Learning to Listen in English

Topics: Learning, Second language acquisition, Educational technology Pages: 24 (8745 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Listening skills research has tended to focus on strategy use in classrooms and on theory and practice of second language (L2) teachers. This study examined the teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of listening skills in non-classroom learning situations. Five (n = 5) study skills teachers and 19 former learners in a distance study skills course at the University of the South Pacific (USP) were interviewed for this study. The interviews with the study skills teachers sought their expectations of their learners’ listening strategies, their views about the learners they taught, and the skills their learners used for listening. Former learners were similarly questioned about their perceptions of listening strategies they were taught and used. Data was collected and managed usingNVivo, a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software. Besides revealing strategies that distance learners reported using their learning listening skills, the study identified a number of differences in views presented by researchers and L2 teachers, as well as differences in perceptions on listening skills between L2 teachers and L2 learners. The paper concludes that there exists a discrepancy between research and the practice of researchers, L2 teachers, and L2 learners on what works. The author also recommends further research in this area is needed, because research examining classroom-based learning situations will likely not apply to, nor fully inform, distance learning contexts. Keywords: Distance learning; listening strategies; University of the South Pacific (USP); learning strategies; learner perceptions; teacher perceptions Introduction

This paper aims to shed light on learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of language learning strategies (LLS) used for listening skills. It does so by using findings from a recent study conducted at University of the South Pacific (USP), which sought to examine the ‘listening needs’ of distance students for most of whom English is a second language. The larger project collected views from four groups at USP: former and present students enrolled in a study skills course offered at a distance by USP, study skills teachers who taught the course, and course teachers taking distance courses. Other forms of data collection included questionnaires which were distributed to two groups of learners and course material analysis. The focus of this paper will be on the former learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of the students’ listening skills, and specifically the differences reported by these two groups. Additionally, this paper aims to compare the findings with research by Berne (1995, 1996, 1998) and reviews by Mendelsohn (2001a, 2001b), which show that teachers rarely refer to studies conducted on listening to inform their practice, and that they tend not to spell-out the strategies they want students to use in their classrooms. This paper first provides readers with the current theoretical background on listening skills, language learning strategies, learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of language learning strategies, and the researchers’ views on classroom practices. Next, the background to the study is presented, which includes participant details, and data collection methods and analysis used. This will be followed by discussion of the results, conclusion, limitations of the study, and possible directions for future research. Theoretical Background

Listening plays an important role in language learning (Anderson & Lynch, 1988; Dunkel, 1991; Rost, 1990; Rubin, 1994) and is possibly the most essential language skill ( Oxford, 1993). It is also “the least explicit of the four language skills” (Vandergrift, 2004, p. 1) – speaking, listening, reading and writing: the four academic skills – because it is the most difficult to observe. Research on ‘listening’ began with Rankin (1930) who found listening to be the most frequently used mode of communication amongst humans. According to Brown (1987),...

