Strategies Employed By Iranian Students In Listening Education Essay

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PROGRESS: This study aimed to explore the strategies employed by Iranian EFL freshmen university students in Narrow and Extensive Listening. It also attempted to study the relationship between these students' listening proficiency levels and their learning style preferences. A mixed methodology research design was employed that involved 92 freshmen from a university in Iran who were randomly selected. These freshmen were grouped into three groups. Freshmen who scored between 68 and 96 were considered as Advanced (n=19), between 35 and 66 as Intermediate (n=39), and those who scored between 8 and 33 as Low-intermediate (n=34). The descriptive analysis of the Learning Style Preferences among these freshmen showed that all freshmen of these three English listening proficiency levels considered themselves as communicative learners. The descriptive analysis of the Listening Strategy Questionnaire revealed that all the freshmen employed meta-cognitive strategies more frequently and actively; followed by cognitive and socio-affective listening strategies in Narrow Listening whereas cognitive strategies employed more frequently and actively in Extensive Listening. The Pearson Correlation analysis indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between the listening strategies employed by advanced, intermediate, and lower-intermediate freshmen and their listening proficiency levels at p<0.01 and p<0.05 levels respectively as well as their learning style preferences at p<0.01 level. The results also indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between these freshmen's learning style preferences and their English listening proficiency levels at p<0.01 and p<0.05 respectively. Meanwhile, a group of 12 freshmen were purposefully selected based on their scores in the Oxford Placement Test administered. A semi-structured interview was then conducted from which six of them were identified for the think-aloud protocol to elicit the strategies they employed in Narrow and Extensive Listening. The data collected from the semi-structured interview and think-aloud protocols were analyzed using open, axial and selective-coding. Twelve major themes emerged from the data in Narrow Listening, three of the themes (attention, readiness, evaluating) described meta-cognitive, four themes (imitating and repeating, references, visualization, making notes while listening)described cognitive strategies and two themes (asking for help, self-talk) described socio-affective strategies while ten major themes emerged from Extensive Listening, one theme (concentration) described meta-cognitive strategies, four themes (imagination, inferences, learning contractions and note-taking) described cognitive strategies and one theme (expressing feeling) described socio-affective strategies. Meanwhile, several other strategies emerged from the interview data. Three themes emerged from the Narrow Listening: self-study, word-by-word and sentence-by-sentence attention, and change the speech rate and four themes emerged from the Extensive Listening: communication, skipping, listening while reading, and arranging a relaxed situation. These may be categorized under the same categories.

