“Excellent results” of teaching listening at a Saudi University: Appearance and reality

Syed Md Golam Faruk, Mohammad Reazur Rahman

Abstract


The paper investigates the difference between the appearance and reality of “excellent results” that 49 university students obtained in their listening course which was designed to deal with the lowest learning domain of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (RBT)—“remember” (Anderson et al., 2001). The subjects of this study were the students from the department of Engineering who were studying English at their foundation course in King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. The mean scores of the regular test based on “remember” given at the end of the semester were compared with those of another similar test based on “remember” and “understand” of RBT (Anderson et al., 2001) given after three weeks of the regular test. The statistical analysis of the results shows that the students’ memorization of some words and phrases help them identify the same words and phrases in new context but it does not help them answer “understand” questions. The students who did excellent in “remember” questions did miserably bad in “understand” questions.  The paper finds that the only reason the students can perform well on their final exams is that the listening texts they listen to are the carbon copies of what they listened and read (transcripts) throughout the semester—the students are simply being asked to apply well rehearsed schemata for specific kinds of task. The paper also finds that this achievement is practically meaningless because it does not develop the students’ understanding and higher level cognitive skills like “apply”, “analyze”, “evaluate”, and “create” (Anderson et al., 2001).


Keywords


Saudi Arabia, listening, listening test, Bloom's taxonomy.

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