Hostname: page-component-594f858ff7-jtv8x Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-06T07:04:13.617Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": false, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "corePageComponentUseShareaholicInsteadOfAddThis": true, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2004


Listening is probably the least explicit of the four language skills, making it the most difficult skill to learn. This chapter begins with a brief overview of cognitive processes involved in listening and their implications for L2 listening instruction. Recent research (1998–2003) on a variety of instructional techniques to help L2 listeners process linguistic input is then reviewed, noting insights that can inform listening instruction, particularly techniques that can teach students how to listen. Two approaches to listening instruction are presented: an approach to raise metacognitive awareness about listening (favoring top-down processes) and an approach to develop lexical segmentation and word recognition skills (favoring bottom-up processes). An integrated model for L2 listening instruction is proposed. Finally, recent research on different types of listening (e.g., academic listening, bidirectional listening) and the sociolinguistic dimension of listening are reviewed. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research. The basic premise underlying this chapter is that, given the critical role of listening in language learning, students need to “learn to listen” so that they can better “listen to learn.”

© 2004 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Arnold J. 2000 Seeing through listening comprehension exam anxiety. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 777786.Google Scholar
Berne J. E. 1998 Examining the relationship between L2 listening research, pedagogical theory and practice. Foreign Language Annals, 31, 169190.Google Scholar
Buck G. 1995 How to become a good listening teacher. In D. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 113128). San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.
Cabrera M. & Martinez P. 2001 The effects of repetition, comprehension checks, and gestures, on primary school children in an EFL situation. ELT Journal, 55 (3), 281288.Google Scholar
Carrier K. 1999 The social environment of second language listening: Does status play a role in comprehension? Modern Language Journal, 83, 6579.Google Scholar
Chamot A. U. 1995 Learning strategies and listening comprehension. In D. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 1330). San Diego: Dominie Press.
Chamot A. U., Barnhardt S., El-Dinary P. B., & Robbins J. 1999 The learning stratigies handbook. White Plains, NJ: Longman.
Dupuy B. C. 1999 Narrow listening: An alternative way to develop and enhance listening comprehension in students of French as a foreign language. System, 27, 351361.Google Scholar
Eastman J. K. 1991 Learning to listen and comprehend: The beginning stages. System, 19, 179188.Google Scholar
Feak C. B., & Salehzadeh J. 2001 Challenges and issues in developing an EAP video listening placement assessment: A view from one program. English for Specific Purposes, 20, 477493.Google Scholar
Field J. 1998 Skills and strategies: Towards a new methodology for listening. ELT Journal, 52, 110118.Google Scholar
Field J. 2000 “Not waving but drowning”: A reply to Tony Ridgway. ELT Journal, 54, 186195.Google Scholar
Field J. 2002 The changing face of listening. In J. Richards & W. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice (pp. 242247). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Field J. 2003 Promoting perception: Lexical segmentation in second language listening. ELT Journal, 57, 325334.Google Scholar
Flavell J. 1979 Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive development enquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906911.Google Scholar
Flowerdew J. 1994 Academic listening: Research perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fox C. 2002 Incorporating variation in the French classroom: A pedagogical norm for listening comprehension. In S. M. Gass, K. Bardovi-Harlig, S. M. Magnan, and J. Walz (Eds.) Pedagogical norms for second and foreign language learning and teaching: Studies in honour of Albert Valdman (pp. 201219). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Gardner R. 1998 Between speaking and listening: The vocalisation of understandings. Applied Linguistics, 19, 204224.Google Scholar
Ginther A. 2002 Context and content visuals and performance on listening comprehension stimuli. Language Testing, 19, 133167.Google Scholar
Goh C. 2000 A cognitive perspective on language learners' listening comprehension problems. System, 28, 5575.Google Scholar
Goh C. 2002a Exploring listening comprehension tactics and their interaction patterns. System, 30, 185206.Google Scholar
Harley B. 2000 Listening strategies in ESL: Do age and L1 make a difference? TESOL Quarterly, 34, 769776.Google Scholar
Harris T. 2003 Listening with your eyes: The importance of speech-related gestures in the language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 36, 180187.Google Scholar
Hasan A. 2000 Learners' perceptions of listening comprehension problems. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 13, 137153.Google Scholar
Herron C., Cole S., York H., & Linden P. 1998 A comparison study of student retention of foreign language video: Declarative versus interrogative advance organizers. Modern Language Journal, 82, 237247.Google Scholar
Holden W. 2002 Listen and learn. English Teaching Professional, 23, 1820.Google Scholar
Hoven D. 1999 A model for listening and viewing comprehension in multimedia environments. Language Learning and Technology, 3, 88103.Google Scholar
Hulstijn J. H. 2001 Intentional and incidental second language vocabulary learning: A reappraisal of elaboration, rehearsal and automaticity. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 258286). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hulstijn J. H. (2003, in press). Connectionist models of language processing and the training of listening skills with the aid of multimedia software. Computer Assisted Language Learning.
Imhof M. 2001 How to listen more effectively: Self-monitoring strategies in L1. International Journal of Listening, 14, 219.Google Scholar
Joiner E. 1997 Teaching listening: How technology can help. In M. Bush, & R. Terry (Eds.), Technology-enhanced language learning (pp. 77121). Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group.
