Higher secondary education focuses on the writing and reading skills alone where speaking is not the ultimate aim of the English teacher at the secondary level. With this poor attempt the socially disadvantaged language learner possess poor listening ability.

It is quite clear that unlike other skills listening skills remains unattended and need to be assessed throughout the academic career. The problem of poor listening skills of the learners in the rudimental stage continues with the same degree of negligence found at the tertiary level too.

This paper clearly paves way to the development of this skill; the study has been done precisely with practical questionnaire survey both from students’ and teachers’ point of view.


On analyzing certain common barriers in listening skills some suggestions are provided regarding the matter. The ultimate aim of this paper is to find out the reasons of poor listening ability among the socially disadvantaged students.

It is obviously true and none can deny that Listening is a complex interactive process where listeners actively interpret with what they know and what they are hearing. The inability in recognizing the sound, word meaning, structures, stress and Intonation.

Socially disadvantaged learners have a partial unclear idea and also find it difficult to communicate back. This research article not only surveys the listening ability but also provides solution and makes learning happen in classroom.



What are the main ingredients in Listening skills?

Intensive: Listening for acuity of the components (discourse, phonemes, words, intonation, markers, etc.)

Responsive: listening to a comparatively small stretch of language (comprehension, check a greeting note, questioning & interrogation, commanding & imperative, etc.)

Extensive: Listening to develop a large-scale perceptive of spoken language. Like listening to a lengthy conversation, lecture, dialogue or purpose.


Selective: Dispensation of discourse like short monologues. The need is not necessarily to look for general meanings, but to comprehend the selective information in a context of communication.

Key skills

  • Classify the distinctive sounds of English language.
  • Retain the sounds and codes in memory.
  • Understanding the stress patterns, intonation contours, and their importance in language.
  • Be acquainted with reduced forms of words.
  • Detection of the main elements in sentence and differentiate major and minor elements.
  • Indentifying word order patterns formation of sentences and their significance.
  • Learn the allotropy forms of the words and its usage in language skills.
  • Classifying the connotation and denotation meaning and its usage in various grammatical forms.
  • Identify interrelated devices in spoken discourse.

Main skills

  • Recognize the goals, participants, and situations.
  • Deduce situations, participants, and goals.
  • Segregation of literal and disguised meaning.
  • From situations and events, predict outcomes, deduce causes and effects, as main idea, ancillary idea, given information new information, generality, and exemplification.
  • Use non verbal communications like body language, facial to decode meanings.
  • Usage of a series of listening principles, such as identifying key words, conjecture of the meaning from context, hint comprehension or lack thereof.

What makes listening difficult?


1. Interaction

2. Colloquial language

3. Clustering

4. Reduced forms


5. Performance variables

6. Rate of delivery

7. Redundancy

8. Stress, rhythm and intonation



The primary aspect of Education is to disseminate knowledge and skills to the students to function as individuals self stabled members of the members. Education is the only platform to accomplish the above task to impart competency, skills and knowledge to the students.

Skills in language are the rudimental necessities to communicate and redress social inequalities. Functioning of the society has its key from language. It is quite clear that the socially disadvantaged students lack the skills of listening, which is the basic for acquiring a language.

The lack of ample listening skills hinder them participating in the social debate. The students from the socially disadvantaged background have poor knowledge on relevant vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, syntactic constructions etc. Acquiring the skills of a language is bounded up with certain strategies to be carried out which comprises a set of task of interrelated cognitive actions. Communicate communicative ways Modes with that of the language codes used in the society are valued by the people of the groups.

Routine teaching methods and general pedagogies may be insufficient to impart listening skills to the set of disadvantaged students, since they are from different social and cultural groups.


Listening skills and language competence:

In the communication cycle process, the socially disadvantaged students literally translate the received signals and with the insufficient vocabulary the ideas conceived by them remains vague and cannot be delivered.

