An most central of the four language skills for

An indispensable skill in acquiring a foreign
language is listening that must be defined as a problem-solving skill. The
significance of listening skill in foreign language acquisition cannot be
ignored at all due to the fact that it is indeed through listening by which one
can obtain language input in order to master language. Without imbibing
adequately understandable input, learners studying of language cannot be
occurred, which is declared by Aneiro (1989). That listening skill is crucial in language
classrooms due to providing input for students is the similar declaration,
which was both advocated and approved by Bacon (1992). What plays an integral
role in learners’ language progress is listening, as an input skill. Only the
ability to hear the linguistic material to obtain language cannot be
sufficient, people must comprehend them simultaneously, in conformity with
Krashen (1985). Hence, this is over receiving comprehensible language input
that language acquisition can be accomplished predominantly. “Without
understanding inputs at right level, any kind of learning simply cannot occur”
(Blau, 1991,
p. 54).

Consequently, listening evidences a vital
precedence between the four skill areas for language learners because of being
a fundamental language skill. “Listening comprehension provides the right
conditions for language acquisition and development of other language skills”,
in line with the statement of Chen (2005) (p.138).

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        Since students can be both able to
increase acquaintance of the target language and obtain worthwhile linguistic
input to construct language proficiency through listening, it is more likely to
be frequently recognized as the most central of the four language skills for
EFL students. Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that to attain linguistic
knowledge, simple exploitation of listening information cannot be the only
possibly adequate approach. Listeners as language learners should not be
defined only as listener of language since a normally typical student need also
to be active through the procedure of studying, which is indeed so far from
simply interpreting the auditory demonstrations.

      
Nevertheless, the incipient work on second language listening relied
exclusively on passive, bottom-up view (Chamot, 2004). The result of the simply
heard materials eventuated in interpreting problems in second language
listening and listening comprehension. To solve the issue, it was believed that
during the listening process, listeners must make a mental summary so that it
can be used to paraphrase the original contents of utterer speech. To
appreciate the speaker’s gist learners must modify various ilk of material,
which is stated by Carrier (2003). A listener, a text and a speaker are
encompassed in listening. An active process is a procedure in which the
improvement of listening takes place.

In the early twentieth century, the Audio
Lingual Method (ALM) in the U.S. and Situational Language Teaching in the U.K.
subjugated the field of language pedagogy was subjugated by two teaching
approaches: the Audio Lingual Method (ALM) in the U.S. and Situational Language
Teaching in the U.K.. Speaking as well as listening skills were accentuated
within these methods in language teaching. The teachings syllables were on
pattern practice, slight couple drills and pronunciation practice intended to
improve speech conducts corresponding to the way by which native speaker’s
speak, in ALM.

Richards and Rodgers (2001) stated that the
highly accentuation of this method was chiefly upon the precise exploitation of
pronunciation and structures during speaking in the target language even if all
of these processes occurred in oriental orders. The natural and unplanned
exploitation of such fresh language in dialogue received only a ting of attention.

In addition, the intentions of other succeeding
approaches such as Silent way, Community Language Learning, and Suggestopedia
highlighted oral language proficiency. The capability to speak the selected
language through a pronunciation, which must be close to native ones, was
well-thought-out as the rudimentary language mastery, within all of these
methods. Possessing grammatical knowledge of the language was dominant albeit
these fresh approaches instilled the motivation of further interactive language
utilization in students.

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) came to
exist in the 1960s due to the insufficiency that had been observed in such
methods. The aim of CLT was the acknowledgment of language as a means for both
active and comprehensible communication, and that is why comprehensible
pronunciation, as an instance, within such method, is of highly significant
aspect than anything else including native-like pronunciation. The same amount
of significance was given by CLT to both the functional and the structural
aspects of language, which is indicated by (Littlewood, 1983; Nunan, 1987). In
order to utilize authentic language, the students require the ability that is
supplied through utilization of comprehensible and interactive actions in CLT.
The motto of CLT turned out to be “Using language to learn it” in lieu of
“Learning language to use it” (Widdowson, 1978).  As the imperative language aims both fluency
and accuracy, participated in purposeful frameworks within the approach also,
were highlighted. 

            Because of the importance of
listening comprehension ability, the present research is going to find out the effect of Audio-lingual method (ALM) versus Communicative Language Teaching
techniques (CLT) on
intermediate EFL learners’ listening comprehension ability.

