The international journal under the title “Strategy Instruction in Listening for Lower- Intermediate Learners of French” has made by two authors from different university. The first author, Suzanne Graham is from University of Reading and the second author, Ernesto Macaro is from University of Oxford. This journal is related to the second language acquisition especially in listening comprehension, learner strategies, self-efficacy, and French as a foreign language. This journal bring three research questions, those are; (1) can a program of strategy instruction improve the listening comprehension of lower-intermediate learners of French as a foreign language? (2) Among learners receiving instruction, is the level of scaffolding provided a factor in improvement in listening comprehension? (3) What are the effects of strategy instruction on learners’ self-efficacy beliefs for listening comprehension? Here, I will discuss one by one what the important things in this journal are.
The authors of this journal tell about the journal briefly in this part. The authors show to the reader about the historical of listening, factors in listening comprehension, design of research, sample, and result of study.
Listening is the difficult skill in the second language acquisition. There are some studies about strategy instruction to improve the listening comprehension but the result is far from the expectation. It might be caused to the nature of listening strategy and lack of conceptualizations of listening strategy instruction. This study describe about the effect of strategy instruction on both listening performance and self-efficacy of 68 lower-intermediate learners of French in England, against a comparison group. The comparison is between high- and low-scaffolded learners. Then, the result suggest that the listening proficiency and learners’ confidence about listening must be improved because it implication will develop the pedagogy and strategy theory.
This part tells us about the theories pertaining to the general process processes involved in listening to theories which have emerged about the strategies that listeners deploy in order to comprehend spoken text. In other hand, the theories will examine the influence they have had on strategy instruction as theory and practice.
The hot issues about listening problems are have long been highlighted. One factor affecting the listening comprehension in England especially foreigners for lower-intermediate learners is anxiety. It makes the listening skill so difficult to be learnt and to be improved. One should be examine related to this condition is the approaches in teaching listening.
a. Theories of Listening Processes
Listening is difficult skill to be learnt and to be improved. It is because of the complexity and rapidity of the processes involved in teaching listening. There are two theories which shows for the processes involved.
The first theory, J.R. Anderson (1983, 1995), proposed a cognitive framework that presents listening as a three-stage process, beginning with perceptual processing. The second stage, parsing, meaningful mental representations are formed from words and phrases by matching them with linguistic information stored in long-term memory. The last phase, utilization, information collected in the previous two phases is related to the listener’s schemata. This theory has advantage and disadvantages. The advantage of this model of listening is providing recognizable stages in the process of listening while the disadvantages is saw the listening as a linear process with utilization as the final product of those process.
A more convincing model is one of interactive top-down and bottom-up processing. In top-down processing, the listener’s background knowledge (of the topic, general world knowledge, and of how texts “work”) interacts with the linguistic knowledge drawn upon in bottom-up processing to create an interpretation of the text (Buck, 2001, p. 29). In other words, the listener comes to a listening task with two sets of resources: his/her own linguistic and schematic knowledge (Rumelhart, 1980) and the information, both ideational and textual, contained in the actual listening text.
b. Theories of Strategic Behavior in Listening
Macaro (2006) argued that essential features of a strategy are conscious mental activity, employed in the pursuit of a goal within a learning situation, and “transferable to other situations or tasks” (p. 328).
A recent review of research into listening strategies (Macaro, Graham, & Vanderplank, 2007) identified the strategies that have consistently been advocated as playing an important part in the listening process: (1) making predictions about the likely content of a passage (e.g. Goh, 1998); (2) selectively attending to certain aspects of the passage, deciding to “listen out for” particular words or phrases or idea units (e.g. O’Malley et al., 1989). (3) monitoring and evaluating comprehension—that is, checking that one is in fact understanding or has made the correct interpretation (e.g. Goh, 2002; Vandergrift, 2003; Young, 1996); (4) using a variety of clues (linguistic, contextual, and background knowledge) to infer the meaning of unknown words (e.g., Goh, 2002). There is thus little consensus as to what principles should guide the creation of a listening strategies instruction program.
