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Making a case for skills/strategies-based instruction for L2 listening development
Learner strategies
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Zhang, L. J. (2008). Making a case for skills/strategies-based instruction for L2 listening development. Reflections on English Language Teaching, 7(2), 119-128.
In this paper I argue that a skills/strategies approach remains one of the many possible
and effective approaches that can help L2 learners to improve their listening skills
if classroom teachers implement it based on a good understanding of its cognitive as well as pedagogical underpinnings. Strategies are a series of events and might not be reportable in the listening process due to the heavy cognitive demand of the task. Nonetheless, this article posits that the difficulty in reporting on the cognitive processes does not mean that listeners are not using cognitive and metacognitive
strategies to process the live language data. As long as care is taken, as psychologists have maintained, complete data collection is possible (Ericsson & Simon, 1993). Opponents such as Reese-Miller’s (1993) and Ridgway’s (2000a, 200b) overemphasis that strategies (including listening strategies) are not easily reportable should not
prevent teachers from adopting a skills/strategies approach to L2 learner/listener
training. In fact, research findings are well synthesised (e.g., Cohen & Macaro, 2007;
Goh & Yusnita, 2006; Pressley & Harris, 2006; Zhang, 2008a) which indicate that
strategies-based instruction is one of the effective practices of pedagogy in classroom
instructional situations, especially in this era when the concept of “best methods” can be explored in more than one sense of the term after decades of methodological searches for the best methods ended with a non-unitary solution.
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