Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Listening Comprehension Strategies Used by College Students to Cope with the Aural Problems in EFL Classes: An Analytical Study

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Listening Comprehension Strategies Used by College Students to Cope with the Aural Problems in EFL Classes: An Analytical Study

Article excerpt


The current study focused on the problems which students encounter while listening to the English language, the mental processes they activate in listening comprehension, and the strategies they use in different phases of comprehension. Also, it aimed to find out whether there were any differences between advanced and intermediate students in their use of the listening strategies. Data was collected using the "think aloud" technique in which students (4^sup th^ year English majors, Faculty of Education, Menoufia University) were asked to mention any problem they face during a listening comprehension activity and indicate what they were thinking to solve the problem. The findings indicated that advanced and intermediate participants encountered the same problems with different percentages, and activated three groups of processes. The advanced group students used top down strategies more than the intermediate ones.

Keywords: listening comprehension strategies, aural problems, think aloud, intellectual processes

1. Introduction

Listening in English is an active skill requiring listeners to deal with a variety of complicated tasks, such as discriminating between sounds and interpreting stress and intonation. Listeners use a variety of mental processes to give meaning to the information they listen to. These mental steps can be broadly described as listening comprehension strategies. As indicated by Song (2008), listeners often do not handle listening tasks in an effective way utilizing these strategies successfully. They are not aware of listening strategies. Chamot (2005) pointed out that less successful language learners do not have the knowledge needed to select appropriate strategies. Goh (2000) emphasized the importance of these strategies by arguing that learners' awareness is related to effective learning in all learning contexts. Taguchi (2005) drew attention to the specific context of L2 listening and claim that strategies have a direct and positive influence on listening performance. Osada (2004), and Sharma (2007) also indicated that one of the distinctive features differentiating successful listeners from unsuccessful ones is their use of listening comprehension strategies and they supported the idea that analyzing the role of these strategies in L2 listening helps listeners to approach the listening task more effectively.

1.1 Background and Problem of the Study

Many researchers (Corder (1982), Ellis (1986), Song (2008), Chamot (2005), and Goh (2000), assured that more studies are needed to increase learners' awareness of strategies used in listening. As reception processes and strategies of the spoken language are a relatively unexplored field of study, the focus of this study is to analyze the mental steps involved in the reception strategies of listening.

The researcher conducted a pilot study where she asked (50) students in the fourth year of the English department to listen to a passage and then answer some questions based on their comprehension of the listening passage. Findings indicated that most students encountered problems in understanding the listening passage. After that, the researcher interviewed the students and asked them about the reason for committing mistakes after listening to the passage. They said that the listening skill is the most difficult of all the language skill because they do not receive training to develop their listening skill.

1.2 Aim of the Study

This study aimed to investigate the listening comprehension strategies which students in the fourth year of the English department used when an aural message is processed.

1.3 Questions of the Study

The current study tried to find answers to the following questions:

1-What problems do advanced and intermediate learners of English as a foreign language experience in listening comprehension?

2-What planning processes do advanced and intermediate learners activate in listening comprehension? …

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