Role of Listening in Language Learning Process

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Undoubtedly in language acquisition and language learning process, listening plays a vital role (Brett, 1997), and it could be considered as the “most fundamental skill” (Oxford, 1993). Accordingly, improving listening skills is crucial for language learners. Frequent use of listening as a basic medium of communication compared to other language skills, is one of the most considerable reasons for emphasizing listening in the classroom and in the process of language acquisition. It is considerable that listening is not only important for learning second language but also it is remarkably important to facilitate the acquisition of other language skills (Vandergrift, 1999).

For a long time language teachers used audio-materials as the main format for teaching listening. Then the researchers considered the fact that listening is a process which involves not only auditory aspect but also visual and attention processes. Many studies which were conducted based on this belief showed that movies and video materials can help students understand the content of the materials as well as help the teacher present language modules (Hill, 1991). Video has the power to make listening more authentic by presenting context, discourse, paralinguistic features, and culture (Coniam, 2001).

However, despite the importance of nonverbal information in listening comprehension, comparative studies of video-audio-mediated listening comprehension tests have shown contradictory results. On the other hand most of the studies in this area compared only the effectiveness of video-audio mediated teaching of listening. They failed to dig dipper and search for the reasons of better results of learning through video-audio mediated teaching or testing listening (Baltova, 1994; Basal, Gulozer, and Demir, 2015; Brett, 1997; Coniam, 2001; Cubilo & Winke, 2013; Gruba, 1993; Gruba, 1997; Meyer, 1997; Sueyoshi and Hardison, 2005; Suvorov, 2009; Suvorov, 2013).

Some other studies just used one text type in their research for example monologue, conversation or lecture which could affect their results (Basal, Guluzer, & Demir, 2015; Conaim, 2012; Ismaili, 2013; Rahmatian, 2011). The other shortcoming in some of the studies in this field could be using just one type of test item, and mostly multiple choice items (Batty, 2014; Basal, Guluzer, & Demir, 2015; Conaim, 2001; Rahmatian, 2011; Wootipong, 2014). They barely investigated how video affects other listening-related tasks, such as creating coherent and accurate essays in response to the listening material (Cubilo, & Winke, 2013). We should consider the point that in academic situations responding to what is listened and being seen is of a great importance (weigle, 2004). Consequently evaluating quality of writing in comparison of video- and audio- mediated listening is needed.

In this study I try to overcome these shortcomings and compare the students’ comprehension when they are exposed to only audio texts with video-audio material through writing assignments, and search for their perspectives towards video- and audio- listening practice.

Recently there is a growing tendency to use video-mediated tests in foreign language listening comprehension; Batty (2014) conducted a study which did not rely on analysis of raw scores but compared data from identical, counter-balanced multiple-choice listening test froms employing three text types (monologue, conversation, and lecture) administered to 164 university students of English in Japan. No interactions between format and text-type, or format and proficiency level, was observed (batty, 2014).

In a recent study, redefining the L2 listening construct within an integrated writing task has been considered and the impacts of visual-cue interpretation and note-taking was investigated. The study concluded that visual cues and video text has a considerable effect on participants’ better understanding (Cubilo, & Winke, 2013). In a review of a large number of previous studies on the effect of including multimedia in recorded L1 science lessons, Meyer (1997) concluded that, adding visual information increased comprehension especially when it contains explanation and specially for students with little prior knowledge.

Ginthur (2002) analysed the impact of still visuals on L2 listening comprehen¬sion tests in a study conducted on TOEFL. There was no significant difference between prescence or absence of visuals, but visuals were significantly related with text type although effect sizes were very small. Ginther interpreted that when the content of the verbal channel is difficult, examinees may be distracted by context-setting visuals, such as pictures of the set¬ting, while content-supporting visuals, such as charts and graphs, enhance understanding.

Whereas Baltova’s (1994) and Sueyoshi and Hardison’s (2005) participants reported a preference for the video-mediated test, the participants in Coniam’s (2001) and Suvorov’s (2009) studies showed a preference for audio-mediated text, complain¬ing that it was distracting in the case of Coniam’s study. Brett (1997) found that partici¬pants preferred multimedia presentations to either audio or video passages, and the preferences of Hernandez’s (2004) participants are difficult to interpret, as the item wording in her instrument is ambiguous.

In another study conducted by Ginther (2002), nested cross-over design (participants nested in proficiency, level and form) was used to examine the effects of visual condition (present or absent), type of stimuli (dialogues/short conversations, academic discussions and mini-talks) and language proficiency (high or low) on performance on CBT (Computer-based Test) listening comprehension items. The interaction between types of stimuli by visual condition although weak, was perhaps the most interesting, and indicated that the presence of visuals results in facilitation of performance when the visuals bear information that complements the audio portion of the stimulus.

In 2008, Wagner conducted a research in which eight advanced ESL learners, in which they were asked to verbalize aloud their thought processes while taking a video listening test in order to realize how they attend to and utilize the nonverbal information found in a video text. The results showed that individual test-takers varied in their ability to utilize the nonverbal information both in making meaning out of the spoken text and answering the comprehension items associated with the text.

The effects of using movies in the EFL classroom has been investigated in another study. The results of the study have shown that there are significant differences between experimental and control group of students on integrated skills and using video, incorporated in the teaching material. The study concluded that movies attract students’ attention, present language in a more natural way found in course-books and play the role of visual context aids which help students’ comprehension and improve their learning skills (Ismaili, 2013).

Wootipong (2014) used a lesson plan, some English comprehension tests and a questionnaire, to investigate students’ attitudes towards the use of video-materials in teaching listening skills and evaluate developing the listening skills of university students with the use of video materials. The result indicated that 1) the students’ English listening comprehension ability increased significantly after learning with videos and 2) students had positive attitudes towards using videos in teaching listening skills.Contrary results were obtained from the resurch conducted by Basal, Gulozer, and Demir (2015).

The quantitative results of this study showed significantly higher success for audio only test takers. Gruba (1993) developed a video-mediated English listening based on a video-recorded lecture and administered it and an audio-only version to two intact classes of ESL student studying at a US university, findings showed no difference in scores. He also conducted a research in 1997 and declared that most research com-paring video-mediated to audio-mediated tests found no difference between the formats. No difference between the comprehension of these two types have been indicated in some other studies as well (e.g., Baltova, 1994; Coniam, 2001; Cubilo & Winke, 2013; Suvorov, 2013; Suvorov, 2009)


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Role of Listening in Language Learning Process. (2021, Apr 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/role-of-listening-in-language-learning-process/



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