Use Visuals When Lecturing to Improve Listening Comprehension

 

What, me lecture?!? Most teachers would not say that they use lecture as a tool to teach in their classrooms.  That's what professors and politicians do standing behind a podium and talking at an audience...  But if you reflect carefully and ask, "How many times a day do I explain something or give directions to the class without visuals to support what I am saying?" you may see some places where adding a visual or two would really help your students understand what you say!
Research shows that presenting visual information along with your speech has many advantages for listening comprehension (Suvorov, 2011). What is an easy solution? The ubiquitous stick person.  Get good at drawing the stick person as you speak.  This will help your students, especially your language learners, know what you are trying to convey. 
You do not have to be an artist to draw stick people with expressions and simple props.  If you'd like a great book with stick people galore, check out Chalk Talks with lots of stick people and it has simple sketches and over 500 easy to copy symbols organized by content area.  Download the Emotional Faces resource for free and post it by your whiteboard for easy reference.    Be brave: start drawing stick people to explain at the moments you must lecture and your students will thank you with increased comprehension!    
Reference: Suvorov, R. (2011). The effects if context visuals on L2 listening comprehension.  Cambridge ESOL: Research Notes.  Issue 45: 2-8. University of Cambridge: Cambridge, U.K.

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen

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