ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This study explored the impact of listening strategy training conducted within two strategy interventions on pre-intermediate and intermediate EFL learners’ comprehension of unidirectional listening. Participants were divided into two experimental groups (n = 156) and a comparison group (n = 50). Each experimental group was trained in eight listening strategies within one of the strategy interventions. Learners' perceptions regarding the efficacy of strategy interventions in enhancing their listening performance were also sought through semi-structured interviews. The comparison group listened to the same listening texts as the experimental groups without receiving strategy training. Results showed that both experimental groups outperformed the comparison group on a listening achievement test. Further, the intermediate learners in the experimental groups outperformed the pre-intermediate ones. No statistically significant difference was, however, found between the listening performances of learners in the experimental groups. Learners expressed a positive view of the efficacy of strategy interventions.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Learning to listen: does intervention make a difference?
Ghazal Lotfi
a
*, Parviz Maftoon
b
and Parviz Birjandi
b
a
Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign
Languages, Islamic Azad University, South Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran;
b
Department of
English Language, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
This study explored the impact of listening strategy training conducted within
two strategy interventions on pre-intermediate and intermediate EFL learners’
comprehension of unidirectional listening. Participants were divided into two
experimental groups (n¼156) and a comparison group (n¼50). Each experi-
mental group was trained in eight listening strategies within one of the strategy
interventions. Learners’ perceptions regarding the efficacy of strategy interven-
tions in enhancing their listening performance were also sought through semi-
structured interviews. The comparison group listened to the same listening texts
as the experimental groups without receiving strategy training. Results showed
that both experimental groups outperformed the comparison group on a
listening achievement test. Further, the intermediate learners in the experimental
groups outperformed the pre-intermediate ones. No statistically significant
difference was, however, found between the listening performances of learners in
the experimental groups. Learners expressed a positive view of the efficacy of
strategy interventions.
Introduction
Listening comprehension, which may seem an effortless task to native speakers,
often poses a serious challenge to second and foreign language (L2) learners
(Graham 2003). The ephemeral and implicit nature of speech signals exerts
considerable processing demands on L2 learners (Vandergrift 2006). Learners need
to store information in their short term memory at the same time as they try to
understand the information, with little time to plan how they are going to process it
(Rubin 1995). If a stretch of speech is not understood at the moment it is heard, it is
very taxing to retrieve it in memory (Field 2008). Failure to comprehend speech due
to the pressure of time often induces anxiety in learners (Arnold 2000) and results in
the belief that listening is a particularly difficult skill to learn (Hasan 2000). It is thus
particularly important to explore approaches that might help learners enhance their
listening comprehension abilities and reduce induced anxiety.
Training in L2 listening strategies has been suggested as a feasible approach to
teaching learners how to listen (Mendelsohn 1994). Systematic instruction in L2
listening strategies is claimed to assist learners in dealing with an immediate or
*Corresponding author. Email: g_lotfi@azad.ac.ir
The Language Learning Journal
2012, 1–17, iFirst article
ISSN 0957-1736 print/ISSN 1753-2167 online
Ó2012 Association for Language Learning
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2012.734320
http://www.tandfonline.com
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
potential problem caused by a comprehension failure (Field 2008). A review of
studies focusing on L2 listening strategy development reveals that these studies have
been mostly theoretical and descriptive in nature (Berne 2004) in the sense that the
studies have attempted to define the features of a good listener, identify the total
number of strategies that learners use, make a comparison of strategy use between
one group of learners and another group (Macaro 2001) and propose various
approaches to teaching listening without empirically examining them for their
effectiveness (Berne 2004). Many studies have in fact been concerned with comparing
the strategy use of learners at different levels of language proficiency (e.g. O’Malley,
Chamot and Kupper 1989). Little empirical research has been carried out into the
effects of strategy training on listening comprehension, with very few studies
examining the effectiveness of different models of strategy instruction (e.g.
McGruddy 1995; Ozeki 2000). No clear empirical evidence has yet been provided
to determine the optimal method for conducting strategy training (Cohen 1998).
More intervention studies are thus required, according to Macaro, Graham and
Vanderplank (2007), in order to identify what kind of strategy instruction works
with what kinds of learners. As a contribution to addressing this gap in listening
strategy research, the present study was conducted to investigate the efficacy of two
different strategy interventions in enhancing L2 learners’ listening comprehension at
two different levels of proficiency.
Listening strategy research
A growing body of research has been conducted to identify the nature, type and
range of L2 listening strategies used by learners of higher versus lower language
proficiency. O’Malley, Chamot and Kupper (1989), for instance, used verbal
protocol methods to compare the listening strategies of effective and ineffective high
school ESL students. They found that effective and ineffective listeners varied as to
the strategies they chose to use during the various phases of listening comprehension.
More effective listeners used both bottom-up and top-down processing strategies,
while ineffective listeners relied on bottom-up strategies.
Vandergrift (1997) explored the relationship between the types of listening
comprehension strategies reported, the frequency of their use and the differences in
reported use by successful and less successful high school students of French.
Vandergrift found that more proficient listeners used more metacognitive strategies
than less proficient ones. The use of metacognitive strategies such as comprehension
monitoring, problem identification and selective attention appeared to be the
significant factor distinguishing the successful from the less successful listeners.
In a similar vein, Vandergrift (2003) compared listening comprehension strategies
of seventh-grade French students. He investigated the type of strategies used and the
differences in strategy use by more skilled and less skilled listeners as revealed when
these learners listened to authentic texts in French. The think-aloud data revealed
that more competent listeners used a wider variety of listening strategies with greater
frequency and flexibility than less competent listeners.
Recognizing that less proficient listeners might be at a disadvantage, practitioners
became interested in developing strategy programs to encourage strategy use in less
successful listeners. This, in turn, was motivated by the premise that promoting the
use and development of strategies through explicit instruction can lead to improved
performance (O’Malley and Chamot 1990). However, the review of the limited
2G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
research on the outcomes of strategy training programs yields mixed results: some
studies indicate no improvement in students’ listening ability after strategy training
(e.g. Ozeki 2000), others show partial improvement (e.g. O’Malley et al. 1985;
Thompson and Rubin 1996), while others show promising results (e.g. Goh and Taib
2006; Graham and Macaro 2008).
Research into strategy training
In one of the earliest studies conducted into the effect of strategy training on listening
comprehension, O’Malley et al. (1985) randomly assigned intermediate ESL learners
to three teaching groups: a metacognitive, a cognitive and a control group. In this
study, strategy selection was justified by recourse to findings from L1 strategy
instruction. The metacognitive group received instruction in the three strategies of
selective attention, note taking and co-operation; the cognitive group was instructed
in note-taking and co-operation only; and the control group received no strategy
instruction. The results of the intervention were mixed, with differences in the post-
test scores of learners approaching but not reaching significance.
McGruddy (1995) studied the effect of strategy training in prediction, selective
attention and inferring on ESL learners’ listening performance. The two theoretical
perspectives of Schema and Relevance Theory informed strategy selection in this
study. Significant gains in listening achievement in favour of the intervention group
were found on the researcher-designed listening test, but not on a standardized test.
