• USING SHADOWING AND SUMMARIZING IN CONVERSATIONS

     By: Ms. Nina Septina

    The ability to understand and internalize points of a talk or a lesson has become an inherent process of learning which is fundamental to its success. The more we can understand and internalize something, the more learning will take place.

    What is ‘shadowing’? According Murphey (2000) shadowing is a technique which is basically repeating after somebody saying something and this can be done silently or out loud.

    What is ‘summarizing’? According to Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the word ‘summarize’ means to express the most important facts or ideas about something or someone in a short and clear form.
    The difference between shadowing and summarizing is that in shadowing we repeat immediately after someone saying something, whereas in summarizing it is done at a certain distance after someone telling something.

    These two techniques when used together can be a powerful instrument to make conversations or talks more meaningful and to make a thorough and deep comprehension of a lesson or a lecture.
    Murphey (2000) asserted 3 continuums of shadowing as follows:
    -          Silent -> Out loud
    -          Complete -> Selective
    -          Non-Interactive -> Interactive
    Silent shadowing is best to use when we attend a lecture or a seminar. When having conversation, shadowing can be very useful to do out loud and it allows us to participate more in the conversation because we can repeat our partner’s words or certain parts of the talk so it allows us to take part in communication. And this can also be a tool for checking understanding as this will let our partner notice those parts of the conversation that we might miss or we might not understand, because when we shadow we normally use certain intonational contour that allows our partner to see that we don’t quite understand or perhaps we don’t shadow certain parts of the whole talk.
    Here are some further details of Complete, Selective and Interactive Shadowing combined with Summarizing and the examples on how to use them in conversations effectively.

    1.       Complete Shadowing and Summarizing
    When we do the complete shadowing we must shadow all parts but we also need to convert the subject of the sentences from ‘I’ to ‘you’.
    A :        What did you do this morning, Ana?
    B :        This morning I woke up at 5.
    A :        This morning you woke up at 5, and then?
    B :        I took a shower.
    A :        You took a shower.
    B :        Then I prepared  breakfast for my family.
    A :        Then you prepared breakfast for your family. Okay, let me see if I got it.
    This morning you woke up at 5, then you took a shower and after that you prepared breakfast for your family. Is that right?
                B :        Yes, that’s right.


    2.      Selective Shadowing and Summarizing
    In selective shadowing we don’t repeat every part of the talk, but we simply repeat certain key words of the conversation. This type of shadowing is best to use when the talk is longer.
    A :        Ana, what are your hobbies? Or please let me know five things that you like to do most.
    B :        Uhm..well, I like travelling especially going abroad.
    A :        Travelling abroad.
    B :        And I like playing guitar in my free time.
    A :        Playing guitar.
    B :        Mmm.. I like eating Asian foods, especially Korean foods.
    A :        Eating Korean foods.
    B :        And also I like corresponding or writing emails.
    A :        Writing emails.
    B :        And I like meeting new people.
    A :        Okay, now let me summarize, so you like travelling abroad, playing guitar, eating Korean foods, writing emails, and meeting new people.
    B:         Yes, that’s right.



    3.      Interactive Shadowing and Summarizing
    Interactive shadowing is the selective shadowing but we add comments and questions there. The ‘WH’ questions can be used to ask our partner about his/her talk and the comments can be the simple ones, for instance, ‘really?’ , ‘wow’ , ‘me too’ ,’great!’ and etc.
    A :        Hey Ron, can you tell me why you quit your job as the bartender in that bar?
    B :        Ok, here is the story, one night when I was working there,  a man, rich man, came into the bar.
    A :        Oh..a rich man came into the bar.
    B :        Yes, and he was drunk and he talked very loudly, he said bad words there.
    A :        So he’s drunk and also said bad words.. then what did you do?
    B :        Then I said to him ‘please calm down’ but he replied ‘shut up, you!’ and he hit me.
    A :        Oh.. he hit you? Gee...that’s very annoying.
    B :        Right, then because I worked there I still could smile and I said again ‘please calm down, Sir’ although actually I didn’t like that.
    A :        Wow..you could still smile after what he had done to you.
    B :        Yes, but then he hit me again..!
    A :        Really?
    B :        Yes, but this time I could not tolerate him anymore so I hit him back and he broke his nose.
    A :        Gosh, you broke his nose. Then, what happened next?
    B :        And do you know what happened after that? He said he’s the owner of the bar, he’s the boss in the bar I worked.
    A :        Ah..so he’s the boss there! No wonder you lost your job there!
    B :        Yes. But I’m happy to move because now I have a better job here.
    A :        Yes of course, well, let me try to summarize your story.
    So one night a rich man came into the bar where you worked. He’s drunk and said bad words loudly then you tried to calm him down but he said ‘shut up!’ and hit you. You could still smile and you told him again to calm down but he hit you again, then you got angry and hit him back until he broke his nose. And unfortunately that rich man was actually your boss!..
                B :        Haha..yes, you’re absolutely right!

    By doing the shadowing and summarizing, there are many advantages that we can get, which are; by repeating what we hear, it will strengthen the neural connections and exercise the productive ability of our brain, secondly we will remember better about what we hear or learn because we hear it twice, furthermore, we will be able to notice and concentrate much more on the lesson given and finally when these techniques are used in oral communication, we will be able to participate more on the conversation.
    So, as learners, shadowing and summarizing are something worth to experiment with, to make conversations or talks more meaningful and to make a thorough and deep comprehension of a lesson or a lecture, hence all these would make a successful language learner.

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