Abstrak

KEMAJUAN: Penyelidikan ini bertujuan untuk mengeksplorasi strategi yang digunakan oleh mahasiswi Iran tahun 1 dalam kemahiran mendengar Narrow dan Extensive. Kajan ini juga bertujuan… untuk melihat hubugan di antara tahap kemahiran mendengar dan gaya pembelajaran. Kajian berbentuk metodologi campur ini melibatkan 92 orang mahasiswi Iran tahun 1 di sebuah universiti di Iran yang dipilih secara rawak. Mahasiswi ini dibahagi kepada tiga kumpulan. Mereka yang memperolehi markah kemahiran mendengar antara 68 hingga 96 dikategorikan sebagai mahir (n=19); 35 hingga 66 sebagai pertengahan (n=39) dan 8 hingga 33 sebagai lemah (n=34). Dapatan analisis deskriptif mengenai gaya pembelajaran menunjukkan semua mahasiswi menganggap diri mereka sebagai pelajar komunikatif. Analisisa deskriptif soal selidik strategi pembelajaran menunjukkan ke semua mahasiswi menggunakan strategi meta-kognitif lebih kerap dan secara aktif; diikuti dengan strategi mendengar kognitif dan sosio-afektif dalam mendengar Narrow. Ini mahasiswi menggunakan Strategi kognitif dalam mendengar Extensive. Analisis korelasi Pearson menunjukkan bahawa terdapat hubungan positif yang signifikan antara strategi mendengar yang digunakan oleh mahasiswi mahir, pertengahan dan lemah dan peringkat kemahiran mendengar mereka pada tehap p<0.01 dan p<0.05 masing-masing serta keutamaan gaya belajar mereka di tahap p<0.01. Dapatan kajian juga menunjukkan bahawa terdapat hubungan positif yang signifikan gaya pembelajaran kemahiran dan tahap mendengar bahasa Inggeris mahasiswi pada tahap p<0.01 dan p<0.05 masing-masing. Sementara itu, sekumpulan 12 mahasiswi yang kemahiran mendengar dipilih secara purposif berdasarkan pencapaian Oxford Placement Test. Temu bual semi-berstruktur kemudian dilakukan dari mana enam daripada mereka dikenalpasti untuk protokol think-aloud untuk mendapatkan strategi yang mereka guna di dalam mendengar Narrow dan Extensive. Data yang diperolehi dari temu bual semi-struktur dan protocols think-aloud dianalisisa mempergunakan open, axial and selective-coding. Dua belas tema utama muncul dari data mendengar Narrow, tiga tema (attention, readiness, evaluating) menerangkan meta-kognitif, empat (imitating and repeating, references, visualization, making notes while listening) menggambarkan strategi kognitif dan dua tema (asking for help, self-talk) menggambarkan strategi sosio-afektif. Sepuluh tema utama muncul dari data mendengar Extensive, satu tema (concentration) menerangkan meta-kognitif, empat tema (imagination, inferences, learning contractions and note-taking) menerangkan kognitif strategi dan satu tema (expressing feeling) menerangkan sosio-afektif strategi. Sementara itu, beberapa strategi lain muncul dari data temu bual. Tiga tema muncul dari mendengar Narrow: self-study, word-by-word and sentence-by-sentence attention, and change the speech rate dan empat tema dari mendengar Extensive: communication, skipping, listening while reading, dan arranging a relaxed situation. Ini mungkin dikategorikan di bawah kategori yang sama.

Background of the study

In Iran, English language started to be taught and learned in schools from 1940s. However, Very little classroom time is devoted to teaching and learning listening skill. In addition, my observation through seven years experience of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) also shows that there is a complete neglect of listening comprehension in the teaching of English. English language is only used for reading and writing in many academic lessons. In Iranian school and even university English language classrooms, memorizing vocabularies, learning grammatical rules and translating written texts in their mother tongue are paid a lot of attention while listening and speaking skills are neglected. Thus, when listening to lectures, students fail to understand or comprehend what they hear. Even when listening to recorded speech on tapes, they do not comprehend. This is seen through the frequent requests to stop a recorded speech during listening to tapes activities.

Although some of the students have a large number of vocabulary items and very well versed in their knowledge of English grammar, they are not able to speak as well as they would be expected to. Another skill that these students lack is the listening skill. They do not know what to listen for or what strategies to employ to keep them listen well. In other words, they are not aware of appropriate strategies which may influence their English language listening proficiency levels. They are probably not aware of their learning styles as well. They do not know what type of learners they are hence they find learning in general and listening in particular more difficult. Learners with various learning styles learn in different ways when they utilize the same material and this can be because the embedded instruction is convenient for a certain type of learner but not for others (Chang 2005). It has been reported that students learn better if they are able to adopt and follow suitable strategies (Chang 2005).