In an intervention study by Thompson and Rubin (1996), the effect of teaching
both metacognitive and cognitive strategies to a group of third-year university
learners of Russian was evaluated. Thompson and Rubin based the strategies
selected for instruction on those reported by successful listeners. The results showed
that students receiving strategy instruction made significant gains over the
comparison students on a video comprehension post-test, but gains were less
positive on an audio test. In addition, the confidence of students in the experimental
group for listening to authentic texts was enhanced.
Although the selection of the strategies taught in Ozeki’s (2000) study was based
on specific needs of the groups of learners involved in the study, namely, female first-
year college students in Japan, the intervention did not appear to be successful. The
intervention group did not outperform the control group on the listening post-test.
Questionnaire data showed that on the post-test, the control group made more use of
cognitive and socio-affective strategies than the intervention group, while the
intervention group reported the use of more metacognitive strategies.
More promising results were found in studies by Goh and Taib (2006) and
Graham and Macaro (2008). Goh and Taib’s study showed that training in
metacognitive strategies of prediction, monitoring, evaluating and problem-solving
helped less skilled listeners build confidence when approaching listening tasks.
Graham and Macaro (2008) investigated the effects of strategy training on both
listening performance and self-efficacy of lower-intermediate learners of French
against a comparison group. In addition, the effects of high- and low- scaffolded
intervention were compared. Results indicated considerable success in the explicit
strategy instruction of multiple strategies over a period of six months with beneficial
effects on learner self-efficacy and confidence about listening. Both the high- and
low-scaffold groups outperformed a control group at the end of the study and six
months later. The researchers attribute the success of strategy training to the
The Language Learning Journal 3
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
clustering of cognitive and metacognitive strategies and the task-specific and learner-
centred characteristics of the intervention.
The modest, though partially positive, outcomes of strategy training programs can
be explained from two angles. First, the range and type of strategies chosen in most of
the studies with limited listening outcomes (e.g. Mc Gruddy 1995; Ozeki 2000) show that
these studies mainly featured instruction on strategies involving top-down processing
such as inferring. In fact, a number of strategy researchers believe that top-down
strategies are a mark of successful listeners (e.g. Chien and Wei 1998) and emphasize
that the function of instruction is to teach these strategies to less successful listeners
(Hasan 2000). An emphasis on top-down strategies in strategy interventions, according
to Graham and Macaro (2008), reflects the general tendency to teach the strategies used
by more successful listeners to less successful ones. However, research suggesting that
successful and less successful learners use very similar strategies but in less effective
combinations (Vann and Abraham 1990) casts doubt on the value of this approach.
Second, not all forms of strategy training benefit all students, with strategy
training inevitably interacting with learner characteristics (Graham 2003). This, in
turn, implies that if learners are not given an opportunity to select the strategies they
want to develop, a training program may not be effective (O’Malley 1987). Further
research is thus needed into the kinds of strategy interventions that can address the
specific needs of groups of learners, or individual learners at a particular proficiency
level. Moreover, a major limitation of the studies outlined earlier is the fact that most
do not take into account the possible confounding effect of level of linguistic
knowledge or other potentially intervening factors. Therefore, it is difficult to argue
for a causal relationship between learners’ strategy use and listening success after
receiving strategy training.
Hence, the present study attempted to explore the effect of two listening strategy
interventions on pre-intermediate and intermediate EFL learners’ performance in
unidirectional listening (i.e. listening to a recorded text). The two interventions were
developed in accordance with the models proposed respectively by Mendelsohn
(1994) and Macaro (2001). Learners’ perceptions regarding the effectiveness of each
intervention were also investigated in order to shed further light on the outcomes of
the study.
Research questions
The research focused on the following questions:
(1) Can listening strategy training enhance pre-intermediate and intermediate
EFL learners’ listening performance?
(2) Do different approaches to listening strategy training have differential effects
on listening performance?
(3) How do participants themselves evaluate the impact of strategy training on
their listening performance?
Methodology
Design
The study was based on a quasi-experimental pre-test-post-test design with two
experimental groups (EGs) and one comparison group (CG). It covered eight
4G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
90-minute listening lessons for all participants. In each lesson, the first experimental
group (EG1) received strategy training based on Mendelsohn’s (1994) model, while
the second group (EG2) received the training based on Macaro (2001). As is clarified
below, the two interventions differed mainly in the amount of scaffolding
provided and the reflection involved as well as the kind of tasks designed to develop
the target strategies. The CG did not receive any strategy training, but completed
listening tasks.
Mendelsohn’s (1994) model was used because, as Mendelsohn (2006: 75)
proposes, the model is ‘good pedagogy’ codified into a strategy instruction which is
specifically developed to help learners learn to listen so that they can better listen
to learn (Vandergrift 2004). The program proposed by Macaro (2001) was selected
because it is intended to train foreign language learners in coherent and
appropriate combinations of learning strategies linked to a specific listening task
rather than to individual strategies. As Field (2000) points out, instruction in an
individual strategy may not necessarily lead to overall listening improvement.
According to Field, the reason seems to be that, however good the learners become
at using the strategy, they have difficulty in combining it with other strategies and
have difficulty in using it appropriately to meet the demands of a particular
listening task.
The training was provided by the same teacher, that is, the first researcher in this
study, to control the mitigating effects of the teacher variable (Vandergrift 2007). The
lessons were designed by the researchers, field-tested and revised in the light of the
feedback from learners in a pilot study preceding the study. The pilot learners
represented a similar population to that of the present study but were not included in
this study.
Participants
Two hundred and six students, drawn from an initial pool of 270 in nine intact
classes, participated in this study. The participants were undergraduate students
majoring in English literature, English translation and teaching English as a foreign
language (TEFL) at Islamic Azad University in Tehran who were all taking the
required English listening and speaking courses. The classes were randomly assigned
to two EGs and a CG. Participants did not know in which group they were placed
but were informed that they were involved in a study on learning how to listen in
English.
Based on the participants’ performance on a preliminary test of English (PET),
they were divided into two levels of language proficiency: pre-intermediate (n¼84)
and intermediate (n¼122). The total score of the proficiency test was 100 and the
mean for the whole population was 63.00 (SD ¼15.63). Those scoring one Standard
Deviation (SD) above the mean (63–79) were considered intermediate and those who
scored one SD below the mean (43–62) were considered pre-intermediate. Those who
scored above and below the threshold scores of 79 and 43 were then excluded and the
remaining 206 students were targeted for the current study.
In order to see whether the differences between the two groups were significant
and therefore whether the grouping procedure was valid, an independent t-test
was conducted for the students’ test scores on the proficiency test. The results of the
t-test confirmed the existence of significant difference between the two groups
(t
(204)
¼724.49, p¼0.00).
The Language Learning Journal 5
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
Research procedure
The research was conducted over 16 weeks of a single semester. In week 1, all 206
participants took the PET in order to check the distribution of proficiency in each
group. In week 2, all participants took the specific listening comprehension pre-test
designed to assess learners’ listening performance prior to the experimental
interventions. In weeks 3 and 4, pre-intervention semi-structured interviews were
conducted with a random sample of 48 participants from the experimental groups in
order to collect data on learners’ listening problems and strategy use. This was then
used to select strategies for the two experimental strategy training interventions.
