The effect of a strategy-based instruction programme on developing EFL listening comprehension skills
The main purpose of this study was to probe empirically the effects of three different approaches: strategy training, metacognitive instruction and pure exposure, on listening performance, attitudes, self-efficacy and on strategy knowledge, use and perceived value among student teachers of English in Egypt. Moreover, the interaction between these three treatments and students’ proficiency levels (high/low) was an item of interest. The results of the study consistently demonstrated that strategy training is better in promoting all the variables addressed in this study and compares favourably with metacognitive instruction and pure exposure. More importantly, these results showed that the strategy training approach holds great potential for developing students’ independence and that it moved them that much close towards autonomy. These positive results stand in a stark contrast to the inconclusive results of the earlier studies. Furthermore, the findings indicated that the metacognitive instruction group performed significantly better than the control group only in listening and attitudes. Finally, contrary to the widely held belief that prolonged exposure to aural input enhances listening, the results of the quantitative analysis indicated that students in the control group did not make improvement in any of the dependent variables. Perhaps more importantly, the qualitative analysis indicated that pure exposure to the aural input alone without instruction had a demoralising effect when students found that their understanding did not increase with practice. The findings suggest some potential benefits in the informed teaching of listening strategies as a means of helping learners improve their listening comprehension skills and promoting a sense of learner autonomy. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the time devoted to strategy training is well invested and consequently refute the argument that the risk of devoting time to strategy training is not worth taking. Implications of these findings for pedagogy, research and research methodology conclude the study.