Joiner E. 2000 Listening training for language learners: The Tomatis approach to second language acquisition. Dimension, 2000, 1327.Google Scholar
Jones L. & Plass J. 2002 Supporting listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition in French with multimedia annotations. The Modern Language Journal, 86, 546561.Google Scholar
Kaunzner U. 2001 Das Ohr als Schlüssel zur Fremdsprachenkompetenz [The ear as the key to foreign language competence]. Tübingen: Stauffenburg/Groos.
Kim J. 2002 Affective reactions to foreign language listening retrospective interviews with Korean EFL students. Language Research, 38, 117151.Google Scholar
Krashen S. 1987 Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Krashen S. 1996 The case for Narrow Listening. System, 24, 97100.Google Scholar
Lam W., & Wong J. 2000 The effects of strategy training on developing discussion skills in an ESL classroom. ELT Journal, 54, 245255.Google Scholar
Littlemore J. 2001 The use of metaphor in university lectures and the problems that it causes for overseas students. Teaching in Higher Education, 6, 333349.Google Scholar
Long D. R. 1990 What you don't know can't help you. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 12, 6580.Google Scholar
Lynch T. 1998 Theoretical perspectives on listening. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 319.Google Scholar
Lynch T. 2002 Listening: Questions of level. In R. B. Kaplan, (Ed.), Oxford handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 3948). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mareschal C. 2002 A cognitive perspective on the listening comprehension strategies of second language learners in the intermediate grades. Unpublished MA thesis, University of Ottawa.
Markham P., Peter L., & McCarthy T. 2001 The effects of native language vs. target language captions on foreign language students' DVD video comprehension. Foreign Language Annals, 34, 439445.Google Scholar
Mecartty F. 2000 Lexical and grammatical knowledge in reading and listening comprehension by foreign language learners of Spanish. Applied Language Learning, 11, 323348.Google Scholar
Mendelsohn D. 1998 Teaching listening. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 81101.Google Scholar
Mendelsohn D. 2001 Listening comprehension: We've come a long way, but …. Contact, 27, 3340.Google Scholar
Morley J. 1999 Current perspectives on improving aural comprehension. Retrieved from
Murphy J. M. 1985 An investigation into the listening strategies of ESL college students. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED278275).
O'Malley M., & Chamot A. U. 1990 Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Osada N. 2001 What strategy do less proficient learners employ in listening comprehension?: A reappraisal of bottom-up and top-down processing. Journal of the Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 5, 7390.Google Scholar
Oxford R. 1993 Research update on teaching L2 listening. System, 21(2), 205211.Google Scholar
Peters M. 1999 Les stratégies de compréhension auditive chez des élèves du Bain Linguistique en français langue seconde [The listening comprensión strategies of students in a French immersion program]. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Ottawa.
Pica T. 1994 Research on negotiation: What does it reveal about second language learning conditions, processes and outcomes. Language Learning, 44, 493527.Google Scholar
Poelmans P. 2003 Developing second-language listening comprehension: Effects of training lower-order skills versus higher-order strategy. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Amsterdam.
Ridgway T. 2000a Listening strategies—I beg your pardon? ELT Journal, 54, 179185.Google Scholar
Ridgway T. 2000b Hang on a minute! A reply to John Field. ELT Journal, 54, 196197.Google Scholar
Rogers C. V. 2002 Tradition and technology in language teaching. Dimension, 2002, 1732.Google Scholar
Rubin J. 1994 A review of second language listening comprehension research. Modern Language Journal, 78, 199221.Google Scholar
Segalowitz N., & Segalowitz S. 1993 Skilled performance practice and the differentiation of speed-up of automatization effects: Evidence from second language word recognition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 5367.Google Scholar
Sheerin J. 1987 Listening comprehension: Teaching or testing? ELT Journal, 4, 126131.Google Scholar
Stanovich K. E. 1980 Toward an interactive-compensatory model of individual differences in the development of reading fluency. Reading Research Quarterly, 16, 3271.Google Scholar
Swaffar J. K., & Bacon S. M. 1993 Reading and listening comprehension: Perspectives on research and implications for practice. In A. H. Omaggio (Ed.), Research in language learning: Principles, processes, and prospects (pp. 124155). Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook.
Tschirner E. 2001 Language acquisition in the classroom: The role of digital video. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 14, 305319.Google Scholar
Tsui A., & Fullilove J. 1998 Bottom-up or top-down processing as a discriminator of L2 listening performance. Applied Linguistics, 19, 432451.Google Scholar
Tyler M. 2001 Resource consumption as a function of topic knowledge in nonnative and native comprehension. Language Learning, 51, 257280.Google Scholar
Valdman A. 2000 Comment gérer la variation dans l'enseignement du français langue étrangère aux États-Unis [How to manage language variation in the teaching of French as a foreign language in the United States]. French Review, 73, 648666.Google Scholar
Vandergrift L. 2002 “It was nice to see that our predictions were right:” Developing metacognition in L2 listening comprehension. Canadian Modern Language Review, 58, 555575.Google Scholar
Vandergrift L. 2003b Orchestrating strategy use: Toward a model of the skilled second language listener. Language Learning, 53, 463496.Google Scholar
Wenden A. 1998 Metacognitive knowledge and language learning. Applied Linguistics, 19, 515537.Google Scholar
Zhao Y. 1997 The effects of listeners' control of speech rate on second language comprehension. Applied Linguistics, 18, 4968.Google Scholar