Effects of Skills-Based Versus Whole Language Approach on the Comprehension of EFL Students with Low and High Listening Ability Levels
Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), USA, 2000
17 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013
Date Written: 2000
The purpose of this study was to determine the relative impact of skills-based and whole language approaches on the listening comprehension of English as a foreign language (EFL) students with low and high listening ability levels. The subjects for the study were 96 pretested EFL students, divided into two treatment groups for 15 weeks. In the skills-based group, listening was taught as a set of discrete skills. In the whole language group, students spoke, listened, and wrote to one another about topics of their own choice and read about topics of interest to them. All subjects were posttested on a listening comprehension test of the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Statistical analyses of the listening comprehension scores revealed that training in listening skills was somewhat effective, but insufficient for developing the listening comprehension of low ability listeners, and that the whole language approach was effective only for high ability listeners. Findings suggest that instruction in listening subskills does not automatically lead to the improvement of listening comprehension, and that the whole language approach to teaching listening cannot work without basic skills. It is concluded that these two methods are not mutually exclusive but tend to complement one another. The goal should be to achieve a balance between the two approaches in heterogeneous classrooms. This would also enable the teacher to move from more closely-controlled exercises to more student-directed activities.
Keywords: Basic Skills; Listening Comprehension; Listening Skills; Participant Observation; Listening Skills;Teaching Methods; Whole Language Approach
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