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A study on non majors motivational factors in learning english listening at hai phong private university

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY – HA NOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST- GRADUATE STUDIES

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NGUYỄN THỊ THU HƯƠNG

A STUDY ON NON-MAJORS’ MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS
IN LEARNING ENGLISH LISTENING AT HAI PHONG
PRIVATE UNIVERSITY
(NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ NHỮNG YẾU TỐ ẢNH HƯỞNG ĐẾN HỨNG THÚ HỌC NGHE TIẾNG
ANH CỦA SINH VIÊN KHÔNG CHUYÊN TẠI TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Methodology
Code: 601410

Hanoi – 2010



VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY – HA NOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST- GRADUATE STUDIES

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NGUYỄN THỊ THU HƯƠNG

A STUDY ON NON-MAJORS’ MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS
IN LEARNING ENGLISH LISTENING AT HAI PHONG
PRIVATE UNIVERSITY
(NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ NHỮNG YẾU TỐ ẢNH HƯỞNG ĐẾN HỨNG THÚ HỌC NGHE TIẾNG ANH
CỦA SINH VIÊN KHÔNG CHUYÊN TẠI TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG)

M.A. MINOR PROGRAMME THESIS

Field: English Methodology
Code: 601410
Supervisor: Văn ThÞ Thanh Bình, M.A.

Hanoi - 2010


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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION ................................................................................................................. i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................. ii
ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................... iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................... iv
LISTS OF TABLES AND CHARTS ............................................................................................ vi

PART I: INTRODUCTION ...................................................................

1

1. Rationales........................................................................................................................ 1
2. Aims of the study ............................................................................................................ 1
3. Research questions ......................................................................................................... 2


4. Method of the study ........................................................................................................ 2
5. Scope of the study ........................................................................................................... 2
6. Significance of the study ................................................................................................ 2
7. Design of the study.......................................................................................................... 3

PART II: DEVELOPMENT ..................................................................

4

CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW ..............................................

4

1.1. Theoretical background of motivation ....................................................................... 4
1.1.1. Definition of motivation .................................................................................... 4
1.1.2. Classification of motivation in second language learning ................................... 4
1.1.3. Motivational factors in second language learning ............................................... 6
1.1.4. Characteristics of motivated learners ................................................................ ..9
1.2. Theoretical background of listening ......................................................................... 10
1.2.1. Definition of listening ...................................................................................... 10
1.2.2. The process of listening..................................................................................... 10
1.2.3. Common approaches to listening teaching ......................................................... 11

CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .................................. 13
2.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................... 13
2.2. Situation analysis ....................................................................................................... 13
2.2.1. The setting of the study .................................................................................... 13
2.2.2. TOEIC – test – based program and listening materials....................................... 14
2.2.3. Subjects ........................................................................................................... 15


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2.3. Instrument .................................................................................................................. 15
2.4. Data collection procedures ........................................................................................ 15
2.5. Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 15

CHAPTER 3: DATA ANALYSIS ............................ 16
3.1. Introduction ................................................................................................................ 16
3.2. Personal information .................................................................................................. 16
3.3. Learners-related factors that affect student’s motivation in practicing listening ... 16
3.4. Teachers-related factors that affect student’s motivation in practicing listening ….29
3.5. Conclusion................................................................................................................... 35

CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS, DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ... 36
4.1. Findings and discussions ............................................................................................ 36
4.1.1. What factors have positive effects on students’ motivation in learning listening
What factors have negative effects on students’ motivation in learning listening?..................36
4.1.2. Do the factors have the same or different effects on the students from the urban
and rural areas? .......................................................................................................... 36
4.2. Recommendations for motivating students in learning listening ............................. 37
4.2.1. Improving students’ beliefs in their auditory abilities and interests in learning
English ................................................................................................................................ 37
4.2.2. Combining a variety of listening materials, visual aids and games in classroom ... 38
4.2.3. Combining various strategies in teaching listening ........................................... 38
4.2.4. Being nice and polite, enthusiastic, close, humorous and flexible……………… 39
4.2.5. Helping students to improve their cultural knowledge ....................................... 39
4.2.6. Providing a variety of homework and practice test ........................................... 39

PART III: CONCLUSION ........................................................................................ 40
1. An overview of the study .............................................................................................. 40
2. Limitations and suggestions for further study ............................................................ 40

REFERENCES.............................................................................................................. 41
APPENDICES ................................................................................................................ I
APPENDIX 1 ....................................................................................................................... I
APPENDIX 2 ..................................................................................................................... IV
APPENDIX 3 ...............................................................................................................................VII