1.1.          
Purpose
of the Study

In the current research the effect of ALM versus CLT techniques on listening
comprehension ability of female Iranian EFL learners in English Institute was
investigated. The most significant aspect of the present research is its relationship with
the practicality of the research. The English language has been considered one
of the key component in keeping up with the globalization trend in Iran.
Therefore English has been a compulsory subject in the Iranian educational curriculum,
and knowledge of the English language is looked upon as top priority for all
Iranian at all levels. This situation has created great demands in developing
effective and efficient learning and teaching models in English education.
Likewise, the students and the teachers have paid more attention to CLT
instructional approaches in order to help Iranian EFL learners to have native
like proficiency in the English language. To shed more light on the
practicality of different method of teaching EFL listening, the current study
aimed to compare the effectiveness of ALM versus CLT methods on Iranian EFL listening
comprehension.

 

1.3.
Statement of the Problem

Forming
accurate expressions, consuming these expressions appropriately in myriad
contexts, and a learners’ ability to perform through the grammatical rules
consumption all go back to the concept of communicative competence. The
development of all aspects of communicative competence ought to be the
concentration of all foreign language programs so that the pupils’ overall
communicative competence in a target language can be built better. By both a
number of diverse sorts of listening materials and processes learners can
increase their listening skills (Harmer, 2007).

            The involvement of all types of knowledge
of learners to construe the meaning confirm the intricacy of listening skill.
The proper insinuations, that are indispensable to understand the message, can
be made much easier if the hearer be cognizant of the presented text, and
relates it to his or her background knowledge (ibid).

            Several researchers in the field of
second and foreign language (L2) listening, as mentioned by Cohen (2000), reach
agreement on the notion listening tasks deliver by listeners usually do not
manipulating these strategies in an effective way. L2 listening researchers are
more likely to have similar condolence that listening ought to be considered as
a skill that demands the usage of strategy, that must be taught to learner
about the howness of their precise exploitation in order to perceive  development in their listening ability.
Seferoglu and Uzakgoren in 2004 mentioned that listening does not treated by
great respect in as much, which is expected. As result if it, learners are less
likely to be adequately taught about the listening strategies.

           Unfortunately, listening skills are
not often taught explicitly in spite of the regularity of listening activity in
classrooms (Newton, 1990). “Most teachers teach, assuming that because they are
talking, their students are listening” (Swanson, 1996).

             Listening can be the most difficult task or
skill among the others to most language learners in most of the language areas,
from which it is possible to partially observe that effective listening
instruction is the neglected part of the most language teaching programs, which
demonstrate itself further clear when most language learners complain about not
being capable to “listen” or “hear” properly. Also, it is perceived that
students are incognizant of some pertinent facts such as the listening nature,
how to develop their listening, and how to quell the listening comprehension
issues happening during the listening in general about listening. With this
lack of research in mind, the present research is going to investigate the effect of Audio-lingual method (ALM) versus
Communicative Language Teaching techniques (CLT) on intermediate EFL learners’ listening
comprehension ability. It will provide more insights about the efficiency of
various modes of listening instruction.

 

1.4.          
Significance of the Study

After a substantial argument in the L2
literature upon the significance of listening comprehension, it was spotlighted
as an independent and essential element of language learning. The listening
comprehension received further concentration in the 1970s as well as a
metaphorical shift happened, from the embryonic status of listening, which was
mainly unimportant in as such that only by the fate of life students could work
on listening tasks, to a highest prominence status of being examined
explicitly.

     
That focusing on listening comprehension, particularly in the incipient
levels of second language learning/ teaching, generates four diverse kinds of
advantages: cognitive, efficiency, utility, and affective led the importance of
listening in language learning to be realized properly when it was stated by
Gary (1975). An additionally natural way to learn the language is given to
students through an early acquaintance of listening which eventuate in the
cognitive improvement. Before speaking, listening ought to be emphasized
because recognition knowledge must be defined as a necessity to process and
decode the auditory input, while retrieval knowledge must be known as
obligatory to translate and produce speech. Begin by focusing on speaking at
the early levels eventuates in few attentions for listening, which lead to the
lackage of comprehension.

        
When the requirement to speak instantly is not demanded from students,
and only listen to the language is required, language learning becomes more
efficient. Since learners are open only to good representations of the language
such as the teacher and authentic recordings, such initial accentuation on
listening is efficient.

