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The role of key visuals in improving listening comprehension for English as a second language students


The role of key visuals in improving listening comprehension for English as a second language students

Burger, Sandra (2001) The role of key visuals in improving listening comprehension for English as a second language students. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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With increasing globalization, more and more second language students are entering Canadian universities, be they international students completing their university studies in Canada before returning home or new Canadians furthering their studies in their new homeland. Tertiary institutions are facing the challenge of successfully integrating these students into programs as quickly as possible. They are expected to function well alongside their native language peers in spite of their linguistic limitations. In the university, the lecture is an important source of information for students. Understanding lectures may constitute a major problem for second language students because of linguistic deficiencies. Research on comprehension suggests that background knowledge plays a role in understanding. This background knowledge may consist of knowledge of the topic, linguistic knowledge or familiarity with the form of the information being presented. Studies have shown that preparing students for what they are going to hear by activating or providing background knowledge can help them to understand and remember what they have heard. The purpose of this study was to compare two preparation techniques to see which was more helpful for ESL students. Two groups of university students received training and practice with problem-solution lectures. One group received vocabulary instruction before each practice lecture and the other group worked with a key visual or graphic organizer designed to sensitize students to the problem-solution format of the lecture and help them to organize the ideas of the lecture. A third group, the control group, received no particular training with this type of lecture. All groups, on average, improved in their ability to understand the test lecture although it was impossible to say, based on the statistical evidence, whether either of the pre-training methods was more effective than the other or than the instruction received by the control group. The teacher's and the students' reaction to the graphic organizers was positive and the technique made them conscious of lecture comprehension and note-taking strategies and promoted active engagement in the process. Thus, it may be concluded that language training courses for university-bound ESL students should incorporate many techniques to improve students' comprehension. Among them are vocabulary instruction and training in preparing and using graphic organizers for the information presented in lectures.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Burger, Sandra
Pagination:ix, 314 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lightbown, Patsy M
Identification Number:PE 1128 A2B84 2001
ID Code:1570
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 17:20
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 19:49
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