Statement of the Problem

A study by Chien and Li Wei (1998), on EFL learners in Taiwan, reported that foreign language learners whose first language is based on a different phonological system, rhythm and tone, suffer from very poor listening skills when exposed to a foreign language. They suffer from not-understanding or miss-understanding what is being said to them. This is due to the differences in the sound system which affect the students' listening. Thus, They may not understand or misunderstand what they hear. Similarly, many Iranian students are observed to have difficulties in listening. The current study was prompted by a number of reasons. First, Iranian EFL learners find it difficult to comprehend conversations played on tapes for the first time, they usually keep asking for repetitions. Second, Iranian EFL learners often complain about forgetting what have been heard; that they cannot recall the words played on the tapes. In other words, they suffer from not-understanding what is taught in classrooms or when they listen to tapes, they cannot recognize the words they hear. Third, Iranian EFL learners in English language laboratories feel listening is boring and tiring. Forth, Iranian EFL students rarely practice the target language namely English language, they are learning. Fifth, when Iranian EFL students face with listening parts, they feel anxious and worried. Listening may produce and make Iranian EFL learners be anxious probably due to being under pressure of processing input very quickly. Sixth, in Iranian EFL English classes, many language activities are instructor-oriented. Students are passive in classrooms. Seventh, Iranian EFL learners in English classes feel fearful. They fear of being laughed at for errors that they may make. Eighth, besides the above-mentioned problems, Iranian EFL learners also find it difficult to follow their instructors' teaching styles. If learners are able to suit their learning styles to their teachers' teaching styles, learning will be enhanced. Therefore, there is a need to identify the learners' learning styles. Furthermore, no such studies, to the knowledge of the researcher have been conducted in the Iranian context. Hence, in order to overcome the above-mentioned reasons, there was a need to investigate the strategies employed by Iranian EFL freshman university students in Narrow Listening and Extensive Listening. This study also aimed to see whether there was a relationship between strategies employed by the learners and their English listening proficiency levels as well as their learning styles.

Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study was to identify the listening strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students of different English listening proficiency levels in Narrow Listening and Extensive Listening. This study also aimed to identify these students' learning style preferences. Another purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between the students' English listening proficiency levels and their learning style preferences and the strategies they employ in listening. Thus, the specific objectives of this study are to:

Identify Iranian (EFL) freshman university students' English listening proficiency levels and learning styles.

Identify and explore the strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students in Narrow (Repeated) and Extensive Listening.

Determine the relationship between listening strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students and their English listening proficiency levels.

Determine the relationship between listening strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students and their learning styles.

Explore how Iranian EFL freshman university students employ the listening strategies in Narrow and Extensive Listening.

METHODOLOGY

Design of the Study

The design of the current study is a mixed methodology in which the quantitative and qualitative methods are employed as a means of triangulation. The qualitative data was gathered through a semi-structured interview and think-aloud procedures while the quantitative data was gathered through tests and questionnaires.

Research Context, Samples and Participants

The data sources in this study were Iranian EFL freshman university students who have just enrolled at a large university in south of Esfahan, namely, University of Esfahan, in Iran. They are majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course at the Faculty of Foreign Languages. These freshman university students were selected as participants of this study because they are at the beginners' level of tertiary education in which they need to be relatively competent in English language particularly in listening skills. The total population (N) of the freshmen in this university is 120 from five classes. Their age ranges between eighteen to thirty-five years old. However, majority of these freshmen are 18 years old. For the purpose of this study, only female students aged 18 years old were randomly chosen. This is to avoid the possibility of students who have more exposure to the language due to their age differences as well as gender to have an impact on the findings of the study. In other words, perhaps older students have more exposure to the language and are more proficient in English or have higher level of listening skills. Therefore, the sample size (n) for this study was 92 freshmen female students aged 18 years old chosen based on the sample size table developed by Krejcie and Morgan (1970). Meanwhile, for the qualitative data, the population size (n) for the interview is purposefully determined that is 12 cases, four from each English listening proficiency levels, from which six cases were selected to take part in the think-aloud protocol, that is two students from each group of listening proficiency levels.

Research Instruments

Generally, six instruments were employed. First, the Oxford Placement Test (OPT) Second, listening tests for Narrow Listening and Extensive Listening, third, Listening Strategy Questionnaire, fourth, the Learning Style Questionnaire, fifth, semi-structured interview and sixth, the think-aloud method.

Data Analysis

Quantitative Data Analysis

The statistical analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 16.0 for Windows. The descriptive statistics (Means, Standard deviations and Frequencies) were presented. Then, analysis was made to see the relationship between the strategies employed by these freshmen and their listening proficiency levels as well as their learning style preferences.

