Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Culture-Bound Materials, Listening Performance of Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners, and Their Emotional Intelligence

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Culture-Bound Materials, Listening Performance of Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners, and Their Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

One of the determining factors in mastering a second or foreign language is the level of learners' intelligence. Some scientists such as Yamauchi (2005) believe that emotional Intelligence or emotional quotient ""EQ" is a new model in human behavior. Goleman (1995) suggested that emotio nal intelligence includes "abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations to control impulses and delay gratification: to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swapping the ability to think; to emphasize and to hope" (p.34). The relationship between the ability to learn a new language and the level of intelligence has been the focus of study for language teachers and syllabus designers. On the other hand, the nature and identity of language seems to be different among different nations of the world. In this arena many factors play crucial role, one of the most important of which is culture. Culture is the way people of any community see the world around them-their way of thinking, their lifestyle, and their reaction to the world and to other people. Language teachers must be well aware of the knowledge of how learning is shaped by culture.

Among the four skills in English language learning, listening plays the most important role in communication in real life: According to Feyten (1991), listening provides more than 45% of our total communication ability, followed by speaking (30%), reading (16%), and writing (9%).However, in a foreign language (FL) context, where English is not commonly spoken in the society, learners are not sufficiently observing to this foreign language. It has therefore become crucial that English should be taught effectively in school classrooms. For many EFL learners, listening poses a grave challenge. On the other hand EFL learners usually live in countries with different cultural norms. In order to comprehend an excerpt of listening, the learner must immediately process and segment an ongoing stream of sounds in to smaller, understandable sections.

Written text, by contrast, allows readers to rely on word boundaries to segment a stream of speech. What makes the field even muddier for EFL learners to master the listening comprehension is the differences that exist in the discourse of English and the mother tongue of the learners. As it is crystal clear, there are a lot of dissimilarities between English and Iranian culture. This distinction makes a lot of problems for EFL learners. Besides, not being familiar with the target culture leads to confusion on the part of language learners. Therefore if the EFL learners know the cultural rules of the English language they will be able to overcome the difficulty successfully. In order for this to happen one important issue seems to be the level of the learners' emotional intelligence. Downey, Mountstephen, Lloyd, Hansen and Stough (2008) found that high EI contributes to increased motivation, planning, and decision making, which positively influence academic performance.

To continue the line of research in the field of emotional intelligence and foreign language learning, this study sought to shed light on emotional intelligence, and its relationship with culture bound materials in teaching listening comprehension, and wanted to find out if higher level of emotional intelligence (as measured by Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire - Adolescent Short Form TEIQue-ASF) among Iranian adolescent EFL learners led to better outcomes in listening comprehension tests, when the teaching materials were selected from the culture bound materials of the target language. In fact this study set out to answer the following questions:

RQ1- Does using culture bound materials have any significant impact on listening performance of Iranian intermediate EFL learners considering their level of emotional intelligence as measured by TEIQue-ASF?

RQ2- Is there any significant relationship between the gender of EFL learners and their listening achievement in light of their level of emotional intelligence when culture bound materials are used in listening classes? …

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