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LISTS OF TABLES AND CHARTS
1. List of tables
Table 1: Students’ hometown ............................................................................................. 16
Table 2: Students’ aptitude factor ..................................................................................... VII
Table 3: Students’ personality factor …………………………….…….………...………………………VII
Table 4: Students’ motivation and attitude factor ............................................................... VII
Table 5: Students’ preference factor ................................................................................. VIII
Table 6: Students’ belief factor ............................................................................................ IX
Table 7: Teachers’ behavior factor....................................................................................... 29
Table 8: Teachers’ competence factor.................................................................................. 31
Table 9: Teaching method factor ........................................................................................ IX
Table 10: Grading and assessment factor ............................................................................. IX
2. List of charts
Chart 1: Students’ auditory ability ...................................................................................... 16
Chart 2: Students’ grammatical sensitivity ........................................................................... 17
Chart 3: Students’ ability in memorizing new words ............................................................ 17
Chart 4: Students’ extroversion ........................................................................................... 18
Chart 5: Students’ relaxation .............................................................................................. 19
Chart 6: Students’ self – confidence .................................................................................... 19
Chart 7: Students’ perceived the importance of listening ..................................................... 20
Chart 8: Students’ effort in listening ................................................................................... 21
Chart 9: Students’ interest in listening ................................................................................ 21
Chart 10: Students’ language learning for communicative needs ......................................... 22
Chart 11: Students’ language learning for joy and pleasure ................................................. 22
Chart 12: Students’ language learning for short – term practical goals ................................ 23
Chart 13: Students’ language learning for long – term practical goals ................................. 23
Chart 14: Student’s language learning for cultural enrichment ............................................ 24
Chart 15: Student’s language learning for integrative reason ............................................... 25


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Chart 16: Students’ perceptual learning styles...................................................................... 25
Chart 17: Students’ field – independence ............................................................................ 26
Chart 18: Students’ reflectivity ........................................................................................... 27
Chart 19: Students’ ambiguity tolerance ............................................................................. 27
Chart 20: Students’ beliefs in their new learning styles ....................................................... 28
Chart 21: Students’ beliefs in the ways to learn listening .................................................... 28
Chart 22: Students’ attitudes towards teachers’ pre – listening stage ................................... 32
Chart 23: Students’ attitudes towards teachers’ while – listening stage ............................... 32
Chart 24: Students’ attitudes towards teachers’ post – listening stage .................................. 33
Chart 25: Students’ attitudes towards teachers’ feedback .................................................... 33
Chart 26: Students’ attitudes towards test requirements ...................................................... 34
Chart 27: Students’ attitudes towards test content ................................................................ 34


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PART I: INTODUCTION
1. Rationales
In the process of global integration, English is widely spoken all over the world and has
become an international language used for all aspects of life: business, education, politics, etc.
Therefore, mastery of English is, nowadays, one of the desires of most generations. Having
assessed the importance of English in the market economy and responding to learners’ needs,
in 2005, the Ministry of Education and Training signed an agreement with Educational
Testing Institute – based in the United States regarding the use of TOEIC (Test of English for
International Communication) to assess students’ English language proficiency. Thus,
universities and colleges in Vietnam can apply the TOEIC program to teach and evaluate
students’ learning outcomes instead of the old program and tests for A, B, C certificates.
The TOEIC - test – based program has been used at Hai Phong Private University (HPU)
in Hai Phong, Vietnam since 2008. However, this program itself has raised some controversial
issues. With two - year experience in teaching English for non - majors and from what the
researcher observed in TOEIC classes, it can be found that many lecturers failed in listening
periods especially concerning TOEIC materials. They complained about students’ indifference
to their lectures despite they had well – prepared lesson plans. From that reason, “A study on
non-majors’ motivational factors in learning English listening at Hai Phong Private
University” was chosen for the thesis. With this study, the researcher hopes to find out
motivational factors affecting students’ learning listening at HPU. This will be the basis for
the researcher in particular and the HPU teachers of English in general in arousing motivation
for students in listening, helping them to get involved in different listening activities, keep
their efforts during learning process and then achieve successes.
2. Aims of the study
The research aims at investigating motivational factors affecting non – majors in
learning English listening at HPU. There are two main purposes as follows:
1. To assess motivational factors that affect non – majors at TOEIC level 2 in learning
listening
2. To suggest methods for teachers to stimulate students in learning listening and help
these learners overcome demotives.


