Current System of Listening Comprehension Laboratory Attendance
In the current IDI, or Institute of Languages of the Santiago de Cali University system “independent" EFL students, that is those learners who are not registered in a university career program, are “exempted" from listening laboratory attendance. In my opinion, this is a serious error that negatively impacts on the English language skills of registered university students and independent English as a Foreign Language students alike. Listening comprehension is a language skill which cannot be explicitly taught as elaborated on in “What Makes Listening Difficult?". (Lynch, 2005) This also ultimately results in several ongoing problems.
Due to these aspects, among others, I disagree with the policy of automatically “exempting" independent IDI students from listening laboratory attendance. It may be better perhaps to implement the following strategies into current IDI policy.
Possible Solutions for Independent Students
In consideration of the fact that often independent students may be time-pressured due to employment, family responsibilities, health and other commitments solutions could be to:
For a Tuesday / Thursday class a portion of Thursday’s class would be held in the listening laboratory
Listening Comprehension Study Results
Studies conducted over a period of five semesters, two and a half years, from the three partial exams given during each semester clearly demonstrate that students who regularly attend the minimum required number of listening laboratory hours (four per partial exam period and a total of 10 for the semester) achieve consistently higher listening comprehension scores than students with little or no listening laboratory attendance.
Those students who attend a disproportionately higher number of listening laboratory sessions consistently have the highest scores on the listening comprehension portion of the partial exams. During the last, and previous semesters, students have attended as many as 35 listening laboratory sessions on their own time during the course of the semester. Independently conducted studies during the 2003B, 2004A, 2004B, 2005A and 2005B semesters have unequivocally borne out these results. (Lynch, 2004)
The graphed results of mean and mode listening comprehension exam section results clearly indicate three distinctive trends:
This being the case, it appears to be obvious that mandating listening laboratory attendance across the full spectrum of IDI students would result in benefits for both the quality of learning and the English language skills of the students. Especially in the listening comprehension skills of a large percentage of LEP, or Limited English Proficiency, students who are now enrolled in English classes. By effectively addressing the listening comprehension skills of EFL students, any language institute can inherently improve the basic English language skills of its students.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is a bi-lingual copywriter, expert author and photographer specializing in business, travel, food and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape From America, Mexico News and Brazil magazines. He lives in Colombia and teaches at a university in Cali. Want lots more free tips, help and information on learning English or another foreign language? Go now to: http://bettereflteacher.blogspot.com .