c. Listening instruction models adopted in previous studies
- Previous study: Ozeki (2000) states that no clear improvement was found in the listening of the Japanese students of English as a foreign language (EFL). O’Malley et al. (1985) found differences, but not statistically significant ones, in the gain scores at the posttest of three groups of English as second language (ESL) learners who received different amounts and types of strategy instruction. McGruddy (1995) says that there was a significant difference between pretest-posttest in listening achievement (in favor of the intervention group). The differences were found in the nonstandardized listening test used, but not in a standardized test. Two others study are more success against the theories before, the first by Thompson and Rubin (1996) and then Kohler (2002).
- The summarize model in how an instruction program might proceed: (a) consciousness raising, in which students reflect on the nature of learning and on the strategies they use at present; (b) modeling of selected strategies by the teacher; (c) guided and structure practice of the new strategies in the context of normal class activities, with gradually fewer reminders to use appropriate strategies; (d) action planning, goal setting, and evaluation, whereby learners identify problem areas, select strategies that might help remedy them and evaluate their success (Rubin, Chamot, Harris, & Anderson, 2007).
d. Strategy instruction and the Development of Self Efficacy
Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1993, 1995) or sense of agency (Paris & Winograd, 1990) is the learners’ beliefs about their own abilities and competences to accomplish specific tasks are of particular importance. Some learners can not control their tasks and lack of motivation they need strategy instruction program to control it. Scaffolding, as part of the strategy instruction program can play a part in increasing learners’ sense of personal control. Particularly when it takes the form of feed back on strategy use, in which learners’ attention is drawn to the link between the strategies they have used and their learning outcomes.
Quasi-experimental was used to design this study. Pretest-posttest did in henceforth Time I and II with two intervention group and one comparison group. The intervention groups were the high scaffolding group and low-scaffolding group. The all aspects of intervention program were taken from normal class. The intervention groups received no more tuition time than the comparison group, as ascertained through a questionnaire administered at the end of the study and confirmed by teacher interviews and our observations.
The population was students of French as foreign language in England. All students have almost been studying the language for 5 years. They were in year 12 or it was called the first year of post compulsory education. The sampling frame for intervention and comparison group was restricted to two countries in the south of England but different place. The sampling technique was stratified sampling. This sampling strategy provided us with an initial sample of 151 students (120 females and 31 males-reflecting the same imbalance in this population) from 15 schools for the Time 1 and Time 2 tests. Because of the optional nature of the course for this population, the total number of students who completed tests and surveys at both Time 1 and Time 2 was reduced to 107 (HSG = 29; LSG = 39; CG = 39) and further reduced to 59 at Time 3 (i.e., 1 year after the beginning of the investigation; HSG = 20; LSG = 11; CG = 28).
4. Data Collection Instruments
This is the steps to gain the data. The steps are:
a) Giving Listening proficiency tests; Participants were tested for listening proficiency at Time 1, Time 2, and Time 3 using three different audio-recordings on the same topic. The listening test was divided into a number of short passages.
b) Giving self-efficacy questionnaire; immediately following the Listening Proficiency Tests at Time 1 and Time 2, participants were asked to complete a brief questionnaire related to their perceptions of their abilities in listening and particularly asking them how confident they felt about doing similar listening tasks in the future.
c) Come in intervention group
d) Giving strategy lists; all intervention students were constantly reminded of the possible strategies they might use when listening via a strategy tick list they received from their teacher. They were asked to reflect on these strategies before and after the listening task. The objective here was to continually raise awareness of strategies available without suggesting that there was any one strategy that was superior to others.
e) Giving additional awareness-raising and reflection; The HSG students were asked to consider a number of statements about language learning made by other students (the statements were drawn from Graham, 2006). They were asked to identify those statements that indicated that the student was in control of his or her learning and those that indicated a lack of control.
f) Giving materials for raising awareness of bottom-up processes
g) Giving materials for segmenting French Speech
h) Giving materials for encouraging sensible predicting, accurate inferencing, and increasing monitoring; Materials were presented to students so that they could correctly infer the meaning of unfamiliar lexical items, phrases, or propositions in the text.
