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Title: EFL listening comprehension, cognitive and metacognitive strategies and working memory
Author: Dimassi, Abdelfattah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 7361
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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The purpose of this study is to compare the pedagogic efficiency of two methods for teaching listening comprehension: the cognitive strategy-based instruction method (CSBM) and the metacognitive strategy-based instruction method (MetSBM). Both instruction methods are inspired by cognitive linguistics. While CSBM is a traditional and well-established method for teaching listening comprehension in an EFL context, MetSBM is a relatively recent method. Additionally, this study aims to evaluate the way in which three co-variables – vocabulary knowledge, word recognition, and working memory – contribute to individual differences in listening comprehension. The subjects of this study, 44 female students studying on an intensive English programme at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were placed in two groups and taught a range of listening comprehension strategies, in accordance with the MSBM and the mainstream CSBM. In order to assess the pedagogical value of both methods, a listening comprehension test (LCT) was used as a pre- and post-test. An adapted Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire (MALQ) was additionally used to measure the degree of the participants’ metacognitive awareness in relation to their listening comprehension abilities. As for the co-variables, four pre- and post tests were conducted: the Vocabulary Knowledge Test (VKK1) and (VKK2) to measure the students’ vocabulary knowledge, the Aural Word Recognition (AWR) test to measure the participants’ ability to recognise words in a spoken passage, the Orthographic Word Recognition (OWR) test to gauge the students’ ability in recognising written words, and finally a Working Memory Span (WMS) test to measure the participants’ WM capacities while listening for comprehension. The results of the post LCT suggest that the newer MetSBM approach is more effective for teaching and learning how to listen for comprehension than the traditional CSBM. Similarly, MetSBM had a greater impact in raising metacognitive awareness among the participants of the experimental group in relation to their comprehension abilities. In total, my results show that six variables come into play in the experimental participants’ listening comprehension: Aural Word Recognition (AWR), MALQ Planning/Evaluation, Orthographic Word Recognition (OWR), MALQ Problem-solving, MALQ Directed Attention, and Working Memory (WM). With regard to the control participants, four variables were involved with their listening comprehension: Aural Word Recognition, Working Memory, decrease in MALQ Mental Translation, and MALQ Person Knowledge. In the light of these findings, a number of recommendations to teachers, material developers and researchers are provided. My study contributes to the field of listening comprehension in an Arab context, a setting that has so far received little attention. It reveals how listening comprehension has so far been treated in the English syllabuses directed at UAE learners. In addition, it equips English teachers with feasible ways of teaching listening comprehension more efficiently, thereby improving the learners’ ability to apply both cognitive and metacognitive strategies more easily. In addition, the present study helps material developers to include metacognitive strategies as well as word recognition based activities in their listening comprehension materials. Finally, and importantly, my study addresses some of the pitfalls of previous studies on teaching listening strategies within the framework of cognitive linguistics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: efl listening comprehension ; cognitive ; metacognitive ; working memory ; word recognition ; vocabulary knowledge