Why not learn English- 8th Article (By: Gulaid Mohammed Yassin “Dalha”)

As this will be the last article on “why not learn English”, listening is by far very indispensable skill that every student must take into account. In Somaliland, the listening task is not done at school and universities as far as we know. Nevertheless, I must again reiterate its importance to an ESL student where ever the students live from the world – whether in Somaliland or any other country.

Most listening, however, combines short bursts of face-to-face listening

interspersed with speaking – such as discussions at the workplace, social conversations with neighbors and colleagues, telephone conversations, and conversations with the many service providers encountered daily – doctors, social workers, police officers, store clerks, and school staff although Somaliland people do not communicate English at all.

In each context, learners have a purpose for listening and a communication task. Listeners may listen to obtain facts or to understand the main idea. They may need to distinguish question words and respond appropriately. They may need to follow or give instructions or advice. Adult learners may need to distinguish facts from opinions or express their own point of view. They may need to relate what they hear to visual materials they are looking at. They may want to connect with other people by sharing personal stories.

Many factors can interfere with listening and speaking to create confusion and miscommunications. Misheard sounds and pronunciation errors, inappropriate word choices or wrongly-used grammatical forms can lead to communication breakdowns. Breakdowns can have significant consequences – embarrassment, unintended offense, missed appointments, inaccurate processes, etc.

ESL teachers have the opportunity to help Somaliland ESL learners practice listening and speaking in the safe environment of the classroom. Many textbooks contain listening cassettes or CDs which give learners the opportunity to hear voices from a variety of speakers engaged in conversations on a variety of life skill topics. In addition, teachers can facilitate listening and speaking activities that utilize pair work and

group work. Every listening/speaking activity should require a response; the listener should answer a question, follow a direction, choose the correct object from alternatives, write a message, etc. There are, however, some books, I would recommend: IGCSE ESL books and of course the IELTS. TOEFL is another book which is good for Somali people to further improve their listening skill.

These packets of listening and speaking activities contain just a few of the hundreds of activities available for classroom instruction. The activities are directly tied to two of the listening/speaking assessments used in ESL programs – the BEST plus assessment of oral language proficiency and the Listening test. The activities are organized by the three skills of language scored in the BEST Plus assessment: Listening Comprehension, Language Complexity, and Communication. For each activity the description notes the real world purpose, what the learner will listen for, what the communication task is, and which of the Listening Basic Skills Content Standards are addressed by the activity.

The activities are not tied to any particular learner proficiency level. Activities are listed in each subsection in a general progression from most simple to most complex. It is assumed that ESL teachers can read the description of an activity and know ways to adapt it, if necessary, to the level of learners in her classroom. Some activities are described as whole-class activities led by the teacher. Many are

learner-to-learner pair or group activities. Most teacher-led activities are to be read aloud so learners benefit from the visual clues of facial expression and mouth movement. However, these activities optionally can be tape recorded to give learners practice in non-face-to-face listening. The greatest value of using these activities is that listening instruction becomes an intentional focus of classroom instruction.

To abridge, listening English is quite crucial as it is a new way of even improving your writing style. Listening also ameliorates your vocabulary. In Somaliland, the fast internet has now come – Somcable – students are able to download the latest listening lessons from Cambridge and other renown universities. Success is every one’s dream, but there is a price to pay for it. Let us swiftly pay tribute on sacrificing our time to learning the English Language.


Gulaid Mohammed Yassin (Dalha)