Improving listening skills for third-Year students at Hong Duc University through portfolio

In English teaching, the main objective is to prepare students for communication in the real world and it is very important for a learner to efficiently equip himself with four skills, together with relatively sufficient background knowledge. However, obtaining a good command of English communication is not easy for all students; it needs a great effort from them which emphasizes much practice, especially self-study. Of the four language skills-Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing-that all language learners are supposed to acquire. Listening is believed to be the most challenging due to the complex and subtle nature of listening comprehension in a second or foreign language. Teaching listening is not an easy job at all when we, the English teachers, face the fact that learners have met many difficulties in comprehending the information due to unfamiliarity with the pronunciation of the target language and a lack of listening skills. To overcome those difficulties, it is necessary for students to keep on practice overtime, and one of the ways to make students practice is by using portfolios to learn at home. This means of study is rather effective for students to improve their listening skills as portfolios are systematic, purposeful, and meaningful collections of students' works in one or more subject areas and they reflect the actual day-to-day learning activities of students. For the third year English major students at Hong Duc University, they can not avoid common problems related to listening. When dealing with a listening lesson, they often experience a lack of background knowledge and cultural understanding, poor ability to understand spoken language, irrelevant teaching materials etc. Besides, two periods (45 minutes each period) of listening every week is not enough for students to be good listeners if they do not spend much more time than that on their self-study. Clearly, portfolios which reflect what has been done at home are an important element in language teaching and learning, which on one hand helps the teachers to assess what their students have done at home and on the other hand keeps students continuously learning. Hence, they need a lot of modifications for the sake of perfection. To enhance students’ listening skill development, it’s the teacher’s job to create more opportunities for the students to learn from their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their peers' weaknesses and strengths. It is, therefore, necessary to bring them opportunities to overcome those difficulties and among the suggested solutions, listening portfolios are of great help. Good portfolios with carefully prepared contents are a useful means to help students keep on their self-studies effectively. It is obvious that portfolios can improve students’ listening skills as well as encourage them to work on their own, which is the useful factor for their success. It is undeniable that exploiting portfolios effectively is challenging for teachers because they have to take many things into consideration, such as the objectives, the instructional skills, the criteria, the students’ needs, etc when giving out the contents of a portfolio. However, for the benefit one can gain from them, it is worth doing so. For the above reasons, we decided to choose the thesis entitled “Improving listening skills for third-year students at Hong Duc University through portfolio". The study emphasizes the importance of portfolios to the students' self- study in general and the listening skills in particular. Pedagogically, the findings of the study are believed to be useful for teachers to be aware of the essential role of portfolios to the students' self- study in the listening skills. Moreover, we would like to investigate the effectiveness of the listening portfolios currently used and from that finding out the strong and weak points of them in order to establish the most relevant one in terms of the contents. From the results obtained, the suggestions for portfolio contents, which are based on the theoretical background and the present use of them at the Foreign Language Department, HDU, are thoughtfully given, with the hope that they would help students to enhance their listening skills as well as the teachers to improve their teaching methodologies in relation with the process of renovation for teaching at the Foreign Language Department, HDU currently.

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  • Từ ngày 01/05/2022

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