The Listening Conference 2022 – photos and podcast from the event posted!

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NEW! The Listening Conference 2022

The Listening SIG is delighted to announce their first ever event in affiliation with the JALT Kyoto Chapter. The Listening Conference 2022 will be a one-day event taking place in Kyoto on Sunday 25th September, free for all members and non-members of JALT.

More information can be found at the JALT Listening SIG website.

Schedule and abstracts are below.

Listening Conference 2022 Flyer


9:30 – Registration

9:50 – Opening remarks (Room 1)

10:00 – Early Morning Presentations (20 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A)

11:00 – Morning Tea Break

11:30 – Late Morning Presentations (20 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A)

12:30 – Lunch Break

13:30 -Early Afternoon Presentations (20 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A)

14:30 – Afternoon Tea Break

14:50 – Late Afternoon Presentations (20 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A)

15:50 – Closing Remarks (Room 1)


Using student-centered TOEIC listening activities

Anthony Townley

The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is being increasingly employed in Japanese educational settings, in recognition of TOEIC scores as a measure of English ability for employment in Japan. Many universities now devote considerable resources to trying to improve students’ TOEIC scores as criteria for awarding course credits, including the tertiary workplace of the presenter. In response to the limitations of only using textbooks materials for TOEIC preparation classes, this presentation shows how students developed their own listening scripts for Parts 2 and 3 of the TOEIC Listening. This activity required students to first understand the linguistic and rhetorical features of these listening parts in order to create original scripts that conform with the expectations of the TOEIC, using supplementary materials that informed them about common strategies for TOEIC listening comprehension tasks and based on their shared experiences taking the TOEIC. Students then roleplayed the scripts for the other students in class to answer the scripted questions. For Part 2, student are required to incorporate who, where, when or tag questions in the scripts as a discourse strategy to test listening. For Part 3, students need to imagine where and what is happening in a particular business context in order to script dialogue and questions for listening comprehension. Feedback from students indicate that they feel more motivated to prepare for Parts 2 and 3 by going through the critical thinking and drafting process to design original scripts and questions that conform to TOEIC listening strategies and competencies.

Area: Listening and Teaching, Listening Strategies

Can Japanese EFL University Learners Comprehend Inflectional and Derivational
Forms in Listening?

Youngae Kim, Tim Stoeckel, Stuart McLean

When making lexically appropriate materials, the lexical unit used when measuring the lexical load of materials is critical. In L2 pedagogy and research, the lexical unit is often defined as a baseword plus inflectional and derivational forms through level 6 of Bauer and Nation’s framework (hereinafter WF6). WF6 use is justified by the assumption that once a form is known, recognition of other WF6 members requires little extra effort. A more lenient view holds that incomplete understanding of derivational forms is permissible if words containing the most frequent derivational affixes are known. The presented research assesses the validity of these views for L2 listening. Participants (N= 120) translated 27 basewords and 43 related affixational forms when listening. When participants knew one form they also knew the other just 25.1% of the time. For target words containing the most frequent derivational affixes, this was just 26.5%. Logistic regression found that learners’ overall vocabulary level, several aspects of word frequency, and baseword knowledge were all significant predictors of knowing affixed forms. However, when other variables were held constant, baseword knowledge was a weak predictor of affixational form knowledge. These findings support neither the strict assumption nor the more lenient view of WF6 use for L2 listening.

Area: Listening Pedagogy

Cognitive process of chunking for learning and teaching strategies

Masda Yuka

Chunking is regarded as a key psychological process in learning in that it is observed across domains and that it bridges between input perception and processing and storing of the information. This talk 1) first gives a brief look at chunking to understand the concept, its role in learning and its domain generality, before moving on to 2) chunking in auditory perception (listening), so that it may 3) help strategize teaching and learning of listening skills. Chunking in this talk refers to an involuntary process so crucial that it occurs in many domains from motor behaviour such as typing or dialling to visual or auditory perception. Human cognition has a bottle neck known as short-term memory and dividing the incoming information into manageable chunks helps processing the information. Speech perception is by nature a linear process and listeners must first perceive language sound in smaller chunks and later integrate them to understand the meaning of the whole speech. Learning about such a vital but normally unconscious cognitive process will help teachers a) understand the constraints in students’ learning and b) plan more effective teaching as well as c) equip them with knowledge to raise their students’ awareness which is necessary for their paths to becoming autonomous learners.

Area: Listening Processes

Listening to Global Englishes: Problems in practice

Marc Jones

Global Englishes Language Teaching (GELT) (Galloway and Rose, 2018) is a key practice in Japanese higher and vocational education. However, there are potential problems for classroom practitioners. Published materials that legitimize speakers of Global Englishes – as opposed to typical ‘native speakers’ – as sources of input are rare. Furthermore, the absence of racialized speakers in particular within materials is a key problem to address in order to provide accurate representation of the speakers that learners may encounter. This is partly a failure to address the mobility of people beyond the wealthier global north, and a failure to address biases among teachers and learners regarding assumptions that accented speech is less intelligible. This presentation seeks not only to address the above problems but also to spur discussion about whether there are particular good practices for GELT that can be implemented. The overall objective is to aid teachers in providing successful language acquisition for learners to develop competency in interacting with a wide range of diverse interlocutors in cross-cultural, multilingual situations in educational, leisure and professional settings.

Area: Listening Pedagogy

Self-Created Active Listening Exercises: L2 Students Listening to Each Other

Matthew Wiegand

English L2 students’ listening exercises are often recordings of native speakers of English. This is useful but limited in its practicality because L2 students often listen to each other. Research shows L2 speakers listen to each other differently (1). Listening to native speakers does not always increase comprehension (2). Depending on background, listening comprehension can vary (3). More research should be done into L2 students listening to each other. Student generated listening has proven promising (4). Research was conducted wherein students wrote Self-Created Active Listening Exercises or “SCALEs”. Over a period of 3 months, 30 beginner-level students at a Senmongakko, created, rehearsed, performed and quizzed each other using the method. The framework for the SCALEs was based on the assigned textbook and coupled with the syntax, phonological, morphological and referential vocabulary items therein. The material they produced showed humor and creativity, and enabled them to demonstrate their ability to “play” with the language. Students commented on the differences in the pronunciation, the need to concentrate more carefully, but also the communicative advantages and difference in retention compared with other material. Although it was inconclusive if students performed better with this method, students reported enjoyment and motivation to continue.

Area: Listening and Teaching

Conducting listening research in L2 classrooms

Naheen Madarbakus-Ring

Although more research is being conducted in second language learning classrooms, listening remains one the most difficult skills to research. Listening’s innate and ephemeral nature makes it more challenging for both teachers and learners to understand the difficulties that learning from the skill present. Teachