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The Academic Listening Project

Peter Matthews & Niamh Mullen, Arts, Humanities, Cultures & Societies

Aural processing in one-way and two-way communication plays a significant role in student education in higher education (HE).

Listening skills enable knowledge transmission through lectures; facilitate deep learning and positioning in discussions and seminars; and are key to successful interactions in tutorials and oral feedback.

However, little scholarly attention has been dedicated to identifying and understanding the challenges non-native English speaking (NNS) international students face when they encounter these spoken genres in the HE environment.

As the University of Leeds aims to increase international student numbers while simultaneously improving the student education experience, more attention needs to be given to the realities of the listening experience for NNS international students, their impacts on teaching and learning, and the support the University provides to both students and subject lecturers.

This project aims to investigate the significance of second language listening, in English, in the student education of NNS international students from student and lecturer perspectives, to identify any challenges NNS students encounter when listening to spoken genres and to investigate the causes of these challenges and their impacts on student education.

Based on the findings from focus groups with students and lecturers and longitudinal studies with individual students, ways in which the University of Leeds can provide support for NNS international students and their lecturers will be suggested and developed.

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