1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Listening comprehension is the process of understanding speech in a second or foreign language (Richards, et al., 1992: 216), They also add that ”The study of’ listening comprehension processes in second language learning focuses on the role of individual linguistic units (e.g. phonemes, words, grammatical structures) as well as the role of the listener’s expectations, the situation and the context, background knowledge and the topic”. Rost (2001: 7) assures that ”The term listening is used in language teaching to refer to a complex process that allows us to understand spoken language”. In addition, Howatt and Dakin (1974, cited in Saricoban 1999) state that listening is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. This process involves understanding a speaker’s accent or pronunciation, his grammar and vocabulary, and comprehending the meaning. An effective listener is able of carrying out the four elements simultaneously.
Based on these definitions, it is clear that listening involves both linguistic and nonlinguistic knowledge. The linguistic knowledge includes understanding of lexis, grammar, phonology, and discourse. The non-linguistic knowledge may include understanding the context or situation, the topic, and the purpose of the interaction
Listening is not only the most important language skill which is overused by people in real life situations, but also a fundamental part of the process of second language learning. So, training in listening comprehension (LC) is necessary to assist students to make the transition from classroom language to real language more easily and effectively.
In other words, it has a vital role in the development of general communication skills and the English language competence.
According to Bulletin (1952 cited in Saricoban, ibid) listening is one of the fundamental language skills through which children, young people and adults gain a large portion of their education, information, background knowledge of the world, ideals, sense of values, and appreciation. Rost (2001: 7) also supports that
”Listening is not only a skill area in language performance, but is also a critical means of acquiring a second language . Thus, in this day of mass communication it is of vital importance to teach pupils to listen effectively and critically
At this point, interpretations of neglecting the listening skill can be put clearly. It is always the most difficult and challenging task for second language (SL) learners (Paulston 1976 and Eastman 1987 cited in Mee, 2001). According to Vandergrift (2007: 191) the characteristic of listening that makes it difficult is that ”Listening is an invisible mental process making it difficult to describe”, so the listener’s task, here, is more challenging. In addition, the listener is engaged in many processes such as discriminating between sounds, understanding vocabulary and grammatical structures, interpreting stress and intonation, remembering and interpreting this within the immediate, as well as the larger socio-cultural context of the utterance (Vandergrift, 2007 and Wipf, 1984: 346). Moreover, it is not often taught and practised, nor possible to go over again what ones heard, whereas it is simple to read and re-read a difficult page in a book (Broughton et. al, 1978: 66).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the major challenges in teaching listening skills in primary schools especially Oba Moshood Government primary school is lack audio aids for teaching. Inadequate facilities is the major poblems in government primary schools. When these audio aids are not provided by the school management it becomes very difficult for the teachers to effectively teach listening skill. In some cases, lack of trained personnel is the challenge faced by school in teaching listening skills, when the school does not have professionals in language skills it becomes difficult to efficiently teach listening skills.
Often times, the school environment is not conducive for learning. When there are so many distraction in the school environment it becomes impossible to concentrate fully thereby making it difficult to teach leaning skills. Specifically, this study is carried out to examine the challenges in teaching listening skills in primary schools using Oba Moshood government primary school Ota in Ogun State as a case study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the challenges in teaching listening skills in primary schools using Oba Moshood government primary school Ota in Ogun State as a case study. The minor objectives are:
1. To find out if there are audio aids to teach listening skills in Oba Moshood government primary school Ota in Ogun State.
2. To find out if there are trained personnel to teach listening skills in primary schools.
3. To ascertain if an unconducive school environment is a major challenge in teaching listening skills in primary schools.
4. To know if pupils’ inattentiveness poses a challenge in teaching listening skills in primary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study are:
1. Are there audio aids to teach listening skills in Oba Moshood government primary school Ota in Ogun State?
2. Are there trained personnel to teach listening skills in primary schools?
3. Is unconducive school environment a major challenge in teaching listening skills in primary schools?
4. Does pupils’ inattentiveness poses a challenge in teaching listening skills in primary schools?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Listening skills is what enables children to learn new languages and lack of proper listening skill it becomes impossible to learn these languages. One of the major language skills in which primary school students get knowledge of what is been taught in school is through the use of their listening skills.
The teacher and curriculum planners place emphasis on the teaching of reading, writing and speaking while the teaching of listening skill is relegated. This is shown from the fact that the time table for language there are lesson period set aside for reading comprehension, composition, writing, oral discussion, but none for either listening comprehension or either activities related to the improvement of listening skills.
The findings from the study helps to enumerate the challenges in teaching listening skills and how these challenges can be handled. These findings are not only useful to teachers but also the school management. It informs the school managements on their responsibilities in tackling the challenges in teaching listening skills in primary schools.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is restricted to examining the challenges in teaching listening skills in primary schools using Oba Moshood government primary school Ota in Ogun State as a case study.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Some of the major constraints the researchers encountered in putting up this research include lack of time, lack of willingness to give information by respondent and also limited resources[email protected].[email protected].