References: Anderson, A., & Lynch, T. (1988). Listening. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Berne , J. E. (1998). Examining the relationship between L2 listening research, pedagogical theory, and practice. Foreign Language Annals, 31(2), 169-190.
Berne , J. E. (1996). Current Trends in L2 listening Comprehension Research: Are researchers and language instructors on the same wavelength? Minnesota Language Review, 24(3), 6-10.
Berne , J. E. (1995). How does varying pre-listening activities affect second language listening comprehension? Hispania, 78(2), 316-329.
Bolabola, C., & Wah, R. (Eds.) (1995). South Pacific women in distance education. Studies from the countries of the University of the South Pacific. Suva: University of the South Pacific and the Commonwealth of Learning.
Brown, J. I. (1987). Listening – Ubiquitous yet obscure. Journal of the International Listening Association, 1, 3-14.
Boyle, R. (1995). Language Teaching at a Distance: From the first generation model to the third.System, 23(3), 283-294.
Chamot, A. U. (2005). Language Learning Strategy Instruction: Current issues and research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 25, 112-130.
Chamot, A. U., & El-Dinary, P. B. (1999). Children’s learning strategies in immersion classrooms. The Modern Language Journal, 83(3), 319-341.
Doughty, C. J., & Long, M. H. (2003). Optimal psycholinguistic environments for distance foreign language learning. Language Learning and Technology, 7(3), 50-80.
Dunkel, P. (1991). Listening in the Native and Second/ Foreign Language: Towards an integration of research and practice. TESOL Quarterly, 25(3), 431-457.
Feyten, C. M. (1991). The Power of Listening Ability: An overlooked dimension in language acquisition.The Modern Language Journal, 75(2), 173-180.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for qualitative research, New York: Aldine.
Griffiths, C., & Parr, J. (2001). Language-Learning Strategies: Theory and perception. ELT Journal, 55(3), 247-254.
Goh, C. C. M. (2002). Exploring listening comprehension tactics and their interaction patterns.System, 30, 185-206.
Goh, C., & Taib, Y. (2006). Metacognitive instruction in listening for young learners. ELT Journal, 60(3), 222-232.
Hadley, O. A. (2001). Teaching language in context. (3rd. edition).Toronto: Heinle & Heinle.
Harris, V. (2003). Adapting classroom-based strategy instruction to a distance learning context.TESL-EJ, 7(2). Retrieved July 18, 2005 from: http://writing.berkeley.edu/TESL-EJ/ej26/a1.html
Harsh, O
Hawkey, R. (2006). Teacher and learner perceptions of language learning activity. ELT Journal, 60(3), 242-252.
Leontiev, A. (1981). Psychology and the language learning process. Oxford: Pergamon.
Lund , R. J. (1990). A taxonomy for teaching second language listening. Foreign Language Annals, 23, 105-115.
Khaldieh, S. A. (2000). Learning strategies and the writing processes of proficient vs. less-proficient learners of Arabic. Foreign Language Annals, 33(5), 522-533.
Khan, V. (2005). LL114:English for Academic Purposes, Introduction and Assignments, Semester 2.Suva: DFL Support Centre, USP.
Map of USP . (n.d.). Map of the University of the South Pacific service area: November 20, 2004 from: http://www.usp.ac.fj/uspnet
Martin, P
Mendelsohn, D. J. (2001a). Listening Comprehension: We’ve come a long way, but…. Contact, 27(2), 33-40.
Mendelsohn, D. J. (2001b). Teaching is for researchers, too. TESOL Matters, 11(4), Retrieved August 10, 2006 from: http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=194&DID=908
Nunan, D
Nunan, D. (2000). Seven hypotheses about language teaching and learning. Plenary presentation,2000 TESOL Convention, Vancouver. 14-18 March.
O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O’Malley, J. M, Chamot, A. U., & Kữpper, L. (1989). Listening comprehension strategies in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 10(4), 418-437.
O’Malley, J. M., Chamot, A. U., Manzanzres, G. S., Kupper, L., & Russo, R. P. (1985). Learning strategies used by beginning and intermediate ESL students. Language Learning, 35(1), 21-46.
Oxford , R. (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What every teacher should know. Rowley MA.: Newbury House.
Oxford , R. (1993). Research update on teaching L2 listening. System, 21(2), 205-211.
Rankin, P. T. (1930). Listening Ability: Its importance, measurement, and development. Chicago Schools Journal, 147-179.
Rost, M. (1990). Listening in language learning. London: Longman.
Rubin, J. (1975). What the “good language learner” can teach us. TESOL Quarterly, 9(1), 41-51.
Rubin, J. (1994). A review of second language listening comprehension research. Modern Language Journal, 78(2), 199-221.
Rubin, J., & Thompson, I. (1994). How to be a more successful language learner. (2nd. Ed.). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
Schumann, F. (1980). Diary of a >anguage Learner: A further analysis. In R. Scarcella & S. Krashen (Eds.), Research in second language acquisition (pp. 51-57). Rowley, MA.: Newbury House.
Stern, H. H. (1975). What can we learn from the good language learner? Canadian Modern Language Review, 31, 304-318.
Strambi, A., & Bouvet, E. (2003). Flexibility and Interaction at a Distance: A mixed-mode environment for language learning. Language Learning and Technology, 7(3), 81-102.
Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1977). Grounded theory in practice. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage.
Strevens, P. (1978). New orientations in the teaching of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Takeuchi, O. (2003). What Can We Learn from Good Language Learners: A qualitative study in the Japanese foreign language context. System, 31(3), 385-392.
University of the South Pacific. (2004). A vision to the year 2020. Background papers. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.
Vandergrift, L. (1997a). The Comprehension Strategies of Second Language (French) Listeners: A descriptive study. Foreign Language Annals, 30(3), 387-409.
Vandergrift, L. (1997b). The Cinderella of Communication Strategies: Reception strategies in interactive listening. Modern Language Journal, 81(4), 494-505.
Vandergrift, L. (2003). Orchestrating Strategy Use: Towards a model of the skilled L2 listener.Language Learning, 53, 461-494.
Vandergrift, L. (2004). Listening to learn or learning to listen? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 3-25.
Vandergrift, L., Goh, C., Mareschal, C., & Tafaghodtari, M. (2006). The Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire: Development and validation. Language Learning, 53(3), 431-462.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Literature in English Learning and Teac
  • learning english Essay
  • Learning English Essay
  • English Learning Essay
  • Learning English: as It as Essay
  • english Essay
  • Essay about English
  • Essay about english

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free