The fact behind it is that the usage of the ‘Target Language’ is hardly used at home. On this one way application the exposure of the listening skills in the College education has no experience or background or knowledge. This can also be termed as one of the prime reason for the students with limited listening skills.

Students with limited listening skills use a different’ home language’ and ‘School/ College language’ the difference in the semantic and syntactical forms creates lower degree of understanding and listening skills. The difference in codes, socially determined difference must be taken into consideration. The language teacher should make the data’s simple and a step by step way through which the student with limited listening skills can easily acquire the listening ability.

Giving maximum opportunities for acquiring the ‘Target Language’ is not the only task of a language teacher; instead it is better acquired in context when every subject teacher pays attention to the language acquisition process. Through this continuous process of application in the classroom the proficiency of the listening skills can be subsequently gained. When students are allowed to interact with one another possibly the level of listening skills may increase to a notable mark. When slow listeners are exposed to individual attention certain conversational flaws are rectified.


Active Listeners and the limited listening Proficient Student

In a class room environment the active listener gain a sense of empowerment from the list of thematic units given by the teacher and indulge in the activities to pursue the given idea.

But the students with limited listening skills stumble to get a clear picture of the signals received and the manipulation of the data is only a fraction. The students have no further generation of activities since the parents and surroundings have the similar socio-economic, cultural and linguistic barriers.

One of the major difficulties for a language teacher in imparting the effectiveness in listening skills is due to the usage of native language in a very high degree. The time of exposure given to the target Language’ is below the average line. Teaching a target language both for the active and limited listeners the language teacher need to impart further skills to make learning happen in the classroom. The language teacher should provide a safe and predictable environment to reduce the nurtures, anxiety, and depression from the students by delivering contextual meaning explicitly.



  • Room arrangements should be comfortable to interact and share the ideas and tasks.
  • The arrangements should be formal that the procedures to be followed in the exercises will be easily communicated to the students.
  • Create predictability in classroom routines.
  • The Language teacher should not only be a guide and facilitator, but also an information disseminator.
  • Encourage students to perform their task with each other’s knowledge and experiences.
  • Generate ideas from out-of-College experiences into classroom practice.
  • Usage of additional teaching resources, visual aids made mandatory.
  • Segregate the groups in terms of the active listeners and Limited Listening skills.
  • Student engagement must be continuously monitored.



  • Subject teachers other than language teachers should focus all instructions in target language.
  • Teamwork of all staff members with the identified students of limited listening skills should inculcate all possible mechanisms for collaboration in achievement.
  • Planning and carrying out activities, incorporating the home and community with that of the learning environment.


  • Parents must be a key person in the education activities at many levels.
  • Explain the ongoing activities to parents and inquire their rapport.
  • Making up the disadvantage listening skill student to an active listener by homely assistance.
  • Develop support for teachers and other means of learning about the homes.


  • Give freedom of innovativeness with experiences that involve learning.
  • Use innovative learning approaches to train teachers.
  • Provide teachers experiences in a language and culture different from their own.
  • Encourage the art of reflective practice.
  • Provide in-service training on an ongoing basis, including classroom-based support for teachers involved in implementing active learning.
  • Encourage teachers of highly skills to monitor and coach the peers.


The limited listening skills students should not feel the imbalance in the class room. Instead it should be organized with ambience and the approaches made to be clear and concise.

The language teacher should ensure the use of visual aids, extra linguistic support, avoid idioms.etc. Assessment and activities must be compatible with every student and their corresponding English level. The student with limited listening skills may fail in his/her assignments which the teacher must hetrogenically survey and rectify.

The language training session should end with good listening ability sharing of experiences with one another, discuss problems and self ensure to the next level of language skills.


Mr. R.S.A. Susikaran, MA.,M.Phil.,(Ph.D),

Department of English, Oxford Engineering College, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India

Email id: [email protected],

Phone : +91 0431 2513101, Mobile : +91 9600360192


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