Author: Lesley Young
Date of Publication: September 2012
Series Title: Scottish Languages Review
Notes: Issue 25
Listening is recognised as the most difficult of the four skills to be mastered when acquiring a second or foreign language. These difficulties are particularly acute for learners of English or French, which are not phonetic languages. Pupils making the transition from Standard Grade to Higher French also find it difficult to cope with having to listen to an extended conversation in French for the first time, to which several questions are attached. This project investigated and attempted to address the problems encountered by pupils. Over the short period of the project, and working with a small group of only nine pupils, there was moderate improvement in listening ability and strategy use. Using a Metacognitive Awareness Listening Questionnaire (MALQ) and learning logs allowed the class teacher to gain insights into how pupils approach listening and the barriers to listening faced, and facilitated formative feedback of a high quality. Although pupils generally did not report greater levels of confidence about listening, there is qualitative evidence to indicate that they do not attribute success in listening to external or arbitrary factors, believing that they can and will improve over time. The findings of the research project are sufficient to lead to the conclusion that the work carried out had an impact.
Keywords: Scotland, Higher French, listening, strategy instruction