From weeks 6 through 13, the EGs were given training in the target strategies and
the CG received researcher-designed listening lessons. Post-intervention interviews
were then conducted in weeks 14 and 15 with the same sample of 48 who participated
in the pre-intervention interviews. These were designed to investigate the learners’
perceptions about the efficacy of the strategy training. In week 16, all participants
took the listening comprehension post-test. Assessment of listening comprehension
was achieved in the same manner for both EGs and CG in the pre-test and post-test
sessions. However, the order in which the subtests appeared in pre-test and post-test
differed in order to control the testing effect.
The experimental strategy training
Target strategies
The selection of the target strategies for the experimental interventions was based on
data obtained from pre-intervention semi-structured interviews (see below). The
interviews aimed at exploring learners’ beliefs about listening problems and
identifying strategies available to them before the interventions. The interview
transcripts were then explored for instances of learners’ metacognitive and cognitive
strategy use and for identification of learners’ listening problems in order to ensure
that the experimental interventions focused on strategies that would help learners
with their particular problems. The following strategies were selected for explicit
teaching (in this order): finding the main idea, predicting, planning including
advance organization and selective attention, note-taking, summarizing, linguistic
inferencing and between-parts inferencing (Goh 1998; Vandergrift 1997; White
2008). Both cognitive and metacognitive strategies were included.
Features common to the two experimental interventions
Before strategy training itself, both EGs undertook activities designed to raise
learners’ awareness of strategies and the effectiveness of strategy use in facilitating L2
listening. Following Mendelsohn’s (1994) recommendations, learners in the EG1
were involved in a short class discussion on the value of listening strategies.
Examples were then provided to convince them of the role of strategy use in
comprehending L2 listening texts. In line with Macaro’s (2001) suggestions, learners
in the EG2 were initially required to discuss the strategies they use when involved in
unidirectional listening in their L1. The elicited strategies were listed on the board.
The learners were then asked to compare these strategies with those they use when
doing similar tasks in an L2. This was followed by a class discussion on why the use
of these strategies would help learners listen more effectively.
6G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
The EGs’ eight listening lessons involved pre-listening tasks, strategy training
and listening tasks. The pre-listening tasks included (a) questions to discuss the text
topic in order to activate learners’ background knowledge of the text, (b) vocabulary
building activities to encourage learners to guess the meaning of unknown words
from the context and (c) grammar focus tasks to help learners use the context
provided in the tasks to bring into consciousness the use of complex grammatical
structures present in the texts. It has been argued that complex grammatical
structures can make listening texts too difficult for learners to comprehend easily
(Anderson and Lynch 1988). Therefore, to control the level of difficulty of the texts
and to avoid any intervening effect that complex structures might have on learners’
listening comprehension (Nunan 1989), grammar focus tasks were included in the
pre-listening section of the lessons.
Strategy training for the EGs comprised integrated and informed training of the
target strategies. The tactics and steps needed to implement each strategy were thus
presented. Guided activities were provided to give learners practice in utilizing the
strategy in question. This was followed by having learners employ the strategy while
doing the listening tasks in each lesson.
The EG learners then completed a short feedback survey immediately after each
lesson to evaluate their own performances in the light of the strategy training they
had received. This included questions relating to learners’ overall comprehension of
the listening text, the factors that influenced their listening comprehension of that
particular text and the efficacy of the strategy training they had received.
To provide learners with further opportunities to use the strategies they had
practised in class more independently, they were required over the eight weeks to
submit weekly diaries on their listening performance and strategy use after doing
their homework assignments. In each homework assignment, they listened to the
allocated listening passages, completed the listening tasks and wrote their reflections
under the key headings: What strategy did I use? How did it help me? What did I not
comprehend? Why? The purpose of this self-evaluation was to help the learners
maintain their awareness of strategy use during the study and to adjust their listening
strategies (Macaro 2001; Mendelsohn 1994).
Features specific to EG1
Additionally, participants in the EG1 were provided with materials to develop their
level of linguistic proficiency. According to Mendelsohn (1994), a certain level of
linguistic proficiency, that is, mastery of the features of the sound and grammatical
system of language both at the sentence and at discourse level, is required to handle
listening comprehension. Thus activities for EG1 also focused on training in
recognizing and interpreting the features of fast speech, perceiving the differences in
intonation, understanding primary sentence stress and recognizing discourse
markers in speech.
In the early stages of the intervention, the learners were taught how to determine
Setting, Interpersonal relationships, Mood and Topic (SIMT) by using linguistic,
paralinguistic and extralinguistic signals available in the listening text. Upon
completion of the training sessions, the learners were instructed to consider all these
features together while listening to two short audio texts. They were then guided to
fill in a chart specifying their hypothesis for each aspect of SIMT and their reasons
for it. In subsequent sessions, the learners were required to identify appropriate
The Language Learning Journal 7
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
aspect(s) of SIMT after the first or second listening. Mendelsohn (1994) posits that
successfully determining any of these parameters greatly enhances the chances of
successful prediction and inference. The learners were provided with writing and/or
speaking post-listening tasks. The tasks were designed to replicate the reality of what
listeners often do with what they listen to in the real world (Mendelsohn 1994).
Features specific to EG2
Participants in the EG2 were provided with explicit instructions on how to apply a
particular strategy in combination with other strategies. This was facilitated by
scaffolded practice of old and new strategies and by the teacher demonstrating how
to apply a strategy in combination with others using a think-aloud procedure.
Moreover, learners were assisted with deciding on the strategy combinations by
reflecting on a ‘scaffolding sheet’ (see Macaro 2001: 193) before starting to listen to
audio lessons and checking through a strategy list prior to doing homework
assignments. It was hoped that reminding learners continually of the cluster of
strategies they could use while listening would get them into the habit of using them
(Macaro 2001).
The learners received written personalized feedback on their diaries. The
feedback aimed at highlighting the relationship between strategy use and learners’
success in comprehending the text. It reminded the learners of the strategies they
could use where instances of comprehension failure were reported. The diary keepers
were involved in a constant dialogue with the teacher, in the sense that every session
they read the teachers’ comments and discussed them with the teacher before a new
lesson began. Upon completing the feedback surveys, the learners were involved in a
short class teacher-led discussion aimed at initial evaluation of strategy training.
They were thus encouraged to reflect on how the underlying listening sub-skills and
processes were enhanced. As Macaro (2001) suggests, the important consideration at
this stage is to ensure that evaluation of strategy effectiveness relates to the cognitive
processes involved in language learning. The evaluation must therefore encourage
learners to reflect not only on ‘can I understand better?’ but also on ‘how is it that I
can understand better?’ (Macaro 2001: 242).
CG listening lessons
In their eight listening lessons, the CG listened to the same listening texts, completed
the same comprehension tasks and undertook the same homework assignments as
the EGs, but received no strategy training. The pre-listening tasks for the CG did not
include any pre-discussion of the topic in order to avoid any activity which would
lead to the application of the target strategies of predicting and inferencing.
