LINGUIST List 14.2660

Thu Oct 2 2003

Diss: Applied Ling: Hwang: 'Listening...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. kcjugong, Listening Comprehension Problems

Message 1: Listening Comprehension Problems

Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2003 09:30:11 +0000
From: kcjugong <>
Subject: Listening Comprehension Problems

Institution: University of Essex, UK
Program: Ph.D Program in English Language Teaching
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Myung-Hee Hwang 

Dissertation Title: Listening Comprehension Problems and Strategy Use
by Secondary Learners of English (FL) in Korea

Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics 

Subject Language: English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Steven McDonough
Dissertation Director 2: Philip Scholfield

Dissertation Abstract: 

The present study investigates the listening behaviour of Korean
learners of English with regard to their listening problems and
strategy use. Twenty learners at two levels of listening proficiency
participated in the study. They verbalised while listening to four
spoken texts of two levels of difficulty. This was followed by
retrospection of their previous verbal reports, the focus being on the
listening problems they encountered. A total of eleven types of
listening problems and twelve causes of the problems were identified
and classified for further analyses. Three null hypotheses were
formulated based on three research questions and were analysed both
quantitatively and qualitatively.

The main findings are as follows. First, Korean learners of English
experienced predominant problems at the perceptual stage. This was
especially noted in the less proficient ones and with more difficult
texts. The more proficient learners, because of their greater
linguistic proficiency, were better able to progress to a higher level
of processing, regardless of the difficulty of the text. The less
proficient learners could advance to a higher level of processing when
listening to easer texts. Second, the more proficient learners
accessed a wider variety of strategies in their repertoires, with more
success across the two types of texts. The less proficient learners'
strategy use was rather limited in its types when listening to more
difficult texts, but they could access their strategic resources with
more success when listening to easier texts. The learners' access to a
strategy repertoire and their successful utilisation of it depended on
how much successfully they comprehended the input. A unique finding of
this study is that learners' listening difficulties could be caused by
their use of strategy. This is in opposition to the once popular claim
that strategy is inherently good and that problematicity is a defining
feature of a strategy.
Based on the findings above, the following classroom applications are
suggested. The priority, in EFL classrooms, should be placed on
improving the learners' basic decoding skills rather than on teaching
strategy use. Input within the grasp of the learners' comprehension,
in the form of extended discourse spoken in natural oral English,
should be introduced. The implementation of pre-listening sessions is
also recommended.
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