i) Giving strategy use diary; The HSG group was provided with a diary in which to record, on four occasions, the progress they felt they were making with listening and the part that strategy use might be playing in this.
j) Written feedback
k) Monitoring the intervention; the way to ensure that the program of instruction have an effect on the listening comprehension and self-efficacy: observing a number of lessons in which strategy instruction was taking place; Delivering parts of the intervention ourselves where teachers felt they lacked confidence to carry out the instruction; keeping copies of tasks carried out and strategy lists completed that were related to the intervention; and conducting semi structured interviews with teachers.
l) Analysis data
5. Results and Discussion
The results of this research are:
1. Overall, the strategy intervention program had a positive impact on listening performance.
2. The HSG significantly outperformed the LSG at Time 2 (i.e., soon after the end of the intervention). However, the performance was reversed some 6 months later (Time 3). Similar trends apply to students’ self-efficacy for listening, with both the HSG and LSG making significantly greater gains than the CG but with no significant difference between the two intervention groups.
3. The progress in listening comprehension is closely bound with altering students’ attributions for success and failure (via encouragement to reflect on, modify, and reevaluate one’s strategic behavior) and the resulting changes in levels of confidence. Our positive results in listening comprehension appear to be closely linked to changes in self- efficacy. The self-efficacy gains suggest that the strategy instruction had the greatest impact on intervention students’ confidence in understanding “details” and “opinions.”
Based on the findings result, it was known that the intervention was, essentially, beneficial both in terms of improving listening proficiency and raising the students’ self-efficacy. This study provides stronger evidence than interventions that strategy instruction in listening is beneficial. The author attribute the success of the intervention to those elements that differentiate it from previous programs: the strong link made between strategy deployment and self-efficacy; an increased level of learner engagement with the instruction, through targeted scaffolding; careful selection of strategies, with a precise definition of what each strategy is, what it is meant to achieve, and how it interacts with other strategies in a cluster as related to a specific listening task; and a program design that addressed the needs of a specific learner population, rather than superimposing the strategies of “successful” learners in different contexts, learning different languages, and having achieved different levels of general proficiency.
There are four skills of English. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are basic of English skill. All of them are taught from kindergarten up to university. Many students argue that writing is the difficult skill to be understood. Many teachers argue that reading is the difficult skill to be taught to the students. Everyone have difference opinion about those phenomena. Evidently, listening is the difficult one. Why listening is the difficult skill? The reasons are.
Listening is the first English skill which has to be learnt before the three of English skill. It is one indicator of successfullness of studying English. Mastering listening comprehension will influence to other English skills. When the students learn about listening, they need more ability to understand what the material being heard. The students has to develop their strategy instruction to improve their listening comprehension. So, teacher needs the specific approach to examine the listening comprehension. It is known that listening is difficult skills to be assessed.
In the part of literature review, the author provides the theory related to the listening comprehension, strategy instruction, priciples of strategy instruction, previous research, and the present study. Based on my opinion, it is one of good journal. It is arranged systematically. The literature review is started with the variable with the wide discussion followed by the next variable being discussed. Then, it is continued by the previous research. The purpose is to compare the present study with the previous study. What the strength are or what the weakness are about the present study with the previous study. So, the study is not plagiarism. Because the research without theory it is impossible. But it seems uncommon when the author states the research statements on the literature review.
In this part, it needs more explanation about scaffolding. Scaffolding is a temporary modular system of tubes foeming a framework used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures. So, when it is used to as strategy instruction program to improve listening comprehension the researcher has to make clear explanation about scaffolding used. It is known that scaffolding is very complex thing in teaching and learning process. Scaffolding, as part of the strategy instruction program therefore, can play a part in increasing learners’ sense of personal control, particularly when it takes the form of feedback on strategy use, in which learners’ attention is drawn to the link between the strategies they have used and their learning outcomes. Often known as “attribution retraining,” such an approach has been used successfully in first language (L1) contexts (e.g., in L1 reading; Borkowski, Carr, & Rellinger, 1990) but less so in L2 studies. At the same time, such feedback should be complemented by other activities that involve learners in evaluating their strategy use themselves, in which they “detect their relative costs, benefits, and ranges of applicability” (Borkowski et al., p. 57). Learners who identify the benefits of strategy use in this way are more likely to adopt them and transfer them across a range of tasks.
