The Ben Warren Prize: Winner 2008
Listening in the Language Classroom
Listening in the Language Classroom challenges the orthodox approach to the teaching of second language listening, which is based upon the asking and answering of comprehension questions. It critically examines the practices and assumptions associated with this approach, and suggests ways of revising them.
The book's central argument is that a preoccupation with the notion of 'comprehension' has led teachers to focus upon the product of listening, in the form of answers to questions, ignoring the listening process itself. It goes on to propose a radical alternative to the comprehension approach and provides for intensive small-scale practice in aspects of listening that are perceptually or cognitively demanding for the learner.
It's an honour for any author to be short-listed for any major book prize. But it is especially gratifying when the prize in question is the Ben Warren because the choice is made by one's fellow ELT professionals, the people who are best qualified to judge the usefulness of a teachers manual and indeed the people who are likely to end up using it themselves.
This book was a labour of love - the result of many years of struggling with ideas and trying them out with colleagues and teachers. It means more than I can express to know that leaders in the field have responded so positively to those ideas and have found something of value in my book that may shape their own thinking and practice in years to come.
To the judges and to the Ben Warren Trust, many many thanks.