Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                       Pp. 349- 371
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol11no3.22

Full Paper PDF

 

The Impact of Cultural Background on Listening Comprehension of Saudi EFL Students 

Mohammad Hamad Al-khresheh
Department of English Language
Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Northern Border University, Saudi Arabia

 

 

Abstract:
One of the most critical areas where considerable attention is required in teaching a foreign language involves listening skills. Listening plays an essential role in both communication and learning, and it is one of the most crucial necessary language skills in the field of language learning. Recent studies in foreign language listening have extensively focused on the prevailing difficulties of listening. There has been little research on the cultural- background as a sociolinguistic dimension of listening. Therefore, this study set out to determine whether Saudi EFL students face particular difficulty in their listening comprehension, to identify possible reasons for the problems, and to find out whether the cultural- background affects the listening process. To achieve these objectives, a triangulation method was followed. A diagnostic test and a questionnaire were used on a group of 31 Saudi students of English and a reflective essay was carried out on eight EFL teachers. The findings suggest, first, that listening is the most challenging language skill and, second, that Saudi EFL students encounter substantial difficulty in the perception, parsing, and utilization phases of their listening comprehension for many reasons. The findings also suggest that the cultural background has a significant effect on their listening process. This study is expected to contribute markedly towards increasing the understanding of listening difficulties in language learning, and improving the teaching-learning process, by recommending effective remedies for addressing such challenges.
Keywords: Cultural background, English language teaching, language learning, listening comprehension problems, Saudi students 

Cite as: Al-khresheh, M. H.(2020). The Impact of Cultural Background on Listening Comprehension of Saudi EFL Students.Arab World English Journal11 (3) . 349- 371.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol11no3.22 

References

Al-khresheh, M., & Al-Ruwaili, S.(2020). An exploratory study on vocabulary learning strategies used by Saudi EFL learners. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 9(2), 288-302. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7596/taksad.v9i2.2616

Al-khresheh, M., Khaerurrozikin, A., & Zaid, A. (2020). The efficiency of using pictures in teaching speaking skills of non-native Arabic beginner students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8 (3), 872 – 878. DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2020.080318

Al-khresheh, M. (2015). A review study of interlanguage theory. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 4(3), 124–131.

Al-Nasser, S. A. (2015). Problems of English language acquisition in Saudi Arabia: An exploratory-cum-remedial study. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(8), 1612–1619. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0508.10

Alrashidi, O., & Phan, H. (2015). Education context and English teaching and learning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An overview. English Language Teaching, 8(5), 33-44. DOI: 10.5539/elt.v8n5p33

Al-Shumaimeri, Y. A. N. (2003). A study of classroom exposure to oral pedagogic tasks in relation to the motivation and performance of Saudi secondary learners of English in a context of potential curriculum reform. (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). Leeds: University of Leeds.

Anderson, J. R. (1995). Cognitive psychology and its implications (4th ed.). New York: Freeman.

Assaf, H. A. (2015). The difficulties encountered by EFL learners in listening comprehension as perceived by ELC  students at the Arab-American university-Jenin. (Published Master’s Thesis). Nablus, Palestine: An-Najah National University, Retrieved from https://scholar.najah.edu/sites/default/files/Ahkam%20Hasan%20Assaf.pdf

Batel, E. A. (2014). The effectiveness of video vs. written text in English comprehension and acquisition of ESL students. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 5(4),326-335.

Bingol, M., Celik, B., Yildiz, N., & Mart, C. (2014). Listening comprehension difficulties encountered by students in second language learning class. Journal Of Educational And Instructional Studies, 4(4), 1–6.

Buck, G. (2001). Assessing listening. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

Chastain, K. (1976). Developing second-language skills: Theory to practice (2nd ed.).Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Chiu, B. E. (2006). An investigation of English listening strategies used by continuous education program students in Taiwan. Retrieved from  http://web.nanya.edu.tw/tcof/tcrd/word

Diaz, F. C. (2001). Multicultural education in the 21st century. New York: AddisonWesley.

Eltayeb, H. (2017). Investigating the listening comprehension difficulties encountered by EFL learners in Sudanese secondary schools (A case study of Nadir Atta Secondary School, Jebel Aulia Municipality). (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Sudan: Sudan University of Science and Technology.