Data collection instruments
Listening pre- and post-test
A test of listening comprehension was designed by the researchers for use both as a
pre-test and post-test in order to compare the listening performance of learners
before and after the interventions. The test comprised a number of sub-tests: a short
interview, a conversation, two news stories and two mini-lectures in American and
8G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
British accents varying from one minute to four minutes in length. The texts were
delivered within the range of 124 to 164 words per minute and contained syntactic
structures and topics familiar to the learners.
The listening task types used in the sub-tests were designed to mirror those used
in the listening lessons delivered to both EGs and CG. This was in order to test
whether participants in the experimental groups were capable of transferring the
strategies they had been taught. Three question formats familiar to the participants
were used: multiple choice questions (13 items), gap-filling questions (12 items) and
open-ended questions (2 items). Multiple-choice questions were specifically designed
to test the learners’ ability to find the main ideas, to selectively attend to the listening
input and to make inferences. The gap-filling items required the learners to predict
and complete a summary of the passage they heard, in which some of the important
content words were replaced by blanks. In the open-ended questions, the learners’
ability to take notes and then to summarize a listening passage was examined. This
involved distinguishing main ideas from details.
The maximum score for the full test was 36. Correct answers on the 13 multiple-
choice items and 12 gap-filling items were awarded a mark each. In note-taking, a
total of seven marks was allocated, one each for the three main ideas and four details
required. In the open summarizing task, scoring was based on the inclusion of the
four statements representing the main ideas of the text. Each statement was allocated
one mark. The participants were not penalized for spelling or grammar mistakes
when the meaning was clear and appropriate.
The content validity of the test was assessed by two expert judges in the field. The
test was also trialled on 114 TEFL learners in the pilot study who received listening
strategy training over a period of eight weeks. The reliability of the test was
confirmed by a Cronbach ascore of .80. The construct validity of the test was
confirmed by conducting a differential-groups study (Brown 2001): (t
(142)
¼6.53,
p5.05).
Semi-structured interviews
As noted above, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a random sample of
EG participants (n¼48) both before and after strategy training. They were
conducted in the participants’ first language (L1) Persian, according to an interview
guide and were audio-taped. Each interview ranged in length between 15 and 30
minutes and was conducted by the first researcher in this study who did the training
as well.
Results
Listening comprehension post-test
To answer the first and second research questions, a two-factor ANCOVA with post-
hoc analyses was performed. The independent variables were groups of participants,
i.e. EG and CG, and the level of language proficiency, i.e. pre-intermediate and
intermediate, that were factorially combined. In order to control any initial
differences in the participants’ listening ability, learners’ pre-test scores of listening
comprehension were used as a covariate. Prior to conducting the analysis, the
statistical assumptions underlying the use of two-way ANCOVA were investigated
and met.
The Language Learning Journal 9
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
Table 1 shows that the estimated marginal means on the total listening post-test
scores for the EG1 and EG2, as well as CG, were 20.18, 20.93 and 12.42,
respectively, suggesting that the EG1 and EG2 outperformed the CG on the post-
test. Indeed, as evidenced in Table 2, the main effect for group was statistically
significant (F(2,199) ¼138.03, p5.05), with Z
2
of .58 indicating a strong effect
(Cohen 1988).
To determine if there were statistically significant differences among the three
groups, pairwise multiple comparisons were conducted using Fisher’s Least
Significant Difference (LSD). Larson-Hall (2010) recommends using LSD post-hoc
when more power for finding differences is desired. The analyses revealed that there
were statistically significant differences between listening post-test mean scores of the
EG1 and CG (p5.01). There were also statistically significant differences between
listening post-test mean scores of the EG2 and CG (p5.01). This suggests that the
differences in post-test scores of the three groups were due to the intervention effect;
that is, strategy training helped learners in the EGs to improve their listening
comprehension. A comparison between the mean scores of the EG1 and EG2,
however, showed no statistical difference (p¼.12 4.01), suggesting that both
interventions had a similar impact on the learners’ listening performance.
The two-way ANCOVA analyses in Table 2 also indicated a significant effect for
language level (F(1,199) ¼14.57, p5.05, Z
2
¼.07), suggesting that pre-intermediate
and intermediate learners in the three groups performed differently on the listening
post-test. To locate the source of the significant main effect, a new grouping was
Table 1. Means and standard deviations for listening achievement as a function of treatment
and proficiency level.
Source
Unadjusted Adjusted
nMSDMSE
EG1 Pre-intermediate 32 15.94 4.22 18.84 0.55
Intermediate 47 23.06 4.97 21.52 0.44
Total 79 20.18 5.84 20.18 0.34
EG2 Pre-intermediate 32 17.44 4.17 19.99 0.54
Intermediate 45 24.38 5.22 21.88 0.46
Total 77 21.49 5.89 20.93 0.34
CG Pre-intermediate 20 8.15 3.07 11.70 0.69
Intermediate 30 15.17 4.41 13.15 0.55
Total 50 12.38 5.22 12.42 0.43
Table 2. L2 listening success as a function of group and language proficiency level with
pretesting as a covariate.
Source df M F sig Z
2
Group 2 1210.58 138.03 .00 0.58
Language proficiency level 1 127.78 14.57 .00 0.07
Group 6Proficiency level 2 6.17 0.70 .49 0.01
Pre-test 1 2426.65 276.70 .00 0.58
Error 199 8.77
10 G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
defined in which a combination of language proficiency levels and learners’ original
grouping (i.e. EG1, EG2 or CG) was assigned. This resulted in six new groups,
namely, pre-intermediate EG1, intermediate EG1, pre-intermediate EG2, inter-
mediate EG2, pre-intermediate CG and intermediate CG. A one-way ANCOVA was
run on the post-test listening scores of the learners in new groups with pre-test scores
taken as a covariate. The result showed significant main effect for the new grouping
(F(5,199)¼61.28, p5.05, Z
2
¼0.61), thereby justifying pairwise multiple compar-
isons. To avoid significant results by chance, Benjamini and Hochberg’s 1995 False
Detection Rate (FDR) method (Herrington 2002), using R statistical program, was
employed to adjust p-values after unique pairwise comparisons (n¼15) were run
using LSD. FDR has more power than the commonly used Bonferroni adjustment to
control the familywise error rate (Larson-Hall 2010). As indicated in Table 3, there
was a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the pre-
intermediate and intermediate learners in the EGs and those of their counterparts in
the CG (p5.036). The comparisons between the mean scores of the learners showed
that the pre-intermediate (EG1, M¼18.84; EG2, M¼19.99) and intermediate (EG1,
M¼21.52; EG2, M¼21.88) participants in the EGs outperformed their pre-
intermediate (M¼11.70) and intermediate (M¼13.15) counterparts in the CG on
the listening post-test.
The results of the multiple comparisons shown in Table 3 also indicate that there
was no statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the pre-
intermediate learners and intermediate learners in the CG (p¼.117). These findings
further support the interpretation that strategy training was effective in enhancing
learners’ listening performance. In addition, Table 3 shows that there was a
statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the intermediate and
pre-intermediate learners in both EGs (p5.036). Intermediate learners in the EGs
(EG1, M¼21.52; EG2, M¼21.88) outperformed the pre-intermediate learners
(EG1, M¼18.84; EG2, M¼19.99) in their respective groups. These findings confirm
that intermediate learners in the EGs benefitted more from the strategy training than
pre-intermediate learners.