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3. Research questions
The study focuses on answering these following questions
- What factors have positive effects on students’ motivation in learning listening? What
factors have negative effects on students’ motivation in learning listening?
- Do the factors have the same or different effects on the students from the urban or
rural areas?
- What methods should be used to improve students’ motivation in listening activities?
4. Method of the study
The strategies for completion of the thesis include:
- Quantitive method (questionnaire) was used with participants of non – English majors
at Hai Phong Private University.
- The source of data for the study was student respondents: 186 students at TOEIC level 2.
- Close survey questionnaire was used to collect information and evidence for the study.
- All recommendations and conclusions included in this study were based on the data
analysis.
5. Scopes of the study
Firstly, because of the large number of HPU non – English major students at HPU, the
researcher cannot do an all – inclusive study so she chose non – majors learning TOEIC level
2 as participants.
Secondly, there are some factors including learners - related factors, teachers - related
factors, teaching and learning environmental factors affecting students’ motivation. In the
study, the researcher will only focus on two components:
Learners - related factors consist of aptitudes, personality, motivation and attitudes,
preference, and beliefs.
Teachers - related factors consist of behaviors, competence, methods, grading and
assessment.
6. Significance of the study
Motivational factors assessed in this study will help teachers have better techniques and
teaching activities. Therefore, non-majors can overcome devotives to achieve great successes
in second language acquisition.
The study is also used as reference for teachers of English at HPU to compile more suitable


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suitable books for the TOEIC – test – based program.
7. Design of the study
This study consists of three main parts: the introduction, the development and the
conclusion.
Part I is the Introduction. It lays out the reasons for choosing the topic for this thesis and
points out the aims, the scope, the methods, significance and the design of the study.
Part II is the Development consisting of three chapters:
Chapter 1 – Literature Review - presents the theoretical background related to
motivation, listening and motivation in learning second language listening.
Chapter 2 – Research methodology - gives the situation analysis, subjects, data
collection instruments, data collection procedures
Chapter 3 – Data Analysis – shows the detailed results of the survey and a
comprehensive analysis on the data collected.
Chapter 4 - Findings, discussions and recommendations – refers to major findings,
discussions and offers some recommendations for enhancing students’ motivation in listening
skills.
Part III is the Conclusion presenting the review of the study, suggestions for further
research and limitations of the study.


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PART II: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW
1.1. Theoretical background of motivation
1.1.1. Definition of motivation
For many years, a lot of different proposed definitions of motivation have been provided.
According to Jeremy Harmer (2003:51), “motivation is some kind of internal drive which
pushes someone to do things in order to achieve something”. While, Wlodkowski and Jaynes
(1990:6) explain that in the broadest sense, motivation is "a value and a desire for learning".
Motivation involves a student’s desire to participate in the learning process. It is also
concerned with the reasons or goals which underlie a student’s participation in learning
activities (Lumsden, 1994). From the same point, Sandra Lee McKay and H. Hornberger
(1996:5) point out that motivation refers to the combination of desire and effort made towards
goal; it relates to individual’s rationale for any activity (Gardner, 1985). Motivation is also
defined by Marion Williams and Richard Burden as “a state of cognitive arousal” which
provokes a decision to act. The strength of motivation depends on how much value the
individual places on the outcome he or she wishes to achieve.
It can be seen that different linguists approach motivation in different ways. However,
they share the same point of view that motivation combines four factors including effort,
desire, drive and attitudes which always interrelate in any learning activity. Thus, motivation
has significant effects on students during the learning process in order to achieve their goals.
1.1.2. Classification of motivation in second language learning
1.1.2.1. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Motivation can be from inside or outside a person, which forms two kinds of motivation:
intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation, in Harmer’s opinion, “comes from within the
individual and a person might be motivated by the enjoyment of learning process itself or by
the desire to make them feel better”. Besides, Edward Deci (1975:23) defines intrinsic
motivation: “intrinsically motivated activities are ones for which there is no apparent reward
except the activity itself. People seem to engage in the activities for their own sake”.
Contrarily, extrinsic motivation is caused by number of outside factors (Harmer, 2003).
It includes circumstances, situations, rewards or punishment. “Extrinsic motivation is one in