Qualitative Data Analysis

In exploring the strategies employed by Iranian EFL freshman university students in Narrow Listening and Extensive Listening and how they employ these strategies a procedure for categorization of verbal data, was conducted. The interview and think-aloud transcripts were analyzed through three types of coding: open-coding, axial-coding, and selective-coding (Strauss and Corbin 1998; Richards 2003). The reliability (K) value was calculated by averaging the three values. The inter-rater reliability for the raters was found to be Kappa = 0.85.

Results

What are Iranian (EFL) freshman university students' English listening proficiency levels?

The following table shows the means and standard deviations of the learners' English listening proficiency scores. The advanced freshmen (19 students) scored between a minimum of 68 marks to maximum 0f 96. Their mean score was 79.21 with a standard deviation of 7.09. Meanwhile, the intermediate students scored between 35 to 66 marks and the mean score was 50.95 with a standard deviation of 9.46. Finally, the low proficiency students scored between 8 to 33 marks and their mean score was 23.47 with a standard deviation of 7.00. This shows that advanced and intermediate students may have employed more listening strategies due to their English listening proficiency levels.

Table Descriptive Statistics of Participants' Scores on the OPT

Listening Proficiency Levels

N

Mean Scores

SD

Min

max

Advanced

19

79.21

7.09

68

96

Intermediate

39

50.95

9.46

35

66

Lower-Intermediate

34

23.47

7.00

8

33

Note: N= Number of Participant; SD= Standard Deviation; Min= Minimum; Max= Maximum

Research Question 2

What are Iranian (EFL) freshman university students' learning styles?

A descriptive analysis was conducted by calculating the means and standard deviations for the types of learning style preferences. shows the descriptive statistics of the four types of learning style preferences among Iranian EFL freshman university students. Responses to the statements of Type 1 (communicative) had the highest mean score among advanced freshman students (M=3.38; SD=0.38), intermediate (M=3.29; SD=0.34) and lower-intermediate freshman students of this sample (M=3.35; SD=0.37) and responses to the type four that is analytical type of learning style preferences among advanced, intermediate, and lower-intermediate freshmen had the lowest mean scores of 3.19, 3.01, and 3.10 respectively with the standard deviations of 0.37, 0.39, and 0.41 respectively.

Table Students' Learning Style Preferences in Three Different Proficiency Levels

Proficiency Levels

Advanced

Intermediate

Lower-Intermediate

M

SD

M

SD

M

79.21

7.09

50.90

9.46

23.47

Learning Styles

M

SD

M

SD

M

Communicative

3.38

0.38

3.29

0.34

3.35

Concrete

3.31

0.33

3.24

0.34

3.21

Authority-Oriented

3.25

0.44

3.12

0.44

3.24

Analytical

3.19

0.37

3.01

0.39

3.10

Note: Lower-intermediate (n=34); Intermediate (n=39); Advanced (n=19); M=Mean; SD= Standard Deviation

Research Question 3

What are the listening strategies employed by Iranian EFL freshman university students in narrow listening?

Descriptive Statistics for Listening Strategies by category in Narrow Listening

indicates the descriptive statistics for listening strategies and students' use of individual strategies by category for the three English listening proficiency levels. The mean value for meta-cognitive strategies was 3.66 and a standard deviation of 0.40 among advanced freshmen; followed by the intermediate freshmen (M= 3.59; SD= 0.40) and the lower-intermediate freshmen (M=3.53; SD=0.41). This implies that the Iranian EFL freshman university students of three different listening proficiency groups employ meta-cognitive strategies more frequently.

Table Descriptive Statistics for Listening Strategies by Category in Narrow Listening

Listening Proficiency Levels

Listening Strategies

Mean

SD

N

Meta-Cognitive

3.66

0.40

Advanced

Cognitive

3.57

0.34

19

Socio-affective

3.46

0.40

Meta-Cognitive

3.59

0.40

Intermediate

Cognitive

3.47

0.42

39

Socio-affective

3.43

0.69

Meta-Cognitive

3.53

0.41

Lower-intermediate

Cognitive

3.42

0.45

34

Socio-affective

3.37

0.50

Note: SD=Standard Deviation; N=Number of Subjects

Research Question 4

What are the strategies employed by Iranian EFL freshman university students in Extensive Listening?

