, especially for those students in engineering, psychology, chemistry, and computer science. Thus, the importance of listening in classroom instruction has been less emphasized than reading and writing. Nevertheless, it is evident that listening plays a significant role in the lives of people. Listening is even more important for the lives of students since listening is used as a primary medium of learning at all stages of education.
The Kind of Listening
The purpose of listening are to get the information, to catch the content, and to understand the communication meaning that will be sent by the speaker’s utterance. This is a general purpose. Besides that, there are some of specific purposes that caused the variety of listening. There are two kinds of listening, namely extensive and intensive listening. Extensive listening includes (1) social listening, (2) secondary listening, (3) aesthetics listening, (4) passive listening. Intensive listening includes (1) critical listening, (2) concentrative listening, (3) creative listening, (4) interrogative listening, (5) exploratory listening, and (6) selective listening (Tarigan, 1983: 22).
Learners can improve their listening skills and gain valuable language input through a combination of extensive and intensive listening material and procedures. Listening of both kinds is important since it provides the perfect opportunity to hear voices.
Extensive Listening: Extensive listening refers to listening which the students often do away from the classroom, for pleasure or some other reasons. The audio material they consume in this way should consist of texts that they can enjoy listening to, because they more or less understand them without the intervention of a teacher or course materials to help them. Students can also use tapes and CDs to listen to their course book dialogues again after they have studied them in class. Another way of getting students involved in a form of extensive listening is to encourage them to go to English language films with subtitles; as they hear the English dialogue, the subtitles help them understand; as they understand, they will, to some extent, absorbs the language they hear (Harmer : 2007) in Bouache (2010 : 28).
Intensive Listening: Intensive listening is different from extensive listening, in that students listen specifically in order to work on listening skill, and in order to study the way in which English is spoken. It usually takes place in classrooms or language laboratories, and typically occurs when teachers are present to guide students through any listening difficulties, and points them to areas of interest (Harmer : 2007) in Bouache (2010 : 29).