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which the student engages in an activity in order to obtain a reward, or to avoid a punishment.
This student is not really interested in the activity for its own sake, but rather for what it will
gain them” (Woolfolk, 2001). Douglas Brown (2007) explaines “extrinsic motivation is fueled
by the anticipation of a reward from outside and beyond the self”.
In comparing two kinds of motivation above, the main difference found is the goals of
the students. With intrinsic motivation, the student studies subject material for the sake of
learning. Extrinsically motivated students study for the sake of outside influences.
1.1.2.2. Integrative and instrumental motivation
Motivation falls into two other categories: integrative and instrumental. Dornyei (2001)
and Gardner and Lambert (1972) suggest that “integrative motivation refers to positive
attitudes and feelings toward the target language group”. While, Lambert (1974:98) define
integrative motivation as “a sincere and personal interest in the people and culture represented
by the other language group.” He explains that some learners might choose to learn a
particular second language because they were interested in the people and culture.
Contrary to integrative motivation is the form of motivation referred to as instrumental
motivation. Dornyei (2001) and Gardner and Lambert (1972) define it as “the potential
utilitarian gains of second language proficiency such as getting a job or higher salary”.
Gardner (1985:168) state: “an instrumental motivation is a powerful motivator, it will
influence achievement”. So, it is seen that learners will have instrumental motivation if they
make efforts to learn a second language for some functional reasons.
In short , there are marked differences between integrative and instrumental motivation
Obviously, not a simple type of motivation can fully account for failure or success in language
learning. Thus, it is often better to improve both types of motivation for higher achievement.
1.1.2.3. Positive and negative motivation
There are two kinds of emotional motivation: positive and negative. In positive motivation,
people are more likely to learn longer, learn under harder conditions just because they feel
appreciated and happier. Carl A. Roper, Joseph J. Grau, Lynn F. Fischer (2006:79) wrote “a
positive motivated person is led to expect a positive consequence for achieving the objective.
This is often called a reward or an incentive.” Negative motivation is the flip side of that coin,
where the person is made to “perceive that failing to achieve the objective will bring a negative
consequence – a punishment or disincentive”(A. Roper, J. Grau, F. Fischer, 2006:79).


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Apart form six basic kinds of motivation mentioned, there are still other kinds of
motivation: resulative motivation (learners have from second language achievement and the
result of learning), global motivation (motivation consists of a general orientation to the goal
of learning a second language), situational motivation (motivation varies according to the
situation in which learning takes place), and task motivation (motivation for performing
particular learning tasks) (Brown, 1981).
1.1.3. Motivational factors in second language learning
Motivational factors in second language learning are classified differently by various
people. Gardner & Smythe (1975) state that the original model of motivation contains four
main components: group - specific attitudes, learners' motives for learning the target language,
affective factors, and extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. From Richard B. Baldauf Jr. &
Trang,T.T.T. (The Journal of Asia TEFL Vol. 4, No.1, pp 90-91), motivational factors include
internal factors and external factors. From the researcher’s point of view, motivational factors
consist of learners - related factors, teachers - related factors, teaching and learning
environmental factors.
1.1.3.1. Learners – related factors
Intelligence
Traditionally, intelligence is measured by an intelligence quotient (IQ) test. It usually
measures only two types of intelligence: verbal/linguistic and mathematical/logical
intelligence. Linguistic intelligence is showed by speaking, using words, writing, giving
presentations, solving word problems.
Aptitude
According to Lightbown and Spada (1999:53), aptitude is the factor that “predicts whether
individuals become efficient learners of foreign language in a classroom setting”. An aptitude
is an innate. Aptitude comprises different types of abilities: auditory ability (the ability to
identify and memorize new sounds),

grammatical

sensitivity (the ability to figure out

grammatical rules from language samples, the ability to understand the function of particular
words in sentences) and memory (the ability to memorize new words).
Personality
Personality of the students constitutes a major factor contributing to success or failure in
language learning. For example, Ellis (1997) proves that extrovert students are advantaged in


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the development of language associated with interpersonal communication. From the same
point of view, Lightbown and Spada (1999) give a number of personality characteristics:
extroversion, inhibition, self – esteem, empathy, dominance, talkativeness, responsiveness.
To sum up, personality characteristics are likely to affect second language learning
including extroversion, relaxation, self-esteem (self-confidence), anxiety and empathy.
Motivation and attitudes
According to Gardner (1985), “the relationship between attitudes, motivation and second
language achievement is complex; they always interact and influence each others”. In learning
listening, they are expressed through the awareness of the importance of listening, learners’
needs (personal growth, cultural enrichment, practical goals, and intergrative reason) and
learners’ effort and interest in learning and practicing listening.
Learners’ preference
It refers to learning styles involving an individual’s natural habitual, preferred ways of
absorbing, processing and retaining new information and skills (Reid, 1995). There are two
types of learning styles related to second language learning:
- Perceptual learning styles include learning through the eyes (visual), through the ears
(aural) and through touch and body movement (haptic).
- Cognitive learning styles:
Field-independence and field-dependence: field – independent learners tend to perceive
elements independently of a context or field and focus on details. They are more analytical.
Contrarily, field – dependent learners tend to perceive the whole field or situation and focus
on general meaning. They are more relational.
Reflectivity and impulsivity: reflective learners tend to make a slower, more calculated
decision while impulsive learners tend to make a quick guess at an answer to a problem.
Right-brain and left-brain dominance: the right brain perceives and remembers visual, tactile,
and auditory images and the left brain is associated with logical, analytical thought, with
mathematical and linear processing of information.
Ambiguity tolerance: the person who is tolerant of ambiguity is willing to accept
innovative and creative possibilities and not be disturbed by ambiguity and uncertainty.
Learners’ beliefs
Learners have strong beliefs about how their language instruction should be delivered or