Descriptive Statistics for Listening Strategies by Category in Extensive Listening

The following Table displays the descriptive statistics for listening strategies and students' use of individual strategies by category (meta-cognitive, cognitive, and socio-affective) for the three English listening proficiency levels in Extensive Listening. The mean values for meta-cognitive strategies which let students learn through planning, monitoring, and evaluating were 3.57, 3.39, and 3.28 respectively with the standard deviations of 0.35, 0.45, and 0.61 among advanced, intermediate, and lower-intermediate freshman students respectively.

Table Descriptive Statistics for Listening Strategies by Category in Extensive Listening

Listening Proficiency Levels

Listening Strategies

Mean

SD

Rank Order

N

Meta-Cognitive

3.57

0.35

1

Advanced

Cognitive

3.59

0.44

2

19

Socio-affective

3.36

0.38

3

Meta-Cognitive

3.39

0.45

1

Intermediate

Cognitive

3.48

0.43

2

39

Socio-affective

3.30

0.64

3

Meta-Cognitive

3.28

0.54

1

Lower-intermediate

Cognitive

3.38

0.49

2

34

Socio-affective

3.22

0.61

3

Note: N= Number of Subjects

For cognitive strategies allowing the students to rehearse and practice the materials that they have learned (for example repetitions, copying, and highlighting), organized (for example grouping and outlining), and inferred, shows that the mean was high (M= 3.59 and SD= 0.44) among advanced students followed by the intermediate freshmen with the mean value of 3.48 and the standard deviation of 0.43. These figures for the cognitive strategies among lower-intermediate were 3.38 and 0.49 for the mean and standard deviation respectively. For socio-affective listening strategies which let learners to cooperate, ask questions, and self-talk, the values were (M= 3.36 and SD= 0.38) followed by the mean value of 3.30 and a standard deviation of 0.64 among intermediate freshmen. These figures for socio-affective strategies among lower-intermediate freshman students were 3.22 and 0.61 for the mean and standard deviation respectively.

Research Question 5

Is there a relationship between strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students and their learning style preferences?

The Analysis of the Relationship between Strategies Employed in Narrow Listening and Learning Style Preferences

reveals that among advanced freshmen there was a statistically moderate positive relationship between the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles with correlation coefficient ( r) of 0.683 (r2= .46) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles accounts for 46% of the variation. also reveals that among intermediate freshmen there was a statistically moderate positive relationship between the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles with correlation coefficient ( r) of 0.505 (r2= .25) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles accounts for 25% of the variation.

Table Pearson Correlation Matrix (Narrow Listening)

Learning Style Preferences

Listening Strategies

Advanced Group

PC (r)

0.683**

Sig.

0.001

r2

0.4624

N

19

Intermediate Group

PC (r)

0.505**

Sig.

0.001

r2

0.25

N

39

Lower-Intermediate Group

PC (r)

0.772**

Sig.

0.000

r2

0.5929

N

34

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

reveals that among lower-intermediate freshmen there was a statistically strong positive relationship between the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles with correlation coefficient ( r) of 0.772 (r2= .59) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles accounts for 59% of the variation.

The Analysis of the relationship between Strategies Employed in Extensive Listening and Learning Style Preferences

reveals that among advanced freshmen there was a statistically strong positive relationship between the overall listening strategies employed in Extensive Listening and their overall learning styles with correlation coefficient (r) of 0.709 (r2=.46) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies employed in Extensive Listening by advanced freshmen in Extensive Listening and the overall learning styles accounts for 49% of the variation.

reveals that among intermediate freshmen there was a statistically moderate positive relationship between the overall listening strategies employed in extensive listening and the overall learning styles with correlation coefficient ( r) of 0.510 (r2= .26) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles accounts for 26% of the variation.

reveals that there was a statistically moderate positive relationship between the overall listening strategies employed in extensive listening and the overall learning styles with correlation coefficient ( r) of 0.683 (r2= .46) which was significant at the 0.01 level. The correlation coefficient of the overall listening strategies and the overall learning styles accounts for 46% of the variation.

