Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Sources and Suggestions to Lower Listening Comprehension Anxiety in the EFL Classroom: A Case Study

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Sources and Suggestions to Lower Listening Comprehension Anxiety in the EFL Classroom: A Case Study

Article excerpt

Abstract

Listening is a creative skill that demands active involvement. The listeners share their knowledge from both linguistics and non linguistics sources. Listening comprehension (LC) tasks which is always accompanied by anxiety needs closer examination. In the listening process a low-anxiety classroom environment inspires the listeners to participate actively and effectively, research shows that. So if we want students to experience success in listening comprehension task in Foreign Language (FL) learning, an important step, is to create a positive low-anxiety atmosphere within the class room. This study tries to find out the sources that evokes LC anxiety as reported by students and suggestions offered by the foreign language learners of International Islamic University Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Keywords: anxiety, listening comprehension (LC), visual support, distressing technique, personality clash

1. Introduction

Listening can be defined as "the process of understanding speech in a second or foreign language" (Richard J. C. et Al-1985). It is "the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. This involves understanding a speaker's accent or pronunciation, understanding his grammar, recognizing his vocabulary and being able to grasp the meaning of what he says" (Howatt and Dakin1974). In the study by Harlow and Muyskens (1994), listening comprehension is ranked by the students as "the second most important goal for intermediate-level instruction." As LC has become an extremely important modality in language learning, Lund (1990) developed "a taxonomy for teaching second language learning" (105). Listening has increasingly become recognized as "a process of constructing meaning based on multidimensional relationships between the learners and all of the internal and external elements involved in that learners reality" (Vogely 1995, 43).

Listening, in the field of education, has long been recognized as "the most frequently used language skill in the class room," (Taylor 1964) and has been shown to contribute "to success more than reading skill or academic aptitude" (Conaway 1982). Consequently many researchers have focused on "making listening comprehension an integral and active part of the foreign language (FL) classroom" (Byrnes et. al. -1984). Yule (1996) makes the distinction "between 'international talk, used to refer to speech that is primarily social, and 'transactional communication' whose main purpose is to achieve a successful transfer or exchange of information." Whatever the type of listening is, research in foreign or second language learning has shown that anxiety is something that "directly undermines motivation and creates a negative affective response to the foreign language being studied" (Gardener et al. 1987). Thus in the FL classroom LC anxiety is fast becoming a priority. According to Scarcella and Oxford (1992), "listening anxiety occurs when students feel they are faced with a task that is too difficult or unfamiliar to them." Joiner (1986) points out "a negative listening self-concept,' responsible that arises LC anxiety during the listening process." Horwitz (1987) defines this negative listening self-concept as the false impression that "in order to be 'good' at a language they need perfect pronunciation, massive amounts of vocabulary, extensive grammar knowledge, overseas experience, and a natural aptitude for language before they even open their mouths." Little research has been done on the sources and solutions of LC anxiety in the FL classroom.

2. Implications for Research

International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC) consists of seven departments fewer than four faculties. Remedial English Course (REC) is a program offered every semester to the freshmen graduates enrolled under four different departments (BBA, ELL, CSE, and LLB) at IIUC. The Department of English Language and Literature (ELL) conducts four courses under this program. …

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