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expectations of how classes should be organized and taught. “These beliefs are usually based
on previous learning experiences and the assumption (right or wrong) that a particular type of
instruction is the best way for them to learn.” (Lightbown, 1999:59 ). Hence; teachers should
help learners expand their repertoire of learning strategies and thus develop greater flexibility
in their ways of approaching language learning.
Age of acquisition
“Age of acquisition is an important factor in setting limits on the development of native
– like mastery of a second language” (Lightbown & Spada, 1999). The relationship between a
learner’s age and his/her potential for success in second language learning is obviously seen.
The relationship needs to take into account: the stage of second development, the goals of
learning, and the context in which the learner learns second.
1.1.3.2. Teachers - related factors
Teacher’s behavior
It is the teacher’s attitudes to students and to learning and teaching. In fact, it is directly
related to teacher’s characters including niceness and politeness, enthusiasm, sense of humor,
closeness and flexibility.
Niceness and politeness: the teacher encourages students to learn and never insults them.
Enthusiasm: the teacher is willingly to help students whenever they want
Flexibility: the teacher must have quickly response to problems arisen, solve them.
Closeness: the teacher gets on well with students. Therefore, students can sometimes
share their difficulties in real life with their teacher.
Sense of humor: the teacher involves more than simply telling jokes. Rather, it seems to deal
more with a teacher's ability to pleasantly communicate with students.
Teacher’s competence
It refers to teacher’s proficiency, social and cultural background knowledge. The
proficiency shows by the level of mastering and using the second language, the ability to
perform teachers’ mastery suitably to the content of each lesson. Social and cultural
background knowledge is known with the understanding of society and culture in both the
second language community and the mother tongue community and shown in teaching.
Teaching methods
Teaching methods refers to a set of techniques and activities used to get learners involved


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in learning to achieve a goal. In listening, teaching methods of one lesson can be different,
they depend on three stages: pre – listening, while – listening and post – listening. However,
when deciding what teaching method to use, a teacher needs to consider students' background
knowledge, environment, and learning goals. The teachers aware that students learn in
different ways so they must use techniques which cater to multiple learning styles to help
students retain information and strengthen understanding.
Grading and assessment
Grading refers to the rating assigned to an individual and it takes time for him or her to
get a higher grade. Whereas, assessment is something a teacher does every day when gauging
where students are in the learning process. It is a part of the ongoing educational process and
enhances learning. Grading and assessment in learning a second language concern to three
terms including feedback, test requirement and test content.
1.1.3.3. Teaching and learning environmental factors
Physical conditions
Physical conditions that refer to the classroom size, books, chairs, desks, tables, lights,
boards, projectors, and camera affect students’ motivation much. Harmer (1991) confirms that
“physical conditions had great impact on students’ learning as well as the subject matter”.
A pleasant and supportive atmosphere in the classroom
Lightbown and Spada (1999) give that the supportive and non – threatening atmosphere
made a contribution to learners’ motivation. It encourages students to express their own
opinion and thinking. Macintyre (1999) and Young (1999) point that students’ anxiety was
created by a tense classroom climate - one of the factors that undermine learning effectiveness
and second motivation (cited in Dornyei, 2001:121)
1.1.4. Characteristics of motivated learners
According to Naiman et al (1978) (cited in Harmer, 1999:42), there is a list of
characteristics of motivated learners:
Positive task orientation: the learners tend to tackle tasks and challenges willingly and
have confidence in their success.
Ego – involvement: the learners see the importance in maintaining and promoting their
own positive self – images to the others.
Need for achievement: The learners want to overcome difficulties and achieve success.