Elyas, T., & Picard, M. (2010). Saudi Arabian educational history: impacts on English language teaching. Education, Business & Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3(2), 136-145. DOI: 10.1108/17537981011047961

Emitt, M. P. J., & Komesaroff, L. (2003). Language and Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fareh, S. (2010). Challenges of teaching English in the Arab world: Why can’t EFL programs deliver as expected? Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2, 3600–3604. DOI.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.559

Flowerdew, J., &  Miller, L. (1996). Student perceptions, problems and strategies in second language lecture comprehension, RELC Journal, 23(2), 60–80. DOI.org/10.1177/003368829202300205

Garcia, E. (2002). Student cultural diversity: Understanding and meeting the challenge (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Gilakjani, A. P., & Ahmadi, M. R. (2011). A study of factors affecting EFL learners’ English listening comprehension and the strategies for improvement. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(5), 977–988. DOI: 10.4304/jltr.2.5.977-988

Gilakjani, A., & Sabouri, N. (2016). Learners’ listening comprehension difficulties in English language learning: A literature review. English Language Teaching, 9(6), 123–133. DOI:10.5539/elt.v9n6p123

Gilbert, M. B. (1988). Listening in school: I know you can hear me—but are you listening?. International Listening Association Journal, 2 (1), 121–132. DOI.org/10.1080/10904018.1988.10499102

Gillett, A. (2004). Speak English like an American. Language Success Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Goh, C. (1999).   How  much  do  learners  know  about  the  factors  that  influence  their  listening  comprehension? Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 17- 42.

Goh, C. (2000). A cognitive perspective on language learners’ listening comprehension problems. System, 28(1), 55–75. DOI: 10.1016/S0346-251X(99)00060-3

Goss, B. (1982). Listening as information processing. Communication Quarterly, 30(4), 304–307. DOI.org/10.1080/01463378209369465

Graham, S. (2006). Listening comprehension: The learners’ perspective. System, 34(2), 165–182. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2005.11.001

Graham, S., & Macaro, E. (2008). Strategy instruction in listening for lower-intermediate learners of French. Language Learning, 58(4), 747–783. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00478.x

Hamouda, A. (2013). An investigation of listening comprehension problems encountered by Saudi students in the EL listening classroom. International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, 2(2), 113–155.

Hasan, A. (2000). Learners’ perceptions of listening comprehension problems. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 13(2), 137–153. DOI: 10.1080/07908310008666595

Hayati, A. M. (2009). The impact of cultural knowledge on listening comprehension of EFL learners. English Language Teaching, 2 (3), 144–151.

Higgins, J. (1997). Students’ listening difficulties: The contribution of speech rate. In C. Zaher (Ed.), Proceedings of the third EFL Skills Conference: New Directions in Listening. The Center for Adult and Continuing Education, the American University in Cairo.

Hu, X. (2009). Survey and cognitive analysis of second language listening comprehension problems. Journal of Yunmeng, 30, 142–145.

Hussain, S. M., Albasher, B, K., & Salam, A. (2016). An evaluation of preparatory year program at Qassim University , Saudi Arabia: Possible innovations and reforms in the existing administrative/academic systems in English language unit. Journal of American Academic Research, 4 (4), 1-27.

Jafari, K., & Hashim, F. (2015). Comparison of normal and moderately slow speech rates: listening to students’ voices in listening comprehension classes in EFL context. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching in the Islamic World, 3(3), 5-11.

Kassem, H. (2015). The relationship between listening strategies used by Egyptian EFL college sophomores and their listening comprehension and self-efficacy. English Language Teaching, 8 (2),  153 – 169.  DOI:10.5539/elt.v8n2p153

Kazouz, I. (2014). An investigation of listening problems encountered by EFL learners: A case study of second year license of English at UKMO. (Unpublished Master’s Thesis.)  University of Ouargla, Algeria.

Kurita, T. (2012). Issues in second language listening comprehension and the pedagogical implications. Accents Asia, 5(1), 30–44.

Long, N. L., & Tanh, T, T. (2016). EFL teachers’ perception and instruction in listening classes. Asian Journal of Educational Research, 4(3), 1–10.

Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J. (2010). Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication across Cultures (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Mahboob, A., & Elyas, T. ( 2017 ). English in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. World Englishes33 (1), 128 – 148.

Mendelsohn D. J. (1995). Applying listening strategies in the second/foreign language listening comprehension lesson. In D. J. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.). A Guide for the Teaching of Second Language Listening (pp. 132-150). San Diego, CA: Dominic Press.

Mendelsohn, D. J. (1998). Teaching listening. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 81–101.

Milton, J., Wade, J., & Hopkins, N. (2010). Aural word recognition and oral competence in a foreign language. In R. C. Beltrán, C. Abello-Contesse, & M. del Mar Torreblanca-López, (Eds.), Insights into non-native vocabulary teaching and learning (pp. 83–98). UK: Multilingual Matters.

