UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Listening on the Web: an aural "bridge" for ESL learners Earl, Linda


Interest is widely acknowledged as the prime motivator in listening. The Web, as home to the broadcast media on an enticing on-demand basis, offers second language learners a choice of interesting listening. But, this study maintains, learners can't take advantage of that choice without tools to bridge their comprehension gaps. In an attempt to bridge that gap, a 'prototype' web template called the "Bridge" @ was co-designed by the researcher and Catouzer Inc. using licensed CBC Radio interviews to simulate a lesson interface to the authentic web listening world, thus providing structure where there was none. This research examines whether the Web as a cultural context of choice—"nowness"—gives students more confidence in their own agency to acculturate, and if that agency, in the form of being able to control the form language takes, stimulates more awareness. In short, does listening on the Web lead to acquisition? Five international upper level ESL students from a private school in Vancouver were recruited to participate in seven autonomous listening enrichment sessions. Prior to the study they filled out a Listening Habits Survey, and were pre and post-tested using a truncated version of a TOEFL Listening Test. Data collection was on 8 mm video;students answered questionnaires on camera alone and/or were interviewed by the researcher face-to-face. The subsequent 'thin' ethnographies were analyzed using Constellations, a HyperCard software application for chunking digital data. The stories that emerge address the students' interaction with the web site environment, illuminating their learning styles and listening strategies, and in the end corroborating what is often anecdotal observation that yes, students do enjoy and value using "tools to think with".

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.