The Impact of Vocabulary Preteaching and Content Previewing on the Listening Comprehension of Arabic-Speaking EFL Learners

Dukhayel Aldukhayel
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 26  •  2023  •  pp. 023-038

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of pre-listening activities on Arabic-speaking EFL learners’ comprehension of spoken texts.

This study aims to contribute to the current research and to increase our understanding about the effectiveness of pre-listening activities. Specifically, this study seeks to clarify some of the research in this area that seems to be incongruent.

The study investigates two widely implemented activities in second language (L2) classrooms: vocabulary preteaching and content previewing. Ninety-three native-Arabic speaking EFL learners, whose proficiently levels were beginner, intermediate, or advanced, were randomly assigned to a control group or one of three experimental groups: the vocabulary-only (VO) group, content-only (CO) group, or vocabulary + content (VC) group. Each of the experimental groups received one of the treatments to determine which pre-listening activity was more effective and whether additional pre-listening activities yield additional comprehension. Listening comprehension of the aural text was measured by a test comprising 13 multiple-choice and true-false questions.

The present study provided additional explanations regarding the long-standing contradicting results about vocabulary preteaching and content previewing.

The results showed that pre-listening activities had a positive impact on Arabic-speaking EFL learners’ listening comprehension, with the VO group significantly increasing their scores on the posttest compared to those of the control or other groups. Vocabulary preteaching was particularly beneficial for more advanced learners. With regard to which pre-listening activity contributed the most to better listening comprehension, vocabulary preteaching was the most effective. Content previewing did not increase comprehension for the CO group and had no additional benefit for the VC group.

This paper recommends that researchers explore new pre-listening activities that have never studied. Future research should be extended to include other nations and contextual situations to extend our knowledge about the effect of pre-listening activities. As far as listening comprehension can only be achieved when listeners are attentive and engaged, the listening text should be interesting and the lexical coverage of the listening text should be appropriate for all participants.

The results are to be interpreted carefully because they are limited by the students’ L2 proficiency, demographic, and cultural backgrounds (i.e., first language (L1) proficiency, age, gender, Middle Eastern culture). Results might be quite different if the study was conducted with different populations who have different life and language learning experiences (Vandergrift & Baker, 2015). Therefore, the results of this study indicate there is much room for improvement and a need for further research.

Arabic-speaking EFL learners, content previewing, L2 listening, pre-listening activities, vocabulary preteaching
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