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Title: Towards the learning of listener responses in the Japanese EFL context
Author: Cutrone, Pino
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 3702
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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This research project was divided into two phases of examination of Japanese EFL learners' listening behaviour: (1) a cross-sectional analysis and (2) a longitudinal analysis. In the first part, listenership (consisting of backchannel feedback) and its effect on intercultural communication were investigated in 30 dyadic conversations in English between Japanese and American participants. The findings of this aspect of the study demonstrate several differences in how members of each culture used backchannels in terms of frequency, variability, placement and function. This study found evidence supporting the hypothesis that backchannel conventions which are not shared between cultures contribute to negative perceptions and stereotyping. The second part of this study examined the effect of explicit and implicit instruction on Japanese EFL learners' listening behaviour over the course of 16 weeks. The 30 university student participants were divided into three groups and given tests at three points in time: at the beginning, at the eight-week mark, and at the 16-week mark of this study. Each of these tests involved participating in an intercultural conversation, completing a questionnaire and being interviewed. In one group, the explanations of rules were given explicitly by a teacher; in the second, implicit instruction evolved mainly from peer group discussions and conversational practice with native English speakers. The third group was a control. The findings demonstrate that both explicit and implicit methods had a positive effect as both experimental groups displayed noticeable improvements in many areas of listening behaviour. The findings also show that the Explicit group generally outperformed the Implicit group, and the improvements achieved by the Explicit group also appeared to be more sustainable over time. These findings provide support for the explicit teaching of listening behaviour in the Japanese EFL context. Further implications related to research methodology, theory and practical applications were also explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available