An Examination of Listening Acquisition: A Study of Japanese University Students

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Authors: Bryan Hahn, Akita International University, Japan
Email: bhahn@aiu.ac.jp
Published: February 28, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.6.1.04

Citation: Hahn, B. (2018). An Examination of Listening Acquisition: A Study of Japanese University Students. IAFOR Journal of Education, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.6.1.04


Abstract

English language learners seek strong speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. When it comes to the last it is commonly assumed that if students have many opportunities to hear spoken English then that exposure will improve their ability to comprehend it. Unfortunately, this is often not the case since many second language learners do not get the opportunity to develop their listening skills naturally. Despite this, classrooms dedicate little to no time in English for Academic Purposes coursework towards listening strategies and techniques. One strategy which has shown to be effective is "connected speech". Students learn how to hear the connection between words that native speakers develop naturally. In the Fall 2016 (September 16 - December 15), 43 students were the subject of a class dedicated to training their listening skills to identify this technique. A pre-test and post-test control group design analyzed listening interventions on listening fluency among English for Academic Purposes students. An independent t-test was used to measure the mean average scores on the listening section of the treatment group's Test of English as a Foreign Language exams (n=35) taken in December 2016 and were compared to scores taken in April and September 2016 (n=37). The treatment group saw mean gains of +3.03, findings that were significant. The research also compared Test of English as a Foreign Language results taken in April and September 2015 (n=38) to those taken in December 2015 (n=29). Students had slightly higher mean gains of +3.65, also significant, perhaps indicating other variables may have led to similar findings.

Keywords

listening fluency, connected speech, Japan, ESL students, TOEFL