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High – aspirations: This is the reason for the learners’ great ambition, high demanding
for challenges, proficiency.
Goal orientation: the learners are very aware of the goals of learning and direct their
efforts towards achieving goals.
Perseverance: The learners make effort in learning and they are not discouraged by any
setbacks or apparent lack of progress.
Tolerance of ambiguity: The learners are not disturbed by situation involving a
temporary lack of understanding. They are still confident for the later understanding.
Sharing the same point, Crooks and Schmidt (1989) (cited in Ellis, 1997:42) describe a
motivated student as someone who “becomes productively engaged on learning tasks, and
sustains that engagement, without the need for continual encouragement or direction”.
1.2. Theoretical background of listening
1.2.1. Definition of listening
There are different points of view on the definition of listening. According to Field
(1998:38), listening is “an invisible mental process, making it difficult to describe. Listeners
must discriminate between sounds, understand vocabulary and grammatical structures,
interpret stress and intention, retain and interpret this within the intermediate as well as the
lager socio-cultural context of the utterance.” Mary Underwood (1989:1) gives that “listening
is the activity of paying attention to and trying to get meaning from something we hear so that
the listener must recognize and interpret the other factors which are used to convey the
messages”. According to Susanne Flohr and Pia Paesler (2010:3- 4), listening composes
important many factors and there are three stages of listening: pre – listening, while – listening
and post – listening. Pre – listening means that the teacher makes the students aware of a
situation and activate their prior knowledge. While – listening means that the teacher gives the
students visual support or guiding questions beforehand. Post – listening is the stage where the
students become active and work with what they had heard”. All in all, is a complex, active
process of interpretation in which listeners matches what they hear with what they already
know. Listening involves a sender, a message, and a receiver (the listener) and also consists of
three stages: pre – listening, while – listening and post – listening.
1.2.2. The process of listening
Listening process is viewed differently. It can be divided into steps or is considered as an


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interpretive process. Lisa J. (2008:1) looks at listening with a five - step process: attending,
understanding, interpreting, responding and remembering. While, other linguists give five
common steps: hearing, attending, understanding, responding and remembering. Hearing is a
prerequisite to listening. It occurs when sound waves strike the ear. Attending is a
psychological choice involving filtering out some messages and focusing on others.
Understanding refers to making sense of a message by assigning meaning to it. Responding is
providing feedback to the speaker. Lastly, remembering is the process of recalling information
from memory. In five steps above, the responding step seems to be omitted because learners
only listen to the listening and do exercises; they have no chance to reply messages. The
remembering step is very important when helping learners to finish their listening tasks.
Some linguists like Gary Buck (2001:2) and Brown (1994) divide listening with two
processes: bottom – up processing and top – down processing. In the view of Brown, bottomup processing means that learners rely on “their linguistic knowledge to recognize linguistic
elements – vowels, consonants, words, sentences to do the construction of the meaning”. In
top-down processing, learners use their prior knowledge to make predictions about the text.
“The top-down model of listening involves the listener in actively constructing meaning based
on expectations, inferences, intentions, knowledge of schema and other relevant prior
knowledge and by a selective processing of the input” (Brown,1994).
1.2.3. Common methods of teaching a 2nd language listening
There are four common methods of teaching English listening: grammar – translation,
grammar method, audio – lingual method and task – based method. (Le, 2006:4)
Grammar – translation method
This method views language as a descriptive set of finite rule that gives access to the
language. Students in the method always “listen to a description of the rule of the second
language. As a result, when the second language is used, the focus of any listening will be on
translation of lexical terms and grammar structures”(John Flowerdew & Lindsay Miller,
2005:4). According to Canh, L.V. (2003:60), grammar – translation method emphasizes on
memorization of verb paradigms, grammar rules, vocabulary, and translation of literary texts”.
Grammar method
The main idea of grammar – based listening exercises is to analyze the language by its
components and reconstruct an incomplete text. Rost (1994:35) (cited in John Flowerdew,


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Lindsay Miller, 2005:6) states that “in order to understand, we must know how words and
phrases are bound to each other”. Thus, teacher requires students to look at the written text
while they are listening to the recording. This forces them to do several things: identify words
by their position in the sentence, work out the relationship between words and phrases, use
forward and backward cues, and make intelligent guesses based on text cues.
Audio – lingual method
The method is claimed to be “scientific” and “new”. “It was theoretically underpinned
by structural linguistic, which held that learning a language involved mastering the building
blocks of the language and learning the rules and the behaviorist theory of learning, which
viewed language as a form of behavior like other aspects of human activities” (Canh, L.V,
2003:65). In this method, the linguistic patterns are elicited, repeated and tested until the
responses given by the student in the foreign language are automatic. The more students repeat
a correct phrase or sentence, the stronger of their memory of the structure will be.
Task - based method
In this method, listening lesson is based around the completion of activities or tasks so
that teacher should understand listening materials and process materials into a variety of tasks
in order to develop students’ communicative competence. Task means “ a piece of classroom
work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the
target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than on form”
(Canh, L.V,2003:102). The typical listening lesson of this method follows certain stages: pre –
task, task, planning, report, analysis and practice.