It seems odd why the author explain more about top-down or bottom up technique in teaching listening. Many experts who are mentioned by the author is related to these technique not explaining about what strategy instruction program is. Then, it needs more explanation about lower-intermediate learners of French. It seems not clear who the subjects are. Why the author are not explain at the literature review?
The third part of this journal is method. The method of this study is quasi-experimental. Quasi-experimental design is one that looks a bit like an experimental design but lacks the key ingredient – random assignment. It is simply defined as not a true experimental. Quasi-experimental designs came about because of:
1. Difficulty of applying the classical natural science method to the social sciences
2. Overemphasis on theory testing and development
3. High cost of classic natural science methods
4. Development of new statistical tools that allowed for statistical control
There are several types of quasi-experimental designs, including: (a) time series design, (b) equivalent time series samples, (c) equivalent samples materials design, (d) non-equivalent control group, (e) counterbalanced designs, (f) separate sample pre-test/post-test, (g) separate sample pre-test/post-test control group, (h) multiple time series design, (i) instutional cycle design, and (j) regression-discountinuity design. Retrieved on www.csulb.edu/.../696quasi.htm, August 08, 2015. Based on the explanation before this jornal needs to explain what type of quasi-experimental is in order that the reader already understand when they read this journal.
The strength of this journal is on the collecting data method. It is served in sytematically processed. Readers are very easy to understand process of collecting the data. So, the readers are not confuse when the will gather the data. But it is also the weakness of this journal, if this study used quasi-experimental it always uses quantitative approach. In my opinion, quantitative approach is not in the form of instruction like the process of teaching using lesson plan. It seems like CAR.
In the answering research questions, the author did not testing the hypothesis and then make the conclusion of the data analysis. The author only serves data presentation and simple data analysis without data interpretation. Actually, in the research findings, the researcher has to serve the data not only data presentation as like tabular, textual, or graphical but also the author has to make data interpretation then compare the result of data analysis with theory on literature review or online journal. After the researcher makes the data interpretation it can be conclude that the research have already done. Do not forget because of this include the experimental study it needs to state about the strength and the weakness of the study. It will help the next researchers are easier to develop the present study.
In the part of discussion, the author describes the findings in detail explanation. The author compares the result of the present study with the literature review. It means that the result of the previous reserach and the result of the present study have interconnection. The present study has some evidences to support the previous research. This study investigated whether strategy instruction was an effective classroom based practice in raising the level of proficiency in listening comprehension, whether it made learners feel more confident about their listening, and whether different models of instruction through the level of support given (scaffolding) were important factors in providing desired outcomes.
In the part of conclusion, the author write the conclusion of the research. It is served one by one each variable. How the variable strategy instruction influence the listening comprehension with high self – efficacy is the important thing in this part. The aims were to investigate whether intervention via a listening strategy program was worthwhile with a population of students who appear to find listening at the lower-intermediate level one of the most difficult skills and who, past research suggests, appear to lack both the tools and affective disposition to overcome their problems. But this part, where the position lower-intermediate learners of French is. It lacks of the description about it.
In the last part of the journal, the author serves the references. The references are the lists of things which directly quote on the text (i.e. books, magazines, articles, working papers, journal, thesis, and dissertation. This part is served alphabetichaly but using two styles of technique of writing. For instance, for technique of writing year, (2005) and 2005. It is not consistent.
The last part of this journal is appendices. I think appendices for journal is not needed. I think when we use single space for writing journal maximally we should write only 8 pages and when we use double space we need only 15 pages. But it is never mind. Appendix will be used by the other researcher to develop the present study.