Table 3. LSD multiple comparisons for mean scores of pre-intermediate and intermediate
learners in EG1, EG2 and CG on listening post-test.
New grouping (i) New grouping (j) Mean difference Standard error sig
Pre-intermediate EG1 Pre-intermediate CG 7.135* .845 .000
Intermediate CG 5.689* .809 .000
Pre-intermediate EG2 Pre-intermediate CG 8.294* .846 .000
Intermediate CG 6.848* .801 .000
Intermediate EG1 Pre-intermediate CG 9.815* .848 .000
Intermediate CG 8.370* .693 .000
Pre-intermediate EG1 2.680* .729 .000
Intermediate EG2 Pre-intermediate CG 10.181* .875 .000
Intermediate CG 8.735* .699 .000
Pre-intermediate EG2 1.887* .749 .013
Pre-intermediate CG Intermediate CG 71.446 .918 .117
Notes: *p5.036 is the cut-off level for p-values to be considered statistically significant after FDR
adjustments were made using Rstatistics.
Mean differences were calculated based on adjusted means.
The Language Learning Journal 11
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
Post-intervention student evaluation
A qualitative content analysis of data collected from the post-intervention interviews
was undertaken in order to answer the third research question. The interviews were
transcribed verbatim, translated into English, coded and then analyzed using QSR
NVivo 8 software program. The results yielded further evidence of learners’
improved listening ability. Below we present the main findings, illustrated by
representative extracts from the interviews.
All learners interviewed acknowledged an improvement in their listening ability
after receiving training. Representative of most learners’ beliefs were the following
comments:
Now that I use listening strategies, I can understand listening texts better. (Learner P10)
Fast speech or unfamiliar words do not pose a serious challenge when I listen to English
texts because I now know that I can tackle these problems by using strategies like
selective attention and linguistic inferencing. (Learner P15)
Increased awareness of listening strategies and their value to learning listening skills
was observed in majority of learners’ responses. Comments made by one learner
highlight this issue:
Before this term, I did not know anything about listening strategies. If we had been
familiar with listening strategies ever since we started learning English, we would have
not faced so many problems while listening to English texts. (Learner P40)
As the following excerpts illustrate, many learners in each of the EGs recognized
the salutary effects that particular features of the training intervention had on their
listening abilities.
Training in linguistic cues such as discourse markers or word reduction assisted me to a
large extent in recognizing inaudible words and phonological modifications in the
stream of speech. (Learner P12, EG1)
The feedback particularly helped me prepare myself for strategy use. I think reflecting
on scaffolding sheets before listening helped me focus my mind and reduced my anxiety
to a large extent. (Learner P44, EG2)
Notable in a large number of learners’ accounts were an increase in their self-
confidence and interest in doing listening tasks and a decrease in their level of
anxiety, as exemplified in the following excerpt:
Now I am very much interested in doing listening tasks. Listening strategies helped
change the way I feel about listening. Before starting to listen, I used to feel worried
about my ability to comprehend listening texts, but after learning strategies I think I am
more self-confident. For example, if I come across an unfamiliar word, I don’t panic;
instead, I try to guess its meaning from the context. I am happier now with my listening
abilities. (Learner P12)
Many of the learners’ comments showed that the strategy training brought about
a change in their learning habits and attitudes towards learning listening. Here is an
example of one of the learners’ perceptions:
After learning listening strategies, I understood that I did not need to comprehend every
single word I heard. What I needed was to try to understand the key words. I learned
that using my grammar knowledge while listening can help me better understand the
text. I now believe that listening is not too difficult to handle. (Learner P20)
12 G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
As far as language proficiency is concerned, learners’ responses attest to a
difference in the use of the strategies taught. An increase in the judicious use of
metacognitive and cognitive strategies was clearly evident in several intermediate
learners’ responses. A lot of responses also demonstrated that intermediate learners
were capable of using metacognitive and cognitive strategies in combination. In
contrast, very few pre-intermediate learners reported orchestration of metacognitive
and cognitive strategies. The following excerpts illustrate these patterns.
Note-taking strategy really helped me to take notes efficiently. Before this term, I used
to take notes while listening but my notes were not organized and I just included the
main ideas in my notes. But now when I try to take notes, I try to make predictions
before and during listening. I also know how to look for detailed information while
taking notes; I mean I use the strategy of selective attention a lot when trying to take
notes. Note-taking helps me concentrate more while listening, so I can monitor my
comprehension during the listening task. (Learner P23, intermediate)
It is difficult to use the note-taking strategy although it is a very useful strategy. Now
that I have learnt this strategy I know how to pay attention to signal words such as first,
next, or conjunctions while listening to get the specific information I want to. But in
order to be able to find the main idea and supporting details, I need to listen to the text
several times because I cannot use all the strategies together. Note-taking is difficult
especially when there are many unknown words in the text, because as I try to guess
their meanings, I lose my concentration so I cannot take notes properly. (Learner P48,
pre-intermediate)
Moreover, while almost all the pre-intermediate learners blamed their low
proficiency in English for their difficulty in applying certain strategies during
listening, few students in the intermediate group expressed this view, as illustrated in
the following extracts from the learner interviews:
I think because I do not know enough English words, I cannot use lexical inferencing
strategy well. I get distracted by so many unfamiliar words I hear. I wish I had better
English. (Learner P15, pre-intermediate)
I know that I have enough vocabulary to understand the main idea. I am also good at
grammar. Learning how to infer has made me feel more confident when I watch a
movie. I know I can use the strategy and guess the meaning of unknown words. I now
don’t need to read the subtitles to understand the details. (Learner P2, intermediate)
Discussion
The results of the study show that the strategy training had a positive impact on
learners’ listening performance. Learners who received strategy training out-
performed those who did not on the test of listening comprehension. Learners
themselves acknowledged this improvement. Further, more positive results were
obtained in the present study in contrast to previous studies which based their
strategy instruction on theoretical perspectives (McGruddy 1995), notions of expert
listeners (Thompson and Rubin 1996) and findings from first language strategy
instruction research (O’Malley et al. 1985). There are two possible explanations for
the improved listening performance of the EGs in this study.
First, the selection of target strategies for training was based on interviews with
the specific group of learners involved in the study. It is thus arguable that matching
strategies to the problems learners themselves identify can ensure that they are more
receptive to strategy training. This chimes with the assertion of Rubin et al. (2007:
159): ‘unless learners recognize that they have a problem and have the motivation to
The Language Learning Journal 13
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
solve it, providing them with more strategic knowledge will not be well received’.
Moreover, the strategy selection was based on an analysis of the learners’ current
strategic behaviour. This geared the instruction to the immediate needs of the
learners and not to successful strategies of highly proficient listeners or good
language learners, nor to the researchers’ perception of useful strategies. In this
sense, the core of the intervention was learner-centered, which is, according to
Graham and Macaro (2008), an important aspect of a successful strategy training
program.
