Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 1 March 2023                                             Pp.280-299

Full Paper PDF

Bottom-up Processing to Help Learners with Decoding: Planning, Implementing, and
Reflecting on a Lesson

 Jayaron Jose
English Language Centre
University of Technology and Applied Sciences Al Musannah, Oman
Corresponding Author:


Received:10/29/2022         Accepted:03/13/2023                 Published: 03/24/2023


The researcher carried out the action research to experiment and experience the effectiveness of applying the theoretical aspects of bottom-up processing to help learners with decoding in listening lessons.  The experimental lesson included six adult intermediate students (n = 6) from different backgrounds at an English language teaching professional development training undertaken at International House, Bangkok, Thailand in July 2021.  The researcher planned the lessons after the literature review on bottom-up processing and surveying students’ needs and interests.  The pre-lesson preparation included collecting the group profile, setting lesson aims and learning outcomes, analyzing the target language assuming learners’ existing knowledge, anticipating problems and solutions, planning the lesson procedures with appropriate teaching, and learning materials. and considering the timetable fit.  The study aimed to find out the effectiveness of a listening lesson focused on bottom-up processing through self-reflection, and feedback from the observer, co-teachers, and students. The study was largely based on the collection of qualitative data through means of the researcher’s post-lesson reflection, and feedback from the observation, co-teachers, and students, which functioned as research tools in the study.  The data analysis found that bottom-up processing was learner-engaging and beneficial to students’ positive perception of improving their listening skills.  In addition, they provided the researcher with insights into the steps of planning and administering a listening lesson focused on bottom-up processing identifying areas of achievement and improvement.
Keywords: Bottom-up processing, decoding, lesson plan, listening, planning, implementing, reflecting

Cite as:  Jose, J  (2023). Bottom-up Processing to Help Learners with Decoding: Planning, Implementing,
and Reflecting on a Lesson.  Arab World English Journal, 14 (1) 280-299.


Al-Nafisah, K. I. (2019). Issues and strategies in improving listening comprehension in a classroom. International Journal of Linguistics, 11(3), 93 – 106.

Bartram, M. (2016).  Bottom-up decoding: Listening.  Available at 

Connected Speech.  (n.d). Connected Speech. Available at

Brown, D. (2004). Language Assessment Principles and Classroom Practices. Pearson Education.Inc.

Fachriza, A. et al (2022). Bottom-Up Strategy in Teaching Listening for Academic Purposes for EFL in Pesantren-Based University. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Learning, 7(2), 269-284.

Field, J. (1999). Bottom-Up and Top-Down (Key Concepts in ELT). ELTJ, 54(4), 338 -9. on 24.6.2021

Garside, T.  (2019). Shifting the focus: Learner-Centred Classroom Observations. Available at .

Getting Started With.  (n.d.).  Getting started with Assessment for Learning.  Available at

Jose, J. (2022). Bottom-up Processing (BUP) for Decoding in Teaching Listening Skills: Analysis, Issues and Suggested Activities. English Language Teaching, 15(12), 1-71.

Katherine.  (2015).  Lesson Planning: Anticipated Problems. Available at

Knowles, M. S.  (1984).  Andragogy in Action. Applying Modern Principles of Adult Education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Lansford, L.  (2014).  Authentic materials in the classroom: the advantages. Available at

Listening Skills.  (n.d.).  Listening Skills: Cognitive Process of Listening.  Available at

Luke, D., & Justice, M.  (2016).   Motivating Adult Learners: Exploring the Emergence of Adult Business Students in an East Texas University. Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, 6 (2), 74-82.  doi:10.5929/2016.6.2.3

Lynch, T.  (2009).  Teaching second language listening. Oxford: Oxford University Press

MacDonald, A.  (2020).  Decoding: The Nitty Gritty of Listening.  Available at  on 18/6/2021

Morley, C. (n.d.).  Listening: Top-down and bottom up.  Available at on 18.6.2021

Monroe.  (2020).  Teaching English with Guided Discovery for ESL.  Available at

Nation, I.S. P., and Newton, J.  (2009).  Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking. Routledge: New York.

Nsouly, O.  (2022).  Collecting Data for Training Needs Assessment: Why, How, & What To Look For. Available at

Roberts, R.  (2012).  Decoding Skills: A Neglected Part of Listening Comprehension? Decoding Skills: A Neglected Part of Listening Comprehension?   Oxford University Press. Retrieved from   Available at

Richards, J.  (2016).  Teaching Bottom-up Processing.  Available at

Siegel, J., & Siegel, A.  (2013).  Empirical and Attitudinal Effects of Bottom-up Listening Activities in the L2 Classroom     ELTWorld, 5 (1), 1 – 25  ISSN 1793-8732

Utomo, S., & Sulistyowati, T. (2022). Asynchronous Online Learning: Top-down and Bottom-up Processes for Listening Practices. Language Circle: Journal of Language and Literature, 16(2), 413-425.

Vargas, V. O., & González, D. M. (2009). Applying bottom-up listening strategies to eighth grade in a public high school, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Universidad Tecnologica De Pereira. Retrieved from

Warner, N.  (n.d.).  Reduced speech examples.  Available at

Received: 10/29/2022
Accepted: 03/13/2023  
Published: 03/24/2023   

Dr. Jayaron Jose is a senior faculty at University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Al Musannah (UTAS-A), Oman.  He earned his PhD in TESL from USM, Malaysia, CELTA and DELTA from Cambridge University, UK through International House, London, and Bangkok. He presents and publishes research papers in international conferences and peer-reviewed international journals, respectively.  His research areas are ICT in ELT, pedagogical approaches, methods, and techniques, and applied linguistics.