Utility also recognized as the third advantage,
as its name suggest the utilization of language divulges practicality of the
approachable skill. In line with research in the fields of communication, the
statistics demonstrate that when adults communicate, they devote 40-50% of
communication time to listening, 25-30 % speaking, 9 % writing, and about 11-16
% reading (Rivers in Gilman and Moody, 1984), which makes it clear that the
highest utilization of comprehension skills are listening and reading
indeed.  

     
Affective advantage is the ultimate benefit of listening concentration
through the infancy stages. When students are coerced to create initial oral
production, they undergo a shameful condition which often results in
unmotivated feeling to speak. Nevertheless, learners can relax and be attentive
in improving the listening skill, by which the other language skills can be
occurred due to the absence of such pressure, that all lead to instill more
motivation to study into students and to maintain further their learning
process because of their former accomplishment.

      
Moreover, through the arrival of communicative and proficiency-oriented
approaches to language teaching, which has highlighted listening within all
levels of language learning, listening was no longer underestimated in second
language acquisition, is crucial to be noted.  

The
current researcher intends to investigate the
effect of Audio-lingual method (ALM) versus
Communicative Language Teaching techniques (CLT) on intermediate EFL learners’ listening
comprehension ability.

 

1.5. Research Questions and Hypothesis

The question that this
study seeks to find its answer is:

·       
Research
Question: Does Audio-lingual method (ALM) versus
Communicative Language Teaching techniques (CLT) significantly affect Iranian intermediate EFL
learners’ listening comprehension ability?

            In step with the above-mentioned research
question, the researcher poses the following research Hypothesis:

·       
Research
Null Hypothesis:
Audio-lingual method (ALM) versus
Communicative Language Teaching techniques (CLT) does not have any effect on Iranian
intermediate EFL learners’ listening comprehension ability.

 

1.6. Definition of Key Terms

The followings are some definitions of the key terms of the
present study:

 1.6.1. Listening
Comprehension

To comprehend the native dialogue at normal
pace in an unplanned condition is the goal of listening comprehension, on the
word of Chastain (1971). A rational phenomenon can be associated with listening
comprehension since listeners make an attempt to create a meaning during
gaining the information from the listening source. Consequently, listening
process must be known as “the ability of one individual perceiving another via
sense, aural organs, assigning a meaning to the message and comprehending it”.
That listening is the elementary skill in language learning is indicated by
Nunan (1998) in as such that though its absence, the effective communication
cannot be possible to students forever.

 1.6.2.
Reactive Performance

 Reactive
performance requires the teacher to enable learners to listen to the surface
structure of an utterance and to repeat what they had heard.

1.6.3.
Intensive performance 

Intensive
performance emphasizes components of spoken language or listeners’
bottom-up level such as phonemes, sounds, words, intonation, discourse markers
and grammatical structures.

1.6.4.
Communicative Language Teaching

As a
reaction to preceding methodological principles, like those encompassed
Audiolingualism or Grammar-Translation, CLT appears, as a repercussion
conversely. To improve communicative competence, to move “beyond grammatical
and discourse elements in communication” and investigate on the “nature of
social, cultural, and pragmatic features of language” are the main objectives
of CLT (Brown, 1994, p. 77). Therefore, it can be drawn that students are
supposed to be able of communicating and being fluent rather than expressing
precisely grammatical sentences or to be accurate completely. Hence, classroom
language learning is associated with real-life communication, authentic
examples of language, discourse or contextualized chunks than any separate
items are engaged without any restrains, which provide learners tools for
producing spontaneous language outside the limited area of the classroom.

 

 

1.7.          
Delimitations and Limitations

During the process of completing this study,
there were some limitations which made it take longer time to accomplish the
goals which were set at the very beginning of the study. One of the most
important problems was limited number of participants who were pre-intermediate
English learners in Shokoh’s Language Institute in Lahijan. Sixty two
intermediate learners were selected as the participants of the current study,
however, two participants did not take part fully in the study; therefore, they
were regarded as the subject mortality. As a result, the researcher had to
continue the research with 30 learners in the each group. In addition, some of
the participants did not cooperate in completing the tests honestly since some
factors were out of control in this study, for example, personality factors
such as aptitude, the students’ attitude and motivation, their interest and so
on.

      One
of the delimitations of this study was intermediate level of the participants
which was considered as a control variable. Moreover, among different methods
of listening comprehension instruction, this study dealt with the effect of CLT
method and ALM method on EFL listening.