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‘Second language listening comprehension in England: strategy instruction and teacher understanding’

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Research suggests that listening plays a fundamental role in the successful learning of a foreign language (Feyten, 1991). There is also evidence that while learners of MFL in England perceive listening as one of the most difficult skills in which to improve (Graham, 2006), the explicit teaching of listening strategies can significantly improve learners’ listening outcomes, as well as improving their self-efficacy for listening (Graham and Macaro, 2008). At the same time, however, commentators argue that teachers of foreign languages lack the necessary skills and understanding to develop effective listening in their learners, and that particularly in schools in England, listening takes the form of an activity to be ‘delivered’ rather than a skill to develop in its own right (Graham, 2006; Graham, Santos and Vanderplank, 2011 forthcoming). This situation may be exacerbated by textbooks that seem to present listening strategies in a superficial way and give teachers little guidance in how to teach them. This seminar presents some of the findings of two studies that explore these issues: listening strategy instruction and teachers’ conceptions of listening as a skill.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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