Second, the degree of learner reflection involved in this study might account for
significant gains made by the EGs. Learners were involved in immediate
retrospections through keeping diaries, answering feedback surveys and participat-
ing in reflective discussions. Such reflective processes allowed the learners to report
on their mental processes when information was still directly accessible (Ericsson and
Simon 1987). Hence, a well-defined context was provided to encourage learners to
closely monitor and evaluate their listening, and to reflect on their performance (Goh
and Taib 2006). This could help learners become more aware of the strategies
working for them and in turn, this metacognitive awareness would facilitate use of
such strategies whenever they faced a challenging task (Chamot et al.1999).
Reflection was a feature of Goh and Taib’s (2006) study that reported some success
with their strategy training program.
Furthermore, the learners were explicitly taught to use the metacognitive strategy
of planning. It has been argued that using metacognitive strategies develops learners’
ability to regulate the listening process, thereby enhancing their listening
performance, and that addressing both cognitive and metacognitive strategies, as
in this study, underpins the success of strategy interventions. As Wenden (1987: 161)
points out: it is of limited use to train language learners to monitor their progress in
listening [metacognitive strategy] if they do not have a repertoire of cognitive
strategies necessary to deal with the difficulties they may perceive themselves to have.
A good strategy-training program should thus address both kinds of strategies
(Mendelsohn 1994).
The interview responses also showed that learners with a negative listening self-
concept (Joiner 1986 cited in Vogely 1998), that is, a low level of self-confidence in
listening, developed a more positive image of themselves after receiving training in
listening strategies. This suggests that instructing learners in listening strategies can
boost learners’ sense of self-efficacy. As noted by Bandura (1997), efficacy beliefs are
generated from success and failures when performing a task. The sense of success
and accomplishment that learners may have experienced as a result of strategy
training may have strengthened their belief in their listening efficacy.
As for the performance of pre-intermediate and intermediate learners on the
listening post-test, the intermediate learners outperformed the pre-intermediate
learners in both EGs. Similarly, in a study by Ross and Rost (1991), the results
showed that the success of the strategy training was related to proficiency level. That
is, higher-proficiency learners found it easier to use the listening strategy of inferring
than the lower proficiency learners did. Based on the interview responses, a possible
explanation for the successful performance of more proficient learners is that more
proficient learners could orchestrate metacognitive and cognitive strategies more
successfully to achieve comprehension (Vandergrift 2003). In fact, more proficient
learners were more skillful strategy users. That is, they could use the wider range of
linguistic and metacognitive knowledge available to them more efficiently along with
14 G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
the strategies they learned in the interventions. This enabled them to focus their
attention on the ongoing interpretation of the text and applying appropriate
strategies while listening. The interview responses also shows that the strategy
interventions under study helped more proficient learners in enriching and refining
their pre-existent strategies, which in turn resulted in more judicial use of both
cognitive and metacognitive strategies. It can also be argued that since more
proficient learners are more capable of monitoring and evaluating their strategy use
(Graham 1997), they could take more advantage of the strategy interventions under
study which were rich in providing learners with opportunities to monitor and
evaluate their listening ability. Evaluation and monitoring of strategy use was
encouraged through diary keeping, answering feedback surveys and class discus-
sions. Learners that were more proficient could benefit from the monitoring and
evaluating processes that were encouraged in these interventions to take control of
their own listening, identify any listening problems they might run to and think of
listening strategies to deal with the problems. This could result in learners’ ability to
regulate the listening process, thereby enhancing their listening performance.
The positive outcomes of both interventions and the interview responses that
showed learners evaluated the interventions positively lends empirical support to
principles of informed and explicit strategy training being advocated in most of the
literature pertinent to L2 listening strategy (Chamot et al. 1999; Cohen 1998;
Mendelsohn 2006). In addition, learners’ positive evaluations of some characteristic
features of each intervention suggest that both models offer potential for enhancing
learners’ listening ability. Learners in the EG1, for instance, believed that working
on linguistic cues benefitted them. This supports the notion that there is certainly a
need for developing both bottom-up and top-down strategies in learners, and that
the importance of helping learners perceive words and lexical segments accurately
should not be overlooked (Vandergrift 2007). Learners in the EG2 viewed the
scaffolding and feedback on strategy use as key to their success, thus confirming
Graham and Macaro (2008).
Conclusion
The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of two strategy interventions
on enhancing pre-intermediate and intermediate EFL learners’ listening performance
when engaged in unidirectional listening. This study also sought to investigate how
the strategy training programs were perceived by learners themselves. The results
indicate that both interventions were able to enhance learners’ level of achievement
in listening comprehension. In particular, the results showed that more proficient
learners could benefit more from the strategy interventions under study than less
proficient ones. Learners also held positive perceptions of the efficacy of strategy
training in enhancing their listening performance.
Despite the promising results of the study, a number of limitations need to be
highlighted. Firstly, to assess the listening performance of learners, a listening post-
test was used after the intervention. The similarity between the task types used in the
interventions and the post-test could bias the results in favour of the EGs. Therefore,
further study is required to assess learners’ performance using both a standardized
listening test and a listening achievement test. Secondly, the number of metacognitive
strategies explicitly taught in this study was limited. Future research needs to be
directed at training L2 learners in a greater variety of metacognitive strategies to
The Language Learning Journal 15
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
address a wider range of their needs. Thirdly, to gain a deeper insight into the
participants’ performance on the listening post-test, replication of this study is
desirable when the learners’ performance on post-test is investigated through such
retrospective methods as stimulated recall procedures.
References
Anderson, A. and T. Lynch. 1988. Listening. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Arnold, J. 2000. Seeing through listening comprehension exam anxiety. TESOL Quarterly 34,
no. 4: 777–86.
Bandura, A. 1997. Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: Freeman.
Berne, J.E. 2004. Listening comprehension: a review of the literature. The Modern Language
Journal 37, no. 4: 521–31.
Brown, J.D. 2001. Using Surveys in Language Programs. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Chamot, A.U., S. Barnhardt, P.B. El-Dinary and J. Robbins. 1999. The Learning Strategies
Handbook. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Chien, C. and L. Wei. 1998. The strategy use in listening comprehension for EFL learners in
Taiwan. RELC Journal 29, no. 1: 66–91.
Cohen, J. 1988. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences. Newbury Park, CA:
Sage.
Cohen, A.D. 1998. Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. London: Longman.
Field, J. 2000. Finding one’s way in the fog: listening strategies and second-language learners.
Modern English Teacher 9, no. 1: 29–34.
Field, J. 2008. Listening in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ericsson, K.A. and H.A. Simon. 1987. Verbal reports on thinking. In Introspection in Second
Language Research, ed. C. Faerch and G. Kasper, 24–54. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual
Matters.
Goh, C. 1998. How ESL learners with different listening abilities use comprehension strategies
and tactics. Language Teaching Research 2, no. 2: 124–47.
Goh, C. and Y. Taib. 2006. Metacognitive instruction in listening for young learners. English
Language Teaching 60, no. 3: 222–31.
Graham, S. 1997. Effective Language Learning: Positive Strategies for Advanced Level
Language Learning. London: Multilingual Matters.
Graham, S. 2003. Learner strategies and advance level listening comprehension. The Language
Learning Journal 28, no. 1: 64–9.
Graham, S. and E. Macaro. 2008. Strategy instruction for lower-level intermediate learners of
French. Language Learning 58, no. 4: 747–83.
