Extensive Listening: Using Authentic Materials

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Nathan D. Ducker, Miyazaki Municipal University; J. Matt Saunders, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Through extensive listening (EL), language learners can increase their listening proficiency by having exposure to large numbers of aural texts. Benefits of EL include naturalistic language acquisition, better coping with speech rate, and increase in aural word recognition. However, EL is underutilized and underresearched, and currently there are few graded materials available for EL. Consequently, many learners use authentic materials from the Internet. Advantages of using authentic input include exposure to connected speech, realistic examples of spoken grammars, and natural intonation. However, authentic materials cause problems for learners, such as fatigue and difficulties with idiomatic language and connected speech. In response to these needs and limitations, we set up an EL component in our EFL courses. In this paper, we describe the theoretical decisions informing our approach, the technology used to manage the program, the data used to monitor progress and advise students, and students’ reported coping strategies.