20

CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.1. Introduction
This chapter will analyze the situation of the study, the subjects, the instruments for
collecting data and data collection procedure.
2.2. Situation analysis
2.2.1. The setting of the study
The study was conducted at HPU located in Hai Phong city. Like most of the universities
in Vietnam, HPU has both strong and weak points for teaching and learning.
The strong points exist in facilities and staffs. The first is about modern facilities. There
are 8 buildings with 60 new projectors equipped in most of the rooms. Each classroom has
fans, neon lamps, desks and chairs especially one camera at the corner in order to check
teaching of lecturers, learning of students and tricking in examinations. The library has more
than 60,000 books and thousands of digital documents. Internet system is equipped with very
high speed. The second strong point is university staffs. In 326 good and enthusiastic
university staffs, there are about 200 full – time well – educated lecturers in which the rate of
lecturers having MA and higher degrees is up 82,6%. In addition, other good lecturers from
famous universities both in Hanoi and in Hai Phong are invited to teach.
On the other hand, there are a lot of weak points for teaching and learning at HPU.
Firstly, facilities are extensive but not enough for the need of learning. Secondly, library is
large but lack textbooks especially TOEIC materials. Thirdly, teachers’ experience in teaching
TOEIC is not more than two years while teachers have to teach the great number of periods.
Fourthly, the class size is large - at least 34 students for each class. Therefore, teachers will
face with problems in monitoring work, giving feedback, setting up communicative tasks as
well as paying attention to all students during class time. Fifthly, the allocation for periods
among subjects is not made suitably especially for parts in the TOEIC – test- based program.
TOEIC listening level 2 has fifteen periods for the whole semester while fifteen units in
Reward book has forty five periods. Lastly, students are always gathered for different subject
classes so they do not know each other well, which makes difficult for teachers to conduct
activities.
Although it is unavoidable that there are strong and weak points for learning and teaching


21
at HPU at the same time, in comparison with other universities all over Vietnam, HPU is still
assumed as a university with a good educational environment.
2.2.2. The TOEIC – test – based program and listening materials
* The TOEIC – test – based program
The TOEIC – test – based program has been implemented at HPU since 2008. In the
whole program, there are 8 frame marks. The class division depends on the marks that
students get in TOEIC tests. There are 8 types of classes in the correspondence to 8 levels as
follows:
TOEIC Level

Mark

Level 1

100 – 200

Level 2

205- 300

Level 3

305 – 400

Level 4

405 – 500

Level 5

505 – 600

Level 6

605 – 780

Level 7

785 – 900

Level 8

905 – 990

At the end of each term, students have to take part in final- term examinations to go
into next higher TOEIC level. However, all students do not need to follow all eight levels
because it seems to be impossible. Thus, the university gives some different marks that
students must get before their graduation. The marks depend on students’ different
specializations, characteristics of their learning abilities as well as the need of recruiting
market. The details are in the following table:
Major

Mark

Social field ( university)

600

Technical field (university)

550

Both social and technical fields (college)

455

4

* Listening books for the TOEIC tests
The TOEIC books include grammar books, vocabulary books, reading books, listening
books, practice listening books and supplementary Reward books used for all levels. Most of


22
them are compiled by teachers of English in Foreign Languages Department. Listening books
are designed depending on the book “Learning to listen 1, 2 and 3” written by Lin Lougheed
in 2003. Listening books of level 2 are lessons complied from unit 9 to unit 16 in the book
“Learning to listen 1”. Basic TOEIC is the book assigned as reference book for this level.
2.2.3. Subjects
The study was carried out with the participation of 186 students at HPU. These students
are between 18- 21 , both male and female, have learnt English for at least nearly four years,
three years at high school and about one year at university. They get used to learning a
language by focusing extensive vocabulary and grammatical structures so language function
and communicative competence are their weak points.
The students were randomly chosen from 1078 learners at TOEIC level 2 during the
school year 2010 – 2011 belonging to seven classes. Certainly, it was very difficult to select
random sample of individuals since the students had already been assigned to different classes.
In this case, cluster random sampling was chosen.
2.3. Instrument for collecting data
After carefully examining the instruments given by Hoa, H. X. and Minh, N. T. T.
(2006) and concerning her teaching experience, the investigator designed the close – ended
questionnaire in Likert Scale pattern to get the information on factors affecting English non –
majors in learning listening. This kind of questionnaire is easy to understand and answer. It
also takes less time to complete than the other kinds of questionnaire.
2.4. Data collection procedures
First, the questionnaire was delivered to students of seven different classes of the first
term in the school year 2010 – 2011 to measure motivational factors. Then, the data was
collected and prepared for the next step of the analysis.
2.5. Conclusion
This chapter has been presented the methodology employed in the research. The next
chapter will offer a descriptive data analysis of the collected data.


