The Effect of Bottom-up/Top- down Techniques on Lower vs. Upper -Intermediate EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Islamic Azad University,Tabriz Branch

2 Islamic Azad University, Shiraz Branch

Abstract

Listening is regarded as an interactive process involving decoding of information. This study was launched to find out the impact of bottom-up (BU) and top-down (TD) techniques on Iranian lower and upper intermediate learners’ listening comprehension. We selected a total of 120 participants in six intact classes, three lower intermediate and three upper intermediate. The proficiency level of the groups was further verified and groups at each proficiency level were randomly assigned as a BU group who were engaged in BU activities during the pre-listening stage of each lesson throughout the eight-session treatment, a TD group who performed TD activities, and a control group (CG) for whom no pre-listening attention focusing activities were used. The One-way and Two-way analysis of variance of the listening post-test scores indicated that the lower-intermediate BU group and the upper-intermediate TD group did significantly better compared to the other groups. The findings suggest that BU processing activities were more effective at lower intermediate level while TD processing activities played a more facilitative role for upper intermediate participants. The findings support the interaction between proficiency level and information processing techniques and imply a number of pedagogical implications.

Keywords


Allan, D. (2005). Oxford placement test 1B2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Anderson, J. R. (1995). Cognitive psychology and its implications (4th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.
Batova, N. (2013). Academic listening: Is there a place for bottom-up processing? International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-10.
Broersma, M., & Cutler, A. (2008). Phantom word activation in L2. System, 36(1), 22-34.
Bozorgian, H., & Pillay, H. (2013) Enhancing foreign language learning through listening strategies delivered in L1: An experimental study. International Journal of Instruction, 6(1), 105-122.
Buck, G. (1995). How to become a good listening teacher. In D. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 113–128). San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.
Chen, A. (2013). EFL listeners’ strategy development and listening problems: A process-based study. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 10(3), 81-101.
Danial, K. J., & Polloway, S. (2005). Advance organizers: Activating and building schema for more successful learning in participants with disabilities. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from www.www.kelseyradwick.com     
Field, J. (2004). An insight into listeners’ problems: Too much bottom-up or too much top-down? System, 32(3), 363-377.
Fuente, M. J. (2012). Learners’ attention to input during focus on form listeningtasks: The role of mobile technology in the second language classroom. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from www.tanfonline.com.
Goh, C. (2008). Metacognitive instruction for second language listening development: Theory, practice and research implications. RELC Journal, 39(2), 188–213.
Goh, C. C. M. (2000). A cognitive perspective on language learners’ listening comprehension problems. System, 28(1), 55-75.
Griffiths, R. (1991). Pausological research in an L2 context: A rationale, and review of selected studies. Applied Linguistics, 12(4), 345-64.
Hall, M. (2007). Phonological characteristics of Farsi speakers of English and l1 Australian English speakers’ perceptions of proficiency. (Unpublished     master’s thesis). University of Curtin, Croatia.
Hasan, A. (2000). Learners’ perceptions of listening comprehension problems. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 13(2), 137-153.
Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis. London: Longman.
Kurita, T. (2012). Issues in second language listening comprehension and the pedagogical implications, Accents Asia, 5(1), 30-44.
Lin, C. Y., & Wang, H. C. (2006, May). Language identification using pitch contour information in the ergodic Markov model. In Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, 2006. ICASSP 2006 Proceedings. 2006 IEEE International Conference on (Vol. 1, pp. I-I). IEEE.
Lingzhu, J. (2003). Training the university English learners to predict in listening class. Retrieved February 24, 2013, from www.eric.ed.gov, ED 482582.
Liu, N. F. (2002). Processing problems in L2 listening comprehension of university students in Hong Kong (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Hong Kong University, Hong Kong. Retrieved on June 3, 2014 from www.ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 3074191).
Lopez, A. O. (2004). Information and inference as combined cognitive process. Interdisciplinaria, (ESP), 23-34.
Masalimova, A., R., Porchesku, G., V., & Liakhnovitch, T., L. (2016). Linguistic foundation of foreign language listening comprehension. Mathematics Education, 11(1), 123-131. 
McLaughlin, B. (1990). Restructuring.  Applied Linguistics, 11, 113-128.
Navalpakkam, V., & Itti, L. (2006). An integrated model of top-down and bottom-up attention for optimizing detection speed. Paper presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference, Computer Society Conference, IEEE 2, 2049-2056.
Nowrouzi, S., Tam, S. S., Nimehchisalem, V., & Zareian, G. (2014). Developing an instrument for Iranian EFL learners’ listening comprehension problems and listening strategies. Advances in Language and Literacy Studies, 5(3).
Pritchard, A. (2009). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (2nd  ed.). London: Routledge. 
Rahimi, A. H. (2012). On the role of strategy use and strategy instruction inlistening comprehension, Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(3), 550-559.
Richards, J. C. (2008). Teaching listening and speaking. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, L., Dockrell, J., & Tomlinson, P. (1997). Piaget, Vygotsky and beyond: Futureissues for developmental psychology and education. London: Rutledge.
Stanovich, K. E. (2000). Progress in understanding reading (9th ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Vandergrift, L. (2013). Listening: Theory and practice in modern foreign language competence. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from www.llas.ac.uk.
Vandergrift, L. (2003). Orchestrating strategy use: Toward a model of the skilled second language listener. Language Learning, 53(3), 463-496.
Vandergrift, L. (2004). Listening to learn or learning to listen? Annual Review ofApplied Linguistics, 24, 3-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0267190504000017
Vandergrift, L., & Goh, C. C. M. (2012). Teaching and learning second language listening. New York: Routledge.
Vargas, V. O., & Gonzalez, D. M. (2009). Applying bottom-up listening strategies to eighth grade in a public school. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from www. epositorio.utp.edu.coll
Xie, X. (2005). The influence of schema theory on foreign language reading comprehension. The English Teacher, 34, 65-67.
Yantis, S. (2004). Visual attention: Bottom-up versus top-down. Current Biology, 14, 850-872.