Morley, J. (1991). Listening comprehension in second/foreign language instruction. In M. Celce-Murcia (ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp. 81-106). Boston, MA: Heinle and Heinle.

Namaziandost, E.,  Sabzevari, A.,  & Hashemifardnia, A. (2018) .The effect of cultural materials on listening comprehension among Iranian upper-intermediate EFL learners: In reference to gender. Cogent Education, 5(1),1-27. DOI: 10.1080/2331186X.2018.1560601

Nation, I. S. P. (2006). How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? The Canadian Modern Language Review63(1), 59–82.

Noorozi, S., Tam, S. S., Nimehchisalem, V., and Zareian, G. (2014). Developing an instrument for Iranian EFL learners’ listening comprehension problems and listening strategies. Advances in Language and Literacy Studies, 5(3), 63–69. DOI:10.7575/aiac.alls.v.5n.3p.63

Nowrouzi, S., Tam, S. S., Zareian, G., & Nimehchisalem, V. (2015). Iranian EFL students’ listening comprehension problems. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(2), 263–269. DOI: 10.17507/tpls.0502.05

Ockey,  G.  J.  (2007).  Construct  implications  of  including  still  image  or  video  in  computer-based  listening  tests. Language Testing, 24(4), 517–537.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, Inc.

Paran, A. (1996). Reading in ESL: Facts and fictions. ELT Journal, 50(1), 25–34.

Purdy, M. (1997). What is listening? In M. Purdy & D. Borisoff (eds.) Listening in Everyday Life. A Personal and Professional Approach (2nd ed., pp. 1-20). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Rajaei, Z. (2015). The role of pre-listening activities on EFL learners’ listening comprehension. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, 3(10), 35–43.

Rallis, S., & Casey, C. (2005). Language and cultural diversity in U.S. schools. London: Praeger.

Renukadevi, D. (2014). The role of listening in language acquisition; the challenges & strategies in teaching listening, International Journal of Education and Information Studies, 4(1), 59–63.

Richards, J. C. (2005). Second thoughts on teaching listening. A Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 36(1), 85–92

Richards, J. C. (2008). Teaching listening and speaking. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R (2010). Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied Linguistics (4th ed.)London and New York: Longman.

Rost, M. (2002). Teaching and researching listening. New York, NY: Longman.

Rost, M. (2005). L2 Listening. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 503–527). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Samovar, L. A., Porter, R.E., & Jain, N. C. (1981). Understanding intercultural communication. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Scarcella, R., & Oxford, R. (1992). The Tapestry of Language Learning: The Individual in the Communicative Classroom. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Shahid, H. S., & Ali, Z. (2017). Saudi Elf learners’ attitude towards integration of video-podcasts in listening comprehension, European Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 2 (2). 130-157. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.891447

Steinberg, S. (2007). An Introduction to Communication Studies. Cape Town, South Africa : Juta and Company Ltd.

Sun, L., & Li, J. (2008). Problem-solving model of listening comprehension strategies used by Chinese EFL learners. Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages, 31, 49–53.

Underwood, M. (1989). Teaching listening. Harlow, England: Longman.

Ur Rahman, M. M., & Alhaisoni, E. (2013). Teaching English in Saudi Arabia: Prospects and challenges. Academic Research International, 4(1), 112–118.

Vandergrift, L. (2003). From prediction through reflection: guiding students through the process of second language listening. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(3), 425-440. DOI: 10.3138/cmlr.59.3.425

Wang, J. (2011). Culture Differences and English Teaching. English Language Teaching, 4(2), 22-230. DOI:10.5539/elt.v4n2p223

Wolvin. (2010). Listening and Human Communication in the 21st Century. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Zhang, Z., & Zhang, J. (2011). Developing a listening comprehension problem scale for university students’ metacognitive awareness. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 8(3), 161–189.

Zohrabi, M., & Sabour, M. (2015). The impact of pre-listening activities on Iranian EFL learner’s listening comprehension of authentic English movies. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature, 3(2), 42–56.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on tumblr
Tumblr
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon
Share on digg
Digg
https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol11no3.22
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on tumblr
Share on digg
Share on email
Share on reddit
Share on stumbleupon
Share on vk

Dr. Mohammad Hamad Al-khresheh is an assistant professor of applied linguistics at Northern
Border University, Saudi Arabia. His areas of research interest include but not limited to second
language acquisition, teaching methods, psycholinguistics, and translation.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8647-8854