A report on academic listening development of second language users of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University

  • H Sykstus
  • K Cillié
Keywords: academic literacy, language teaching, second language acquisition, classroom interaction, multilingual education, active listening, academic listening strategies

Abstract

In 2005, Stellenbosch University (SU) started presenting academic literacy
courses, including language-support courses, to address the problem of poor levels of academic literacy. This article focuses on research conducted by the SU Language Centre’s Unit for Afrikaans and English to report on an academic literacy intervention in the Faculty of Engineering for the period 2006 to 2009 for first-year students for whom Afrikaans was a second language. Particular attention is given to the students’ ability to engage successfully in the academic discourse by employing effective listening skills in their second language. Listening tasks were developed within the theoretical and practical framework of active listening. The discussion will focus on the theoretical approach and methodology applied by the course
designers with specific reference to strategic listening development and metacognitive awareness of listening development within an academic
context. Furthermore, the impact of the intervention will be discussed by
means of an analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data, gathered for
this purpose. Deductions made from quantitative and qualitative findings
were cross-validated in order to draw conclusions about the possible influence of a listening intervention on the students’ academic listening abilities. It appeared that students’ academic listening skills improved and students indicated that they found the intervention valuable because the course provided them with the strategies and self-confidence to survive within an Afrikaans academic environment. One could, thus, conclude that the intervention had a positive influence on the development of the students’ academic listening skills.

Keywords: academic literacy, language teaching, second language  acquisition, classroom interaction, multilingual education, active listening, academic listening strategies

Published
2013-10-18
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 0259-9570