Table Pearson Correlation Matrix (Extensive Listening)

Learning Style Preferences

Listening Strategies

Advanced Group

PC (r)

0.709**

Sig.

0.001

r2

0.49

N

19

Intermediate Group

PC (r)

0.510**

Sig.

0.001

r2

0.2601

N

39

Lower-Intermediate Group

PC (r)

0.683**

Sig.

0.000

r2

0.4624

N

34

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

Research Question 6

Is there a relationship between listening strategies employed by Iranian (EFL) freshman university students in Narrow Listening and their English listening proficiency levels?

The Analysis of the Relationship between Strategies Employed in Narrow Listening and Listening Proficiency Levels

The results in indicate that among advanced freshmen (n=19) listening proficiency positively correlated with both meta-cognitive (r= 0.566, p<0.05, r2=.31) and socio-affective listening strategies (r=0.464, p<0.05, r2=.21). The correlation coefficient of the listening proficiency, meta-cognitive and socio-affective listening strategies accounts for 31% and 21% of the variations respectively. This means that advanced freshman students employ planning strategies of managing attention, directed and selective attention, and advanced organization.

Among intermediate freshman students (n=39), there was a significantly positive relationship between the listening proficiency and socio-affective listening strategies. Among lower-intermediate freshman students (n=39), listening proficiency positively correlated with both meta-cognitive (r=0.433, p<0.05, r2=.18) and cognitive listening strategies (r= 0.340, p<0.05, r2=.11).

In general, the results showed that listening proficiency levels were significantly correlated with total listening strategies among advanced freshmen (r=0.579, p<0.01, r2=.32), intermediate freshmen (r=0.321, p<0.05, r2=.10), and lower-intermediate (r=0.385, p<0.05, r2=.14).

Table Pearson Correlation Matrix (Narrow Listening)

Listening Proficiency Levels (M &SD)

Listening Strategy Use

Pearson Correlation (r)

R2

Sig.

N

Advanced

Mean=79.21 SD=7.09

Meta-cognitive

0.566*

0.3136

0.011

19

Cognitive

0.448

0.1936

0.054

Socio-affective

0.464*

0.2116

0.045

Total listening Strategies

0.579**

0.3249

0.009

Intermediate

Mean=50.95

SD=9.46

39

Meta-cognitive

0.049

0

0.768

Cognitive

0.145

0.0196

0.379

Socio-affective

0.415**

0.1681

0.009

Total listening Strategies

0.321*

0.1024

0.046

Lower-Intermediate

Mean=22.88

SD=7.26

34

Meta-cognitive

0.433*

0.1849

0.011

Cognitive

0.340*

0.1156

0.049

Socio-affective

0.197

0.0361

0.264

Total listening Strategies

0.385*

0.1444

0.024

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Note: N= Number of Participants; M=Mean; SD=Standard Deviation

The Analysis of the relationship between Listening Strategy Employed in Extensive Listening and Listening Proficiency Levels

The results in indicate that among advanced freshman students (n=19), there was a statistically significant positive correlation between listening proficiency and socio-affective listening strategies (r= 0.507, p<0.05, r2=.25) and the correlation coefficient of the listening proficiency and socio-affective listening strategies accounts for 25% of the variation.

Also among intermediate freshmen (39), indicate that there was a statistically significant positive correlation between listening proficiency and socio-affective listening strategies (r= 0.365, p<0.05, r2=.11). Among lower-intermediate freshman students (n=34), listening proficiency positively correlated with cognitive (r=0.351, p<0.05, r2=. 12). In general, the results indicated that listening proficiency levels (scores) were significantly correlated with total listening strategies among advanced freshmen (r=0.566, p<0.01, r2=.31), intermediate freshmen (r=0.343, p<0.05, r2=.11), and lower-intermediate (r=0.350, p<0.05, r2=.12).

