A Cognitive Approach to the Teaching of College English Listening Comprehension

Title A Cognitive Approach to the Teaching of College English Listening Comprehension
Abstract

IT has been widely acknowledged that second language (L2) listening comprehension is a complex process, and IT is crucial in the development of second language competence. The present thesis attempts to explore college students’ listening comprehension difficulties and their use of strategies in listening comprehension, so as to provide suggestions for how to improve English listening teaching in China.Due to the fact that not enough attention is paid to listening course in the English teaching programs in Chinese colleges, which results in the current situation that many students are unqualified in listening skills, which in turn seriously influences the effect of the listening teaching. Guided by Peter Skehan’s information processing theory, the author of this thesis analyzed the different views on listening comprehension and the different teaching approaches of listening adopted by the different schools. The author accepted the Three-phase Model of listening advanced by Anderson. Under the above framework, the listening comprehension problems were explored in the cognitive perspective and cognitive listening strategy training was conducted to improve the students’listening.Language learning is a complex process, which concerns input, cognition, comprehension, memorization and practice, etc. A significant amount of research has proved that schema is the knowledge framework and psychological construction in human mind and plays an important role in the process of language cognition. At the same time, the research has revealed the role of schema in listening comprehension; therefore many scholars have applied IT to listening teaching. Listening comprehension is just a kind of active process, which concerns predicting, inferring, confirming, and communicating. Accordingly we can say Schema Theory can be used to explain the complex psychological process of listening comprehension and play crucial parts in listening comprehension.The thesis covers a brief literature review which includes the main views on listening comprehension and the different teaching approaches and models. It is also concerned with the cognitive approach, the nature of listening. According to the theory of cognitive psychology, the present study analyses the problems in college English listening comprehension from a cognitive perspective. The topic under discussion is closely related to the various stages in language comprehension and processing, and it is based on the learning experiences, the constructive ideas voiced by the students themselves and self-reflection. The Three-phase Model of listening indicates the various reasons and stages in the cognitive processing course. To explore the problems concerning listening comprehension of students with different ability from the cognitive perspective will provide aids for the teachers to have a deeper understanding of the reasons for the difficulty and to instruct students to better their capacity of listening comprehension.A questionnaire, along with interviews, and students’ diaries were used as tools to conduct the research.103 second-year non-English majors were chosen as the subjects involved in a 16-week project. Among them,49 students received cognitive listening strategy training and the remaining 54 students received traditional instruction without strategy training. By mainly adopting a quantitative method with the questionnaire and a qualitative method with introspective reports, some findings are gained concerning the difficulties and strategies used in the participants’ listening comprehension. After the training, the experimental group turned out to be more effective in listening than before, and they outperformed the controll group. It also shows that the listening strategy instruction has positively influenced both the teaching staff and the students with learner-centered teaching belief. And it helps them better understand the listening process and know how to solve their listening problems cognitively. It is hoped that the present research can make some contribution to the teaching pedagogy as far as listening comprehension is concerned.

Category Language
Subject cognitive process, Listening Comprehension, listening strategy training, schema theory,
FileType PDF
Pages 130
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