Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Effect of Listening Strategy Training on Iranian EFL Learners' Listening Comprehension and Use of Strategies

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Effect of Listening Strategy Training on Iranian EFL Learners' Listening Comprehension and Use of Strategies

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the effects of listening strategy training on Iranian EFL learners' listening comprehension ability and use of listening strategies. In research conducted in the field of language teaching, many researchers attempted to identify successful listening strategies, and to create opportunities for the students to practice these strategies in order to have more successful listening experiences. This work with a experimental methodology had 60 adult EFL learners from a language institute in Isfahan, Iran, as participants. These participants who were selected based on the results of a placement test, were randomly assigned to two experimental and control groups; each of the groups involved 30 students with the same level of language proficiency. While the control group had no special treatment, the experimental group students took part in a listening strategy training program for eight weeks, with two ninety minutes sessions each week. A listening comprehension test and a listening strategy use questionnaire used as both pre- and post-tests examined the students' progress. The results of data analysis revealed that the program had a positive effect on the experimental group students' listening comprehension and listening strategy use. In contrast no considerable change was observed for the students in the control group. Also, based on the statistics related to strategy use, the strategies most accountable for the improvement of the students' listening comprehension were identified and ranked based on their effectiveness.

Keywords: Strategy, Strategy training, Listening strategy, Listening comprehension

1. Introduction

Listening, which was traditionally regarded as a passive skill with no place in L2 teaching, now is considered an important skill in its own right. It is one of the most widely used skills in daily life which plays a key role in developing L2 communicative ability. Considered the most difficult skill to learn out of the four skills, listening involves a complex process that allows us to understand and interpret spoken messages in real time by making use of a variety of sources such as phonetics, phonological, prosodic, lexical, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic (Lynch, 1998).

As Rost (1994) points out, listening is vital in the language classroom because it provides input for the learner. Without understanding input at the right level, learning may not begin. He provides three important reasons for emphasizing the importance of listening. 1) spoken language provides a means of interaction for the learner, 2) authentic spoken language presents a challenge for the learners to attempt to understand language as native speakers actually use it, 3) listening exercises provide teachers with the means for drawing learners' attention to new forms (vocabulary, grammar, new interaction patterns) in the language (141-142).

In spit of the fact that listening is highly significant in L2 learning, most learners consider it overly difficult and are unable to make an appropriate use of this important source of input. Some researchers argue that this problem may stem in students' lack of knowledge of listening strategies and their use. Since 1970s, researchers have addressed the need for strategy training in response to the students' lack of knowledge of the cognitive tools and strategies available to them. For instance, Willing (1987) attributes students' learning problems particularly to the use of inadequate and inappropriate learning strategies, in addition to other learning factors. Assessing the needs for strategy training, Cohen (1998) notes that 'the ultimate goal of strategy training is to empower students by allowing them to take control of the language learning process' (70). He thus outlines three major objectives of strategy training: to develop the learners' individualized strategy systems, to promote learner autonomy, and to encourage learners to take more responsibility for their own learning. …

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