The Effects of the Provision of Topical Knowledge on EFL Learners' Listening Performance

  • Received : 20110100
  • Published : 2011.03.30


Listening has been a neglected research area despite the crucial role it plays. The present investigation was aimed at examining how the provision of topical knowledge and learners' listening proficiency level affect learners' listening performance under four different preparatory activity conditions: topical knowledge, vocabulary list, language structure, and no activity. A total of 134 participants, assigned to the four different activity groups, took part in the study. The results revealed that the learners who were provided with topical knowledge before listening performed significantly better than the other learners, followed by the vocabulary list group and language structure group, which might be attributed to the activation of their content schemata. The learners who did not perform any preparatory activities achieved the lowest scores. When it comes to the impact of listening proficiency, it was revealed that learners' proficiency level had a significant influence on learners' listening performance, and there was a significant interaction between the learners' level of listening proficiency and preparatory activity. Providing relevant knowledge was effective for both higher level and lower level learners, whereas teaching vocabulary before listening was effective for higher level learners but was not for lower level ones. Based on the results, some pedagogical implications and suggestions for future research were discussed.