Teaching on Listening and Speaking [focus on difficulties & method of teaching] by Abd. Ghofur


Teaching learning process in Indonesia as long, still not effective especially in Teaching of English as Foreign Language. It is based on the proses of teaching learning that used in the classroom cannot give good result in generl. . This article tries to offer language-teaching methodology especially on teaching of listening and speaking to the teacher of ESL. In which the method of teaching learning process will be better with good result.


Key Words:

Teachimg english foreign language, difficulties, method of teaching





Teaching language is hard work. One must make an effort to understand, to repeat accurately to manipulate newly understood language and use to the whole range of known language in conversation or written composition. Effort is required at every moment and must be maintained over a long period of time. However with the development of communicative approach to language teaching make the teacher easily to apply the syllabus on their teaching learning process[1].

An Important aspect of methodology is the development of teaching routines, materials and tasks for use in the classroom. While the routines of EFL in Indonesia, is based on the context and environment of learning, as well as the management of language classrooms, are relatively under-represented in the literature on language teaching methodology, and one of the aims of this paper in to redress the balance by providing a detailed and comprehensive overview of teacher and learner action in the classroom. 

As we know, teachers of ESL not only measure their student competence upon their grammatical competence in written and oral only, but it is also how they could accept the concept of language in their everyday life. In this case how the teacher could apply any kind of method that suitable for their students, so that they could produce a good output of their school by the using of method or strategy of the teaching learning process[2]. In this paper the writer would like to say about the difficulties of teaching English and method of teaching and also a little evidence that methods are realized at the level of classroom action in the ways intended by their creators[3]. It is underline for their study be an important of collecting evidence directly from classroom rather than what teachers are taught to do[4].




As stated above that the writer going to dig up all very well to find out what has been said about a particular subject, and how this knowledge has been applied in the development of teaching materials and classroom task. However, from the perspective of practical methodology, such information is limited value to readers unless they have the opportunity to explore the ideas in relation to their own classroom context or to their own development as practitioners. And also the writer try to offers some methodology how to teach the ESL skill that could give another solution to English teacher. Here the writer focus on teaching listening and speaking.


1. Listening Comprehension.

An important factor in interactive listening is whether or not we are taking part in the interaction. Eavesdropping on a conversation is very different from actually participing in one. Because of this, it may seem a waste of time to involve learning in classroom task in which they are involved in listening to conversations among other people. In this case the teacher of ESL could provide learners with strategies for comprehending conversation outside the classroom in which they are not actively involved, but which may provide them with input to feed their teaching learning process, finally their students will get a better result in their nation eaxamination especially for senior high school.


What makes listening difficult?

Talking about difficulty, it is something that always happens in the student of ESL, especially in listening comprehension. There are four clusters of factors which can affect the difficulty of oral language task: these relate to the speaker (how many there are, how quickly they speak, What types of accent they have; the listener (the role of the listener – whether a participant or eavesdropper, the level of response information structure, background knowledge assumed; support (whether there are picture, diagrams or the other visual aids to support the text)[5].

While Anderson and Lynch[6] found that the difficulty of listening task was particularly influenced by the following:

a.       The organization of information (texts in which the order in which the information was presented matched its chronological sequence in real life were easier than texts in which the information  was presented out of sequence)

b.      The familiarity of the topic

c.       The explicitness and sufficiency of the information

d.      The type of referring expressions used (for example, use of pronouns rather than complete noun phrase referents made texts more difficult

e.       Whether the text described ‘static’ relationships (for example geometric figures)

f.       Or dynamic relationships (for example road accident)

The way these features were manipulated to produce text which were similar generically but which graded for difficulty can be illustrated by the task of’ trace the route”. In this task the student listen to a description of a journey, route or tour and have to trace this route on a map.


How to apply a good method for listening

The method requires learners in the classroom to interact with each other in small group so as to reconstruct the text as a co-operative endeavor. Learners working in self-study are required to bring their own grammatical resources into play with the notes taken during the dictation so as create a text. Both in classroom and in-self study, learners are actively engaged in the learning process. It is believed that through this active learner involvement students come to comfort their own strengths and weaknesses in English language use.


