However listening is considered as one of the major skills in language learning, but the number of studies done on this field is less than other skills. Listening skill is less apparent and, so, have received less explicit attention (Chiang & Dunkel, 1992; Morley, 1984; Moyer, 2006; Mendelsohn, 1998; Schmidt-Rinehart, 1994). Scholars were engaged by theorizing strategies to develop what they considered as main elements of language learning and teaching. In this way listening was thought to grow by itself along other strategies with no strategy being devised for its teaching. Nowadays this fact motivated many researchers to pay more attention to this neglected skill. At last the silent heart of language learning (listening) came to be seen as a part without which EFL learners could have no comprehensible input. Based on this fact more and more research is done in this field.
Research has shown that successful learners are autonomous, reflective, and are actively involved in their learning. These learners are aware of how learning takes place and the best learning strategies for themselves. With this understanding, the importance of learning strategies was recognized and teachers were suggested that they train their students in making use of learning strategies for more successful learning experiences (Wenden, 1985).
Mendelsohn (1994) believes that an awareness of the strategies for listening comprehension will form the basis for better listening courses. Similarly, Wenden (1983) underlines the need for strategy training and helping learners become aware of their own language learning experiences.
Therefore, in order to help Iranian EFL learners to develop their listening skill, this study is conducted. In this study the effect of metacognitive listening strategy training on the listening performance of female Iranian EFL beginner learners is of main concern. (E L T V o i c e s — I n d i a (V o l. 3 I s s u e 1) | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 3 p123)
This research sought to investigate the effect of metacognitive strategy training on the listening performance of the participants. The result of the statistical analysis indicated a significant relationship between listening performance and metacognitive strategy use by the participants. When the students are trained how to learn they will become effective learners and know how to cope with the learning task. In completing a listening task learners with metacognitive knowledge about learning process can evaluate the challenges of the task, be informed about their own level of proficiency, and accordingly use the appropriate strategies to successfully accomplish the task. In this way, the experimental group outperformed the control group after the treatment sessions.
Implications and Suggestions for Further Research.
It has been long a general pedagogical fact in Iran that listening instruction is mainly for enhancing students’ learning process. In the present study the focus is more on the complex listening process involving metacognitive strategy instruction and use.
The result of the present study provides some directions for teachers to promote learners’ metacognitive listening strategies of planning, monitoring and evaluation. Teachers may need to introduce the concept of language learning strategies to learners and make learners familiar with the learning strategies. Teachers could provide instruction and practice in using metacognitive strategies, especially in planning, comprehension monitoring, and valuation strategies, which have positive influence on their performance. (| E L T V o i c e s — I n d i a (V o l. 3 I s s u e 1) | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 3)
In the Iranian context, very few textbooks elaborate on listening tasks related to metacognitive strategies. Materials developers should allocate specific sections of listening materials to introduce the concept of strategies, particularly metacognitive strategies.
Using listening strategies increases their awareness about the listening process, which leads to better performance. By practicing metacognitive listening strategies, learners become self-regulated listeners and can succeed in accomplishing different tasks with different levels outside the classroom contexts.
This study calls for further research to tease out the learners’ contribution of different kinds and combination of different data gathering procedure. In this way the same research may be conducted via comparing the results of the study with subjects at different levels of proficiency.
The present study may be replicated while considering other variables such as age and gender. The effect of learners’ metacognitive awareness on their reading comprehension, writing, and speaking ability can also be investigated.
Finally, the researcher hopes the study will be effective in already mentioned areas, and as a concluding note it should be stated that further investigations are needed to be followed on the topic under question.
Pedagogical Implications carried out of the research are defined as in the following items. The data from the empirical study proves that writing approach training is fruitful and it helps to improve the writing performance of the students of vocational colleges. Some implications are drawn from the study.
− The Necessity of Enriching Students’ Positive Writing Experience;
− The Indispensability of Enhancing Students’ Metacognitive Ability and Metacognitive Awareness;
− The Feasibility of Improving Writing via Reading.
− The Significance of Strengthening Students’ Self-Monitoring in Writing.
− The Effectiveness of Stressing Students’ Basic Writing Knowledge.
− The Effectiveness of Explicit, Eliciting Metacognitive Strategy Training.
Although this pilot empirical study has got some encouraging results, there are still some limitations because of the restrictions of the objective conditions and the author’s inadequate academic knowledge.
− The present study is a tentative one, so it is far from perfect owing to the imitations of the researcher’ academic knowledge as well as some objective and subjective limitations. First, the study has somewhat limited sample size and limited training length. Only 86 students from only one vocational college were randomly chosen as subject samples which are quite limited and far from typical and can’t represent the general conditions of EFL students in all vocational college. And the training period only covers 18 weeks and lasts one semester is also quite limited.
− Third, in this study, the researcher didn’t take other factors into account like students’ individual style of cognition, affection, motivation, or social environment, etc.
− Fourth, the present study only explores the effectiveness of metacognitive strategies training and students’ writing performance. The relationship between metacognitive strategies and English proficiency is somehow ignored.
In the light of the above implications and limitations, we can say that this study leaves a number of avenues open for further study.
First, in future research, there is a need to have a larger subject sample size and longer training period. The more subjects and the longer the experiment lasts, the greater reliability and validity it will have.
Second, unlike the present study which only talks about the effect of metacognitive strategy training on writing performance, later research can focus on the impacts on overall English proficiency; and the training can also be carried out in other aspects including vocabulary, listening, speaking and reading so that the influence of metacognitive strategies can be maximally highlighted.
Third, many different variables of cultural background, students’ individual personality, style of cognition, affection, motivation, or social environment, learning style, attitudes and beliefs may affect the use and learning of metacognitive strategies, so future training should taken these variables into account and it should be thoroughly investigated with other learning strategies together, such as cognitive strategies as well as social strategies.
Fourth, in previous studies, researchers chose their participants only by referring to their one writing performance before determining students’ writing ability, which is quite limited; therefore the future researcher may refer to at least two writing performances to confirm students writing ability.
Fifth, the scoring of writing has been always subjective which affects the reliability and validity of participants’ writing performance. Hence, it is a must for the future research to focus on designing more objective scoring guideline.
Sixth, some limitations of the researchers including academic knowledge, personality may hinder certain kinds of investigation, so it is crucial to improve researchers’ professional competence.
To sum up, metacognitive strategy training in English writing is still at an exploratory phase and the present research is the first one conducted in vocational college, needless to say, there exists some limitations, so it is hoped that future researches may overcome them and take warning and offers more valuable information about metacognitive strategy training in writing; and it is desirable that more researches be carried out in vocational colleges and more researchers concern themselves with vocational college students.
Therefore, to some extent, this study has its own characteristics and strong points. As the present study is a tentative one, it is far from perfect and has its inherent weaknesses. Research is on-going, non-stop and continuous cycle within which answers to questions may pose new questions; therefore, the author hopes that this study will offer some stimulus or insight in the field of vocational college English writing.
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