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Volume 9 Number 4, Winter 2012, Pages 1-189   

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Effective Approaches to Teaching Listening: Chinese EFL Teachers' Perspectives

    Li Wang, Willy A Renandya

This study examines the approaches considered effective by EFL teachers in solving their learners' major listening difficulties. In-depth semi-structured interviews were adopted to probe into 10 Chinese EFL teachers' beliefs about what they perceived to be effective methods that would assist their students in dealing with their listening difficulties. In the interview, the teachers were asked to identify the main sources of their students' listening difficulties, discuss their preferred approaches to helping their students deal with their listening problems, and describe instructional procedures that would enhance their students' overall listening abilities. The results show that in general these teachers share a preference for a bottom-up approach to teaching L2 listening, stressing the importance of giving priority to developing their students lower level skills such as coping with fast speed and recognizing words in speech. However, differences in opinions are identified among the teachers, especially regarding the degree of importance attached to the teaching of listening strategies. Overall, the results seem to lend support to the argument that enhancing EFL learners' bottom-up processing competence is perhaps the first thing that needs to be addressed to help EFL learners build a solid linguistic foundation before they move on to learning the more advanced listening skills.

Keywords: L2 listening, L2 listening difficulties, bottom-up approach, top-down approach