There are four steps in this approach of teaching listening comprehension.

a.       Preparation. At this stage, teachers prepare students for the text they will be hearing by asking questions and discussing a stimulus picture, by discussing vocabulary, by ensuring that the students know what they are supposed to do, and by ensuring that the students are in the appropriate groups.

b.      Dictation. Learners hear the dictation twice. The first time, they listen only and get a general feeling for the text. The second time they take down notes, being encouraged to listen for content words, which will assist them in reconstructing the text. For reasons of consistency, it is preferable that the students listen to a cassette recording rather than teacher-read text.

c.       Reconstruction. At the conclusion of the dictation, learners pool notes and produce their version of the text. During this stage it is important that the teacher does not provide any language input.

d.      Analysis and correction. There are various ways of dealing with this stage. The small group versions can be reproduced on the board or overhead projector, the texts can be photocopied and distributed, or the students can compare their version with the original sentence by sentence.


2. Speaking on EFL

The most people, mastering the art of speaking is the single most important aspect of learning a second or foreign language, and success is measured in terms of the ability to carry out a conversation in the language. In this section we try to look at what it means to speak and interact orally in a second language and try to create a good method to teach the language itself to the learners.

In the previous section above we saw that listening texts and task can be classified in functional terms. For example, we saw that the weather forecast fulfills a different function from transactional encounters, and that this difference is reflected in the type of language that is used. As the similar functional considerations help inform our analyses of texts from the respective of the producer rather than the receiver. In this functional speaking. In the point of view of Bygate[7] who state that oral interactions can be characterized in terms of routines, which are conventional (and therefore predictable) ways of presenting information which can either focus on information or interaction, being either expository (e.g. Narration, description, instruction, comparison) or evaluative (eg. Explanation, justification, prediction, decision). According to him a further feature of oral interaction is that the participants need constantly to negotiate meaning and generally manage the interaction in terms of who is to say what, to whom, when and about what.


The Difficulty of speaking tasks

One of the complications in determining the difficulty of speaking task is the so-called interlocutor effect. As we have seen, in any interactional speaking task, communication is collaborative venture in which the interlocutors negotiate meaning in order to achieve their communicative ends.

Brown,G and Yule,G[8] have carried out extensive research into factors implicated in task difficulty. In conducting their research (which used native speaker, secondary school pupils) they were confronted with a number of major problems. The first was to motivate pupils to talk while working with an unfamiliar interviewer and while being tape recorded. Their solution was to use a series short tasks conducted under what they describe  as ideal conditions and with different content and different demands to sustain the interest of pupils. The second problem is that they did not wish to end up with unrelated performances from which no general description could be drawn. And the solution of  this problem is by devising task which formed related groups.


How to Stimulate oral interaction in the classroom

Up to know the teachers of EFL in general  still have difficulty to apply their speaking material to their learner, where they also found the learner low motivation to speak or to express their idea, well actually if they learn to speak it must be by speaking. This does not mean that we should never allow our learners to engage in manipulative exercises in which focus of attention is on the manipulation of linguistic form. However, it is interesting to analyze currently available book written within a communicative language teaching paradigm, for many of these course books, particularly those aimed at lower proficiency learners, consist largely of manipulative, form focused exercise. Then the writer propose the following exercise constitute which the teacher could use:

a.       Allow the learner listens to and reads two-line dialogue and practices with a partner

b.      Allow the learner to listen and repeat

c.       Allow the learner listen to a model dialogue and repeat, interpolating own name

d.      Allow the learner to read two line skeleton dialogue and practice with partner

e.       Allow the learner to listen/read a model question and ask a partner

f.       Allow the learner to read a model dialogue and have a similar conversation using cues provided

g.      Study questions and answer in a model dialogue and make up similar question using cue words

h.      Look at a picture and study model sentences. Make up similar sentences about a similar picture

i.        Listen to a model, study a map and say the route from one specified points to another


In this case the teacher should consider whether this is reasonable of activities for the level of the learners of the ESL, and then try to decide what kind of activities that they could create in that hearkening condition[9]


The Problem of Teaching learning process

In every teaching learning process, we always find problem that we could avoid, and it couldn’t be lost at all, if the obstacle done  in every sector of the teaching learning it would be disturb the the teaching learning process itself. Here the writer going to show the obstacle that happen in the class, 1) The quantity of the student, 2) the profesionality of the teacher, 3) frequency of the meeting, 4) self access, 5) environment

a.       The quantity of the student

Why the quantity of the student influence the success of the teaching leraning process? We have to realize that every kind of teaching learning process has their own special characteristic. For the English teaching learning process it could not be the same as the other subject. Why? Because the prinsip of teaching learning of English is different with the other subject. What is mean by using English are :