Hasan, A.S. 2000. Learners’ perceptions of listening comprehension problems. Language,
Culture and Curriculum 13, no. 2: 137–53.
Herrington, R. 2002. Controlling the false discovery rate in multiple hypothesis testing. www.
unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2002/april02.rss.htm. Research and Statistical Support web
site. University of North Texas, Denton (accessed May 12, 2011).
Larson-Hall, J. 2010. A Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS.
New York: Routledge.
Macaro, E. 2001. Learning Strategies in Foreign and Second Language Classrooms. London:
Continuum.
Macaro, E., S. Graham and R. Vanderplank. 2007. A review of listening strategies: focus on
sources of knowledge and success. In Language Learning Strategies, ed. A.D. Cohen and
E. Macaro, 165–87. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McGruddy, R. 1995. The effect of listening comprehension strategy training with advanced
ESL students. PhD dissertation, Georgetown University, Washington.
Mendelsohn, D.J. 1994. Learning to Listen: A Strategy-Based Approach for Second Language
Learners. Carlsbad, CA: Dominie Press.
Mendelsohn, D.J. 2006. Learning how to listen using learning strategies. In Current Trends in
the Development and Teaching of the Four Skills, ed. E. Useo-Juan and A. Martinez-Flor,
75–89. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
16 G. Lotfi et al.
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
Nunan, D. 1989. Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
NVivo qualitative data analysis software (Version 8.0) [Computer software]. 2008. Melbourne,
Australia: QSR International.
O’Malley, J.M. 1987. The effects of training in the use of learning strategies on acquiring
English as a second language. In Learner Strategies in Language Learning, ed. A. Wenden
and J. Rubin, 133–45. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
O’Malley, J. and A.U. Chamot. 1990. Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O’Malley, J.M., A.U. Chamot and L. Kupper. 1989. Listening comprehension strategies in
second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics 10, no. 4: 418–37.
O’Malley, J.M., A.U. Chamot, G. Stewner-Manzanares, R.P. Russo and L. Kupper. 1985.
Learning strategy application with students of English as a second language. TESOL
Quarterly 19, no. 3: 557–80.
Ozeki, N. 2000. Listening Strategy Instruction for Female EFL College Students in Japan. PhD
dissertation, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Preliminary Test of English (PET) [Past examination papers]. 2007. Cambridge, UK: UCLES.
Ross, S. and M. Rost. 1991. Learner use of strategies in interaction. Typology and
teachability. Language Learning 41, no. 2: 235–73.
Rubin, J. 1995. An overview to guide for the teaching of the second language listening. In A
Guide for the Teaching of Second Language Listening, ed. D.J. Mendelsohn and J. Rubin,
7–13. San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.
Rubin, J., A.U. Chamot, V. Harris and N.J. Anderson. 2007. Intervening in the use of
strategies. In Language Learning Strategies, ed. A.D. Cohen and E. Macaro, 141–61.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thompson, I. and J. Rubin. 1996. Can strategy instruction improve listening comprehension?
Foreign Language Annals 29, no. 3: 331–42.
Vandergrift, L. 1997. The comprehension strategies of second language (French) listeners: a
descriptive study. Foreign Language Annals 30, no. 3: 387–409.
Vandergrift, L. 2003. Orchestrating strategy use: toward a model of the skilled second
language listener. Language Learning 53, no. 3: 463–96.
Vandergrift, L. 2004. Listening to learn or learn to listen? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
24: 3–25.
Vandergrift, L. 2006. Second language listening: listening ability or language proficiency? The
Modern Language Journal 90, no. 1: 6–18.
Vandergrift, L. 2007. Recent developments in second and foreign language listening
comprehension research. Language Teaching 40, no. 3: 191–210.
Vann, R.J. and R.G. Abraham. 1990. Strategies of unsuccessful language learners. TESOL
Quarterly 24, no. 2: 177–98.
Vogely, A.J. 1998. Listening comprehension anxiety: students’ reported sources and solutions.
Foreign Language Annals 31, no. 1: 67–80.
Wenden, A. 1987. Incorporating learner training in the classroom. In Learner Strategies in
Language Learning, ed. A. Wenden and J. Rubin, 159–68. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-
Hall.
White, C. 2008. Beliefs and good language learners. In Lessons from Good Language Learners,
ed. C. Griffiths, 121–31. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Language Learning Journal 17
Downloaded by [Ghazal Lotfi] at 07:17 24 October 2012
... A study involving listening instruction with university students is the one by Lotfia, et al. (2016). They conducted a study with 206 students divided into two levels of language proficiency (pre-intermediate and intermediate), on one hand, and into two experimental groups and one comparison group, on the other. ...
... They conducted a study with 206 students divided into two levels of language proficiency (pre-intermediate and intermediate), on one hand, and into two experimental groups and one comparison group, on the other. Apart from studying whether the designed listening strategy training enhanced EFL learners' listening performance, Lotfia, et al. (2016) intended to find out whether different approaches to listening strategy training had differential effects on listening performance, as well as how participants themselves evaluated the impact of strategy training on their listening performance. Results showed, first, that both experimental groups outperformed the comparison group on a listening achievement test, and, second, that the intermediate learners in the experimental groups outperformed the pre-intermediate ones. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present article reports on a study which explores the impact of listening strategies instruction on typical strategic behaviour. Participants were 38 Hong Kong students of Spanish divided into two groups: the experimental group, who were trained in listening strategies, and the control group, who presented similar level of Spanish, needs, educational and cultural background, but did not receive such a training. The listening strategies instruction consisted in integrating the development of listening strategies into a regular course of Spanish as a foreign language. Data referring to participants’ general strategic behaviour were gathered at two time points (before and after the instruction) from a researcher-designed self-report questionnaire which required students to express the frequency they employed every specific listening strategy. Results point out modest differences in general listening strategic behaviour after the strategies instruction in both groups.
... Some other studies dedicated to MSI in listening English learners indicated that MSI improved students' awareness of metacognitive strategies and their use (Lotfi, Maftoon & Birjandi, 2012;Rahimirad & Shams, 2014;Bozorgian, 2014;Mahdavi & Miri, 2016;Bozorgian & Alamdari, 2017). Explicit MSI in listening is also found to have a positive effect on learners' listening comprehension and their metacognitive strategy awareness and use (Khonmari & Ahmadi, 2015;Farhadi, Zoghi & Talbei, 2015;Al-Shammari, 2020). ...
Book
Full-text available
We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Deciding what to pay attention to, he may have neglected some of the upcoming information. It is worth noting that this may especially be true with the aural information stored in the short-term memory, which might decay before it is transferred to the long-term memory (Lotfi et al., 2012). As a result of the conflict between using the strategies consciously and paying attention to the upcoming information, the learner may face a temporary difficulty in applying the metacognitive strategies to process the aural tasks. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present paper explored the developmental trajectories related to an EFL learner's metacognitive strategy use as well as listening comprehension from a dynamic systems theory perspective. The general purpose of the study was to investigate how the EFL learner's listening comprehension evolves as a result of interacting with metacognitive strategies. To this end, an intermediate 15-year-old Iranian EFL learner's metacognitive strategy use and listening comprehension were traced and studied every three weeks during a 35-week span. The data was analyzed using the dynamic systems techniques including the moving min-max graph, moving window correlation, and Loess smoothing. Complementary data were collected using diaries and a MALQ questionnaire. Results were indicative of a non-linear developmental pattern in the learner's metacognitive strategy use and listening comprehension. The developmental patterns and dynamic correlation may add to our understanding of the interaction between the metacognitive strategy use and listening comprehension in a dynamic system. Our findings might possess implications at the level of theory construction and inform pedagogical practice concerning the development of the metacognitive strategy use and listening comprehension in EFL/ESL contexts. Findings could be applied to textbooks by including a dynamic perspective in listening strategy instruction and assessing the listening performance to cater to the learners' developmental learning needs.
