Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Effect of Task-Based Listening Activities on Improvement of Listening Self-Efficacy among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Effect of Task-Based Listening Activities on Improvement of Listening Self-Efficacy among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed at exploring the role of task-based listening activities in augmenting EFL learners' listening self-efficacy. To this end, 70 male and female Iranian EFL learners in Kish Air English Institute, Mashhad, Iran, participated in the study. To homogenize the participants' level of proficiency, the Interchange/Passages Objective Placement Test was employed and the participants with the intermediate level of proficiency were selected. Accordingly, the number of the participants was reduced to 50. To measure the participants' level of listening self-efficacy at the pre- and post-tests, a listening self-efficacy questionnaire (20 items) was applied. Then, the participants were randomly divided into two groups: experimental (N=26) and control (N=24). The experimental group received task-based listening activities during the 19 sessions (30 minutes) of instructions, and the control group received the traditional practices (a question-and-answer approach). The results of independent t-test revealed that the participants' levels of listening self-efficacy in the experimental group was significantly higher than those in the control group (P=0.05).

Keywords: Listening comprehension, Task-based activities, Listening self-efficacy

1. Introduction

Self-efficacy, defined as a person's perceptions, beliefs and evaluations of his/her performances and capabilities to carry out specific tasks, is an effective factor influencing the process of language learning. Individuals with high sense of self-efficacy are more likely to contribute more effort and resilience when they encounter difficulties (Bandura, 1977, 1997). The importance of self-efficacy provides the necessary incentive to choose a much better approach for working and doing listening activities in language classrooms. It seems that task-based activities may potentially raise listeners' self-efficacy since the primary focus of such activities is on meaning and "seeks to engage learners in using language pragmatically rather than displaying language" (Ellis, 2003, p. 9). In other words, the engagement of one's previous performance in tasks, interpretations and probable success helps to create one's efficacy beliefs. Since interactive task-based activities engage learners in accomplishing tasks in pairs or groups, it is more probable to witness other learners' performances and in the case of the existence of any success while doing the activities, learners model others' achievement(s) which in turn impacts their improvement.

Indeed, observing others perform tasks, vicarious experience which is the second source of self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997, 1977, Pajares, 1997, 2002), can initiate and create assumptions and assurance in observers that they are capable of making progress if they pursue and continue their efforts appropriately. Bandura (1977) maintains that when some persons with similar characteristics can succeed, their "observers have a reasonable basis for increasing their own sense of self-efficacy" (p. 197). The purpose of the current study is to find out whether inserting task-based listening activities into conventional listening courses can improve learners' self-efficacy in listening comprehension skill.

2. Review of Literature

A. Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)

(1) Definition of Task

Generally the definition of 'task' goes to two different varieties. The first kind of task, as Nunan (2004) states, is related to real world and is labeled target task, and the second category is pedagogical task. Pedagogical tasks are done within the classroom while target tasks are employed for authentic users out of the classroom.

Richards et al.(1986) offered the following definition of a pedagogical task:

... an activity or action which is carried out as the result of processing or understanding language (i.e. as a response). For example, drawing a map while listening to a tape, listening to an instruction and performing a command may be referred to as tasks. …

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