1.      he can understand when spoken to

2.      he can make himself understood

3.      he could catch the message of any English listening

4.      he could read any English text and could catch the message of the text

All the items above should comprehence by the learner,  it means that the teacher should know the four items above, to make them ready to carry on their material to their student, and you can imagine how the teacher could give their material on the big class, it will be unsuccessfull. We also find the reality outside the school, ie, in English course, with the small quantity of the student the class will be more effective and they got good result.

b.      The professionality of the teacher

As a n English teacher, they have to fullfill  several requirement, namely :

1.      they could speak English fluency

2.      they should master the English language itself (component)

3.      they should know the general knowledge

4.      they should have good skill and responsibility to be a good facilitator

c.       The frequency of meeting

At the fisrt time we have to realized, that english is not our own language so it will be usual if the learner of ESL find difficulties in their study. By this kind cases the decision maker of the school and the teacher should give more time for english, whether it will be given as extra curricular that given beside the regular program, and this  should be supported by all elements of the school (stakeholders).

d.      Self Access

Up to know talking about self acces like dream of holding of moon, why it should be like this, the reality, many of school that has their own self access for their student that specially support their student to maintance their English quality, the answer of them ( the decision maker of the school) only about the financial, and lack of creative teacher.

e.       environment

Environment, as we know be one of the crucial factor that face on by the teacher itself, the student without any support from their environment will be nothing to succes in their study. The support itself, whether in  the form of financial or others.



Teacher of ESL must be able to create any kind of methods and strategies[10], that suitable for their pupils, in which the material of their teaching learning process could received clear enough by the student, the meted of the teaching of listening and speaking above wish to add the kind of teaching method in the school. Also the writer hope the teacher of EFL, could carry they material as enjoy as possible, by this,  the result of the English teaching goals could be accept.

Also, the teacher of EFL should be follow the english principal of teaching learning , namely :

1.      the quantity of the class should be small ( 20 to 25 students)

2.      Professional teacher

3.      the high frequency of meeting

4.      the teaching learning should be supported by self access

5.      the proces of teaching learning should be supported by good environment

6.      student’s motivation

By following the principles  above the writer  hope that the output of the teaching learning of English will be better.

[1] Traditionally, a distinction has been drawn between syllabus design and methodology: the former concerning itself with the selection and grading of linguistic and experiencetial content, the later with the selection and sequencing of learning task and activities. In other words, syllabus design is concerned with what, why, and when; methodology is concerned with how. However, with the development of communicative approaches to language teaching, the traditional distinction between syllabus design and methodology has become difficult to sustain. See David Nunan, Language Teaching Methodology, (New York; Prentice Hall, 1991), page 2

[2] Of course, we cannot produce a good output without a good teacher/lecturer even though the system and the approach already improved themselves. As teacher/lectures, we have to be able to improve ourselves. At least we have to improve our teaching skill as the new Indonesian education. See.  Eva Nikmatul Rabbiyanti, Contextual Teaching (CTL) and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) ,( Jurnal Studi Keislaman,STAIN Pamekasan) Vol. VI No. 2 Oktober 2004

[3] Although the teachers who look part in their study were specially trained in a particular method, a range of activities and task, which transcended the method question, characterized tier actual classroom practice. David Nunan, Language Teaching Methodology, (New York; Prentice Hall, 1991)

[4] See also the study by Long and Sato, Classroom Foreigner talk discourse: forms and function of teacher’s questions, In H Selinger and M Long (eds), Classroom Oriented Research in Second Language Acquisition, (Rowley, Mass: Newbury House, 1983)

[5] Brown and Yule, Teaching the spoken language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983)

[6] Anderson, A and T Lynch, Listening (Oxford, oxford University Press, 1988)

[7] , Bygate, Speaking (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1987) page 49

[8] Ibid

[9] A number of different kinds of change brought about by learning will be described and related to the situation in which they occur. We shall not present a theory of learning but will draw some general concept from various theories. To be phrased in term of an objective description of the conditions under which learning takes places. These conditions will be identified; first of all by reference to the situations of ordinary life, including those school, in which learning occurs. Robert M Gagne, The condition of learning and Theory of Instruction (New York, Florida State University, 1985) page 2

[10] Learning strategies are steps taken by students to enhance their own learning. Strategies are especially important for language learning because they are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential for developing communicative competence. Rebecca L Oxford, Language Leaning Strategies what every teacher should know, (United States of America, Newbury House Publishers, 1990) page, 1