This study was designed to identify the strategies that can be
used to improve listening comprehension among junior secondary school students
in Nsukka Education Zone. Descriptive survey design was adopted for the study.
To carry out the study, a review of literature was done in order to determine
the extent of work already done and to know the area to focus attention on.
Three research questions and two hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
The hypotheses were tested at alpha level of 0.05 level of significance. A
sample of 108 English language teachers was drawn from 35 public schools in
Nsukka Education Zone. Three (3) sets of carefully structured fifty seven (57)
item questionnaires were developed by the researcher and validated by research
experts in Education. These sets of questionnaires were used in collecting
relevant data from the respondents. Mean score and standard deviation were used
to collate and analyze the data. At the end of the study, it was found out that
most of the identified strategies and skills enhance listening comprehension in
students. The hypothesis that there is no significant difference in the mean
ratings of male and female English language teachers in the strategies they use
for improving listening comprehension in students was accepted. The study also
shows that there is no significant difference in the mean ratings of N.C.E. and
Degree English language teachers in the teaching strategies they use for
improving listening comprehension in students. It was also found out that
listening skill is the most neglected of all the language skills. It is not
even well taught in schools. The researcher therefore recommends that teachers
should be trained on this language skill so that they can help the students.
The curriculum planners, the government and the students should play their
parts effectively so as to enhance listening comprehension among
Background of the study
Language is one of the most powerful endowments of
man by the creator and listening is embedded in language and enhances it. Based
on this fact, it seems necessary to begin by looking at the concept of language
according to some writers.
(2007:202) sees language as,“…a fathomless and intangible asset for effective
communication to humanity right from the time of creation.” As a matter of
fact, without language, the existence of man on this earth would have been so
boring and uninteresting. Naldman in Azikiwe (1998) is of the opinion that
language is a system of articulated sounds organized by human thoughts and used
by a group of humans for the purposes of communication. Similarly, for Richards
and Rodgers (1995), “Language is a vehicle for communicating meanings and
messages.” Hornby (2000) sees language as, “…human and non- instinctive method
of communicating ideas, feelings and desires by means of a system of sounds and
symbols”. According to Corder (1975) :
We do not teach language for its own sweet sake… we teach
language so that our pupils can communicate and be communicated with, so that
they may convey meanings and understand meaning, so that they may enter into
satisfactory mutual relations with native speakers or writers of the language.
(1999) states that, “Language development proceeds more or less in four
sequential stages, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing.” Each of
these stages is necessary for the total language development of the learner.
This study focuses on one of the four major skills in language development,
which is listening.
students to improve in their listening skill, there must be certain strategies
to be adopted.
Kirkpatrick (1982:521) defines strategy as, “…the art of guiding, forming or
carrying out a plan.” Hornby A. S; Cowie, A. P; Gimson, A, C. (2000)
defines strategy as, “…skills in managing any affair.” With reference to this
topic, these definitions all point to the skills, actions, plans and approaches
for improving listening comprehension in our students.
has a vital role to play in language learning and acquisition. It is the first
and very important stage in language development. When a child is born into a
language environment, he or she is incapable of speaking any other language.
Being incapable at this stage to communicate linguistically, the child engages
in a very active listening to sounds he or she hears around. It is in the
process of this active listening that the structure of his language – phonology
and grammar form a pattern in his language acquisition device. The child begins
to understand that sounds are related to words, and consequently, they become
meaningful to him. As the active listening stage is consolidated and the sounds
and expressions of the language make cumulative impact on the child, he or she
begins to try out his mental memory of language system in actual speech. He now
begins to show greater zeal to join his speech community.
be noted that the problem of listening comprehension does not end at
pre-primary school level but also extends through primary to secondary school
level, especially in the junior classes where it is even worse. This is because
the learner has acquired basic knowledge of his mother tongue and combining
both languages now becomes very difficult. In view of this problem, Orias
(1986:6) advises that, “It is useful for him to be explicitly
taught the phoneme inventory of the language and to be guided on how to produce
has long been the neglected skill in second language (L2) teaching, learning
and assessment. Nunan (`1998) states that, “Second language listening
comprehension is a complex process and crucial in the development of second
language (L2) competence; yet, the importance of listening in language learning
has only been recognized relatively recently.” According to the writers, “Since
the role of listening comprehension in language learning was overlooked, it
merited little research and pedagogical attention in the past.” According to
Otagburuagu, Obah, Onuigbo and Okorji (2007:1), “Although listening is an
important skill used and needed at every moment of daily living by all and
sundry, it is the most neglected in the teaching of language arts, especially
in Nigeria.” Azikiwe (1998:110) states that, “Some people feel that since all
teaching and learning situations involve a great deal of listening, the skills
are being taught simultaneously with other language skills.” This assumption is
wrong and shows how listening is taken for granted. It is important to note
that in the classroom situation, most of the time, listening occurs while the
teacher or others speak. Listening is therefore compulsory for learning and so
help should be given to students for efficient listening, since the purpose of
listening in class is to acquire and retain information for future use. Neville
(1985) found that, “Good listeners made good readers, while poor listeners are
most often poor readers too.” Some other research results have proved this
statement right. For example Garrod (1986) and Cole and Jakimik (1980).