Table Pearson Correlation Matrix (Extensive Listening)

Listening Proficiency Levels (M &SD)

Listening Strategy Use

Pearson Correlation (r)

R2

Sig.

N

Advanced

Mean=79.21

SD=7.09

Meta-cognitive

0.452

0.2025

0.052

19

Cognitive

0.397

0.1521

0.093

Socio-affective

0.507*

0.25

0.027

Total listening Strategies

0.566*

0.3136

0.012

Intermediate

Mean=50.95

SD=9.46

39

Meta-cognitive

0.182

0.0324

0.268

Cognitive

0.217

0.0441

0.185

Socio-affective

0.365*

0.1296

0.022

Total listening Strategies

0.343*

0.1156

0.032

Lower-Intermediate

Mean=22.88

SD=7.26

34

Meta-cognitive

0.306

0.09

0.084

Cognitive

0.351*

0.1225

0.045

Socio-affective

0.154

0.0225

0.393

Total listening Strategies

0.350*

0.1225

0.046

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Note: N= Number of Participants; M=Mean; SD=Standard Deviation

Research Question 7

Is there a relationship between Iranian (EFL) freshman university students' English listening proficiency levels and their learning styles?

The Analysis of the Relationship between Listening Proficiency Levels and Learning Style Preferences

shows that among advanced freshman university students (n=19), listening proficiency scores were positively associated with communicative (r=0.742, p<0.01), concrete (r=0.660, p<0.01), authority-oriented (r=0.668, p<0.01) and analytical (r=0.562, p<0.05) types of learning styles.

Among intermediate freshmen (n=39), listening proficiency scores were also significantly associated with communicative (r=0.536, p<0.01), concrete (r=0.524, p<0.05), authority-oriented (r=0.401, p<0.05) and analytical (r=0.359, p<0.05) types of learning styles.

Among lower-intermediate freshman university students (n=34), the listening proficiency scores were also positively associated with communicative, concrete, and analytical types of learning styles. In general, demonstrates that there was a statistically moderate positive relationship between the overall learning style preferences and listening proficiency levels among advanced freshmen (r=0.707, p<0.01, r2= .49), intermediate freshmen (r= 0.498, p<0.01, r2= .24), and lower-intermediate freshmen (r= 0.398, p<0.05, r2= .15).

Table Relationship between Listening Proficiency Levels and Learning Style Preferences

Listening Proficiency Levels &Scores

Learning Style Preferences

Pearson Correlation (r)

R2

Sig.

N

Advanced

Mean=79.21

SD=7.09

Communicative

0.742**

0.54.76

0.000

19

Concrete

0.660**

0.43.56

0.002

Authority-Oriented

0.668**

0.43.56

0.002

Analytical

0.562*

0.31.36

0.012

Total Learning Style Preferences

0.707**

0.49

0.001

Intermediate

Mean=50.95

SD=9.46

39

Communicative

0.536**

0.28.09

0.000

Concrete

0.524*

0.27.04

0.001

Authority-Oriented

0.401*

0.16

0.011

Analytical

0.359*

0.12.25

0.025

Total Learning Style Preferences

0.498**

0.24

0.001

Lower-Intermediate

Mean=23.47

SD=7.00

34

Communicative

0.381*

14.44%

0.026

Concrete

0.409*

16%

0.016

Authority-Oriented

0.252

06.25%

0.150

Analytical

402*

0.16%

0.018

Total Learning Style Preferences

0.398*

15.21%

0.020

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Note: N=Number of Student

*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Qualitative Data Analysis

Research Question 8

How do Iranian (EFL) freshman university students employ the listening strategies in Narrow Listening?

