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The role of the teacher and the learner in the development of strategies and sub-skills to facilitate and enhance listening comprehension by Nicola Holmes
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The Role of Learner Training

Nunan comments that:

'Those involved in learner-centred curriculum development, and learner strategy research and teaching suggest that language programs should have twin goals, one set relating to the development of skills and the other set relating -to the development of learning skills and skills in learning how to learn'. (Nunan, 1998, p187)

Wenden underlines the importance of the teacher making explicit his/her reasons for doing something in a specific manner, so that any training in strategies be informed and not blind, students then being more likely to internalise and to continue to apply these strategies to further activities, both inside and outside of the classroom. (Wenden and Rubin, l9&l, p 159-167)

Thus, any learner training to be incorporated into a language course needs to be as overt as possible, with a maximum of discussion and reflection, possibly by means of the kinds of activities proposed by Ellis and Sinclair (1989), or the performance checklist proposed by Vandergrift, which incorporates a strong element of self-reflection on the part of the learner (Vanderg rift, 1999, pp 175 -175). Above all, in my own experience, learner training needs to be 'sold' to students in an open, non-threatening manner, so that, as Field comments in relation to the formation and testing of hypotheses when listening, 'the learners come-to accept the process as normal and not as a mark of their inadequacy', (Field, 1998, p 116), the latter being a belief which I have observed to be quite prevalent amongst my own students.

Thus, in conclusion, a challenge now faces the language teacher with regard to the teaching of listening skills and strategies, a challenge which could entail a radical shift in habitual patterns of lesson and task design, but which could also reap its rewards in genuine, tangible progress being made on the part of learners as they become more confident and more proficient as listeners in the target language.



Anderson, A and T Lynch:
Listening, (OUP, 1988)

Brown, G and G Yule:
Teaching the Spoken Language, (CUP, 1985)

Ellis, G and B. Sinclair
Learning to Learn English - A Course in Learner Training, (CUP, 1989)

Field, J:
'Skills and strategies: towards a new methodology for listening', ELF Journal, Vol 52/2, (CUP, April 1998)

Nunan, D:
Language Teaching Methodology - A Textbook for Teachers, (Prentice Ha 11,1998)

Richards, J:
The Context of Language Teaching, (CUP, 1985)

Rost, M:
Listening in Language Learning, (Longman, 1990)

Sheerin, 5:
'Listening comprehension: teaching or testing?, ELT Journal, Vol 41/2, (CUP, April, 1987)

Ur, P:
Teaching Listening Comprehension, (CUP, 1984)

Vandergrift, L:
'Facilitating second language listening comprehension: acquiring successful strategies', ELF Journal, Vol 55/5, (CUP, July 1999)

Wenden, A:
'Incorporating Learner Training in the Classroom', in Wenden, A and J Rubin: Learner Strategies in Language Learning, (Prentice Hall, 1987)

White, G:
Listening, (CUP, 1998)

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