Nooteboom (1983) also has suggested that, “Speech production is affected by
speech perception; the hearer has become an important factor in communication
discourse.” This illustrates the need to integrate pronunciation with
communicative activities; to give the students situations to develop their
pronunciation by listening and speaking. De Boer, kaufers and Miller (1951)
cited in Azikiwe (1998) lament that, “Thousands of studies have been conducted
in the other three components of communication while that on how listening can
be improved is still extra-ordinarily scarce.” As a result of this neglect by
teachers, students, researchers, school administrators and curriculum planners,
students performance has been adversely affected not only in English language
as a subject but also in other subjects because all other subjects are taught
using the English language which is the official language. This has been
attributed to lack of comprehension of spoken utterance. A close examination of
senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) November /December 2002,
2005 and 2007 chief examiners’ report on English Language reveals that,
“Generally the performances of the candidates were not impressive.”
According to the chief examiners, represented by Ndow, O. A.
(2002- 2005) and Djangmah (2007), “The main weakness of the candidates has to
do with insufficient exposure to the language skills, especially the listening
and speaking skills.” They went further to advise teachers at the
secondary school level to always try and expose the candidates to speech and
vocabulary development in order to remedy these problems.
the importance of listening in one’s life, a lot of problems arise among
learners of English as a second language. These problems are caused by some
factors, which are physical and psychological. Here, if the listener is sick or
has no interest in the topic of the speaker, he may not pay full attention to
what is being said. The second is environmental factor. If the environment is
not conducive, students cannot listen successfully. For example, a noisy
environment (noise from cars, market, factories, lack of seats in the
classroom, dilapidated buildings . Another problem is linguistic factor,
whereby the mother tongue of the learner interferes with the target language.
The inadequate vocabulary of the listener is also a problem. There is also the
pedagogical factor, which has to do with inadequate teaching competence and
content mastery on the part of the teacher. Attempts are not made by
teachers in secondary schools to improve listening comprehension in students.
This is because most teachers do not know how to go about this. This results in
the students being faced with the problem of aural and oral communication
during and after school life. They also fail English language because they are
not adequately exposed to listening experiences.
problems could however be eliminated if only teachers, students, curriculum
planners and school administrators can adopt good strategies for improving
listening comprehension in students. Some of these strategies would be
identified in this study.
Statement of the Problem
comprehension is very important in one’s daily communication as has been
expressed in the background of this study. It is also discovered that
inadequate attention is given to it and this greatly affects students’
performance badly in English language. This is because students are not
adequately exposed to listening comprehension exercises. Baldeh (1990) is of
the view that, “Poor teaching method is one of the major factors that hinder
listening comprehension in students.” As a result of this, the researcher wants
to determine the strategies that could be employed for improving listening
comprehension in junior secondary school students learning English as a second
Purpose of the study
purpose of this study is to identify the strategies for improving listening
comprehension in English language among junior secondary school students in
Nsukka Education zone of Enugu state. Specifically, the study seeks to:
some comprehension skills,
some listening skills, and
the teaching strategies that can be used to improve listening comprehension in
Significance of the study.
is worthwhile based on the fact that the findings will hopefully be of great
significance to several groups of people. The study will be beneficial to the
Ministry of Education, especially the education policy makers and curriculum
planners in Enugu State. Having made these problems of listening known to them,
they may wish to revisit the education policies and programmes for improvement
in language learning. This group of people will also find in this study a
source of re-assessment on whether or not listening skill should be given a
place in the language curriculum as a topic of discussion in classroom. With
this study also, this group will come to realize that listening is an important
aspect of language and therefore, efforts should be made to organize workshops,
seminars and in-service training for English language teachers from time to
time. This will help update the teachers’ knowledge on effective strategies to
be employed for improving listening comprehension skills in students.
will equally make the teachers to realize that listening should be given equal
treatment with the other three language skills for effective teaching and
learning to take place. The study will also be of great benefit to students
because they are the main benefactors. This is because if the government,
curriculum planners and teachers change their attitude towards listening
positively, students’ listening comprehension will also improve. It will
develop in them the zeal to learn to listen and not just hear. It will also
enable them to know that they need listening not just in the classroom but even
in their individual relationship with others outside school.
study will also be of great help to every person in the society. This is
because as far as one is living with others, there must be communication and
for effective communication to take place, the individuals involved must learn
to listen effectively. As already cited on page 21 of this work, Bulletin
(1952) has it that, “Listening is the fundamental language skill and it
is the medium through which people gain a large portion of their knowledge.”
Scope of the study
is restricted to Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. It is limited to
identifying some strategies that can be used to improve listening comprehension
in English language among students. It will also attempt to find out if the
qualifications of the teachers determine the improvement of listening
comprehension in students. Moreover, an attempt will be made to find out
whether teachers’ sex has any influence on students’ listening comprehension.
are the comprehension skills that can enhance listening comprehension in J.S.S.
111 students in Nsukka Education zone?
What are the listening skills that can promote listening
comprehension among J.S.S. 111 students in Nsukka Education Zone?
How could the use of teaching strategies enhance effective
teaching and learning of listening comprehension among JSS 111 students in
Nsukka Education Zone?
following hypotheses will be tested at alpha level of 0.05.
HO1 There is no significant difference in the
mean ratings of male and female English language teachers in the teaching
strategies they use for improving listening comprehension in J.S.S. 111.
HO2. There is no significant difference in the mean
ratings of N.C.E. holders and degree holders in the teaching strategies they
use for improving listening comprehension in J.S.S. 111 students.