Strategies Reported in Narrow Listening (Semi-structured Interview)

Twelve major themes emerged from the interview data in Narrow Listening, three of the themes (attention, readiness, evaluating) described meta-cognitive, four themes (imitating and repeating, references, visualization, and making notes while listening) described cognitive strategies and two themes (asking for help, self-talk) described socio-affective strategies. Meanwhile, some additional strategies were also emerged in the interviews: self-study, word-by-word and sentence by sentence attention, and change the speech rate. These may be categorized under the same categories.

Strategies Reported through Think-aloud Sessions in Narrow Listening

The transcriptions of think-aloud protocols illustrate how these freshmen employed these strategies while they were engaged in Narrow Listening. All freshmen of these think-aloud protocols were engaged in thinking about the input they have presumably understood. By using top-down and bottom-up strategies, they elaborated on what they heard in the following ways. The analysis of the think-aloud data generated several major themes, the themes attention/concentration, evaluation/checking described meta-cognitive strategies, other themes Inferencing through Word, Voice, Background noise described cognitive strategies.

Research Question 9

How do Iranian (EFL) freshman university students employ the listening strategies in Extensive Listening?

Strategies Reported in Extensive Listening (Semi-structured Interview)

The analysis of the interviewees' interview data generated several major themes, the theme concentration described meta-cognitive strategies, four themes (imagination, inferences, learning contractions, and note-taking) described cognitive strategies and one theme (expressing feelings) described socio-affective strategies. Four other themes (communication, skipping, listening while reading, and arranging relaxed situation) were also gathered from the data.

Strategies Reported through Think-aloud Method in Extensive Listening

The analysis of the think-aloud data in Extensive Listening generated 2 major themes, one theme attention/concentration described meta-cognitive strategies, the themes Inferencing/Guessing, Using cues and background noise described cognitive strategies.

Implication

The findings of this study can serve as a strategy-based instruction for lecturers who want to teach their students listening strategies to be used in Narrow Listening and Extensive Listening. This study implies that lectures should make their students aware of both top-down strategies and bottom-up strategies. In Narrow Listening, learners should be taught to learn how to develop both bottom-up and top-down processing to understand a spoken text whereas in Extensive Listening, learners should be taught to develop a top-down and global understanding of a spoken text. In Extensive Listening students should be aware of micro-skills and macro-skills of listening. They should be able to listen for gist, main ideas, and making inferences whereas in Narrow Listening, learners should be taught to be able to recognize phonological, morphological elements, recognizing words, phrases, and sentences. In addition, lectures should make their students to identify their own learning styles in order to help them become self-aware learners. Lecturers should also incorporate learning styles into learning strategy instruction.

Conclusion

The findings of this study revealed that Iranian EFL freshman university students of three different groups (advanced, intermediate, and lower-intermediate) are able to employ meta-cognitive strategies more frequently and actively followed by cognitive and socio-affective listening strategies in Narrow Listening. In other words, these freshmen are able to employ a great number of different listening strategies to comprehend a listening text whereas cognitive listening strategies were greatly favored in Extensive Listening. As the findings of this study indicated that there was a positive relationship between listening proficiency and listening strategies employed by them; these skills should be developed and inculcated as early as possible in the teaching and learning processes for university learners to ensure that they will succeed at tertiary education. In terms of learning styles, freshmen of this sample considered themselves as communicative learners. More importantly, the findings of this study revealed that there was a statistically moderate significant positive association between listening strategies and learning style preferences of these three English listening proficiency groups. Learners' meta-cognitive processing is related to effective learning and is applicable to all learning contexts. Learning style preferences have a significant effect on the listening strategies employed by the students. The findings showed that when the students are aware of their own learning styles, they employ the appropriate strategies to improve their learning in general and listening in particular. Being aware of listening strategies, students can adjust themselves with their own types of learning styles and learn in an effective way. The data collected from semi-structured interview and think-aloud protocols also revealed that, during Extensive Listening, listeners try to develop their top-down strategies and rely on bottom-up strategies as they needed to get the main ideas and making inferences whereas in Narrow Listening they employ both bottom-up and top-down strategies to understand all the details.

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