Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number3   September 2021                                         Pp.366-374
DOI:https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol12no3.25

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Listening Skills: Important but Difficult to Learn 

Jwahir Alzamil
English Language Centre
Taif University, Saudi Arabia

 

Received:   5/8/2021               Accepted:  8/9/2021               Published:9/24/2021

 

Abstract:
This study of 87 Saudi female university students aimed to discover whether they experience difficulties learning to listen to spoken English. Acknowledging that listening is an important part not just of learning a new language but also of day-to-day communication, data was collected using an online questionnaire. Participants were asked to respond to a series of statements designed to test four constructs relating to their attitudes to learning English language skills in general (a); learning listening skills specifically (b); their attitudes towards listening activities (c); and (d) their attitudes towards improving their listening skills. The results showed that most of participants felt that speaking and listening were the most important skills to learn, but listening was also the most challenging. Reading was felt to be the most effortless skill to learn, as well as the most commonly used, suggesting that frequency of use contributes to students’ perceptions of the ease of learning a skill. Participants’ difficulties with learning to listen to English were associated with speech rate, pronunciation, nervousness, limited vocabulary, and lack of background information. However, students also expressed positive attitudes towards improving their listening skills. Understanding students’ attitudes to listening skills and their problems with listening may help teachers improve the way they teach these skills. This may in turn improve students’ listening comprehension not only in universities but also in schools.
Keywords: English teaching, learning difficulties, listening skills, Saudi students

Cite as: Alzamil, J.  (2021).  Listening Skills: Important but Difficult to Learn.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (3) 366-374.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol12no3.25

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Received: 5/8/2021
Accepted:  8/9/2021  
Published: 9/24/2021
https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol12no3.25 
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Dr. Jwahir Alzamil is an assistant professor of applied linguistics in the English Language Centre at Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Her research interests centre around applied linguistics. https://orcid.org/my-orcid?orcid=0000-0002-6632-3924