... Estos resultados concuerdan con los alcanzados por Yeldham (2016) quien, tras aplicar la prueba ANOVA de medidas repetidas, obtuvo evidencias significativas de la mejora en comprensión auditiva del grupo que recibió instrucción en estrategias. Los resultados parecen confirmar, por tanto, nuestra hipótesis inicial de que la instrucción en estrategias repercute de manera positiva en la comprensión auditiva (Graham y Macaro 2008;Vandergrift y Tafaghodtari 2010;Lotfia, Maftoon y Birjand 2016). El hecho de que, en solamente tres meses de instrucción, se perciban indicios de progreso en la competencia en comprensión auditiva de los estudiantes del grupo experimental es muy relevante. ...
Article
Full-text available
El presente estudio se centra en investigar los efectos de la instrucción en estrategias sobre la competencia en comprensión auditiva de estudiantes hongkoneses de español. Los participantes en el estudio estaban organizados en dos grupos —el experimental y el de control— con idénticas características, necesidades, materiales y oportunidades de escucha. En el primero, se implementó un programa de instrucción centrado en el desarrollo de estrategias de aprendizaje para la comprensión auditiva. En el segundo, la comprensión auditiva se trabajó mediante audiciones y actividades de comprensión. En ambos casos, la competencia en comprensión auditiva se midió a través de cuatro pruebas de aprovechamiento. Los resultados sugieren que la instrucción en estrategias repercute positivamente en la competencia en comprensión auditiva de los estudiantes.
Article
Full-text available
Listening skill has been an under-emphasised skill in many English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms until recent decades. To keep up with the global advancement of technology, many studies on listening skills have integrated use of technology. In Malaysia, listening skills are also often neglected due to the highly examination-oriented education system. Since communication and technology competence are important 21st century skills, learners should be exposed to listening skills using no less than multimedia, especially when technology is inaccessible in rural parts of the country. This paper aims to examine the perceptions of teachers and pupils in using audio clips to develop listening comprehension skills in a rural primary school in Sarawak, East Malaysia, where digital facilities and internet connection are lacking in many parts of the state. Focus group interviews were conducted with two teachers and three ESL pupils after six weekly listening activities using audio clips based on the textbooks. Findings indicated that the teachers found audio clips to be useful and convenient, while pupils exhibited more interest and concentration during lessons. All respondents believed that audio clips could encourage the development of listening comprehension skills. Finally, it is recommended that audio clips could be expanded into a listening module that slowly moves towards authentic listening to equip learners with real-world skills and experiences.
Article
Full-text available
In this study, an attempt was made to examine the effects of previewing questions, repetition of input, and topic preparation on listening comprehension of Iranian learners of English. The study was conducted with 104 high school students in 3 experimental and one control groups. The participants in the previewing questions group read the comprehension questions before hearing the text and answering the questions. The topic preparation group took advantage of topic-related texts in Persian followed by previewing questions; then they listened to the texts and answered the questions. The repetition of input group had two hearings with previewing before each hearing that preceded answering the comprehension questions. The control group, however, only had one hearing before answering the questions. The results obtained from data analysis showed that the topic preparation group performed better than the other participating groups. The repetition group, in turn, did better than the previewing group. There was, however, no statistically significant difference between the previewing and repetition groups. Based on the results obtained, it can be argued that providing and/or activating background knowledge and repeating a listening task might facilitate listening comprehension in EFL classroom settings. The findings and pedagogical implications of the study are discussed in detail.
Article
Full-text available
Learning strategies play essential roles on students' understanding information and solving problems. Not being aware of learning strategies and how to use them may lead to students' failure. Since conducting research on learning strategies is difficult as they are not observable directly and selecting a reliable method is an issue, this paper aims to investigate the significant contribution to the development of learning strategies within Second Language Acquisition studies through reviewing three research-based related articles to adapt the findings to new research. Regarding different sections of this paper, it explains the learning strategies related to the new study and describes its pedagogical context. Moreover, it discusses the articles research strategies, research designs, methods of data collection and data analysis, validity, reliability and ethics separately. It also considers their shortcomings and suggests some solutions. Furthermore, conclusion and general implications for the new research project are discussed. Finally, it decides to conduct a case study design, employ mixed method research to collect more reliable data, apply action research and administer Strategy Inventory of Language Learning (SILL) questionnaire, use descriptive and content analysis and cross-check the findings in order to recognize students' learning strategies usage.
Book
O'Malley and Chamot review the literature on learning strategies, describe and classify learning strategies in second language learning, and discuss why learning is affected in a positive manner when such strategies are used. The authors present instructional models for learning-strategy training that teachers can apply to their own classes. The material is based on current research in second language acquisition and cognitive theory.
Article
The anxiety that accompanies the listening comprehension (LC) task is difficult to detect, but potentially one of the most debilitating, because in order to interact verbally the listener must first understand what is being said. With the instructional emphasis on input processing, LC anxiety merits closer examination. Research shows that in order to be effective listeners, learners must be able to actively and strategically participate in the listening process within a low-anxiety classroom environment. Recognizing the effect of anxiety on listening is the first step; the next is to uncover the sources of LC anxiety and propose solutions. This study presents the sources and solutions to LC anxiety as reported by foreign language students and discusses the pedagogical implications that relate to the results.
Article
This edited collection provides a comprehensive overview of the area of sucessful language learning strategies and reviews the literature and research on this subject to date. The book provides a reference base, addresses theoretical issues and considers pedagogical implications. It identifies gaps in our current understanding and suggests useful research initiatives and it considers how all of this relates to successful language learning by unique individuals in a variety of situations. The book is divided into 2 sections: the first deals with learner variables and has chapters on such topics as age, culture, motivation, personality and aptitude. The second covers learning variables such as vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, reading and listening. The writers include many well-established names such as Anna Chamot, Paul Nation and Andrew Cohen as well as some of the best representatives of the new generation of applied linguists.
Article
This book challenges the orthodox approach to the teaching of second language listening, which is based upon the asking and answering of comprehension questions. The book's central argument is that a preoccupation with the notion of 'comprehension' has led teachers to focus upon the product of listening, in the form of answers to questions, ignoring the listening process itself. The author provides an informed account of the psychological processes which make up the skill of listening, and analyses the characteristics of the speech signal from which listeners have to construct a message. Drawing upon this information, the book proposes a radical alternative to the comprehension approach and provides for intensive small-scale practice in aspects of listening that are perceptually or cognitively demanding for the learner. Listening in the Language Classroom was winner of the Ben Warren International Trust House Prize in 2008.