23

CHAPTER 3: DATA ANALYSIS
3.1. Introduction
In this chapter, with data collected from the survey questionnaire, a comprehensive
analysis will be presented with two kinds of participants from the countryside and urban areas.
3.2. Personal information
The first part was designed for gathering the participants’ information of hometown.
The data is shown in the following table.
Countryside

City

No. of students

112

74

Percentage

60%

40%

Table 1: Students’ hometown
As can be seen from the table that, in 186 students participated in the research, there are
112 suburbanites (60 %) and 74 urbanites (40%). Obviously, the percentage of the first group
is one and a half more than the second one.
3.3. Learners - related factors that affect student’s motivation in practicing listening
3.3.1. Aptitude factor (see the table 2 from the appendix 3)
Statement 1: I can identify new sounds and memorize them easily.
The chart indicates the information about auditory ability of the students coming from
the countryside and urban areas. Overall, the rates of all five ideas by comparing two groups
are quite similar. The highest rates (59%, 57%) fall in “disagree” while the lowest rates (1%,
0%) exist in “strongly agree”.
59% 57%

60%
50%
40%
22%

30%
20%
10%

20%

14%
1%

0%

16%

6% 5%

0%

Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 1: Students’ auditory ability


24
Due to the fact that the students do not believe in their own auditory abilities, they
become less confident and may lead failure in learning. Therefore, teachers may face with
difficulties in choosing materials that fit the students’ proficiency.
Statement 2: I can figure out grammatical rules from language samples.
60%

51%
45%

50%
40%

30%

31%
22%

16% 16%

20%

9%

10%

7%

2%

1%

0%
Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 2: Students’ grammatical sensitivity
The chart shows that a large promotion of the students (73% of the suburbanites, 86% of
the urbanites) admits their sensitivities in learning English grammatical rules and only few
people (11%, 8%) have difficulties in discovering structures. Obviously, this is one of strong
points of HPU students, which makes it easy for teachers to design listening activities while
they do not need to care much about grammar.
Statement 3: I can memorize new words for a long time.
45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%

39%
30%
24%

43%

26%
19%

10%
1%

7%

1%

Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 3: Students’ ability in memorizing new words
The chart indicates that nearly a half of the students participating in the survey (49%
from the countryside, 50% from urban areas) can not remember new words for a long time.


25
Meanwhile, nearly one third of respondents (25%, 31%) possess long – term memory. So, it
may take more time for teachers to teach, expand and revise words before listening.
To sum up, although most of the students think that they have poor auditory ability,
almost all of them are confident with grammatical sensitivity. Concerning the ability of
remembering new words, the number of students with short – term memory is much bigger
than the number of students having long – term memory. As a result, the aptitude mostly has
negative effects on students’ motivation in learning listening. As aptitude is the factor that
“predicts whether individuals become efficient learners of foreign language in a classroom
setting” (Lightbown and Spada, 1999: 53), HPU students may easily fail in learning English if
they do not try harder.
3.3.2. Personality factor (see the table 3 from the appendix 3)
Statement 4: I like learning English through extracurricular activities
As can be seen from the chart 4, 59% of the suburbanites and 74% of the urbanites prefer
learning English through extracurricular activities. Only 12% of each group dislikes activities
outside classroom. Meanwhile, the percentages of “no idea” are up to 29% for the suburban
group and 15% for the urban group. It means that the majority of learners is energized by
being with people and interacting with them, and can often think best if they can talk over
their ideas.
50%

42%

46%

40%

20%

29%

28%

30%
17%

15%

11%
4%

10%

7%
1%

0%
Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 4: Students’ extroversion
The chart 4 also indicates that the learners from urban areas are more extrovert than the
learners from suburban areas.
Statement 5: I always feel relaxed in listening activities


26

40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%

38%
34%

32%
27%

21%
15%
10%

8% 9%

6%

Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 5: Students’ relaxation
It can be drawn from the chart that 27% of the suburbanites and 25% of the urbanites are
comfortable during listening activities. 27% and 32% of the two groups choose neutral idea.
38% of the suburbanites and 34% of the urbanites choose the “disagree”. The “strongly
disagree” idea is shown with the rates of 8% and 9%. So, relaxation negatively affects
students’ learning because lack of relaxation during listening process makes students
uncomfortable and passive. This is one of reasons why learners do not concentrate on learning
and easily make noise in class. As a result, controlling the whole class becomes more difficult
for teachers.
Statement 6: I never feel embarrassed when speaking in front of the class
60%

52%

50%
34%

40%
30%

18%

20%
10%

3%

36%

24%
14%

7%

11%

1%

0%

Strongly
agree

Agree

Neutral

Country

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

City

Chart 6: Students’ self – confidence
According the chart 6, most of the HPU students find unconfident in listening activities.
Regarding the suburban group, 52% do not believe in their own abilities and 14% totally
disagree with this personality. Only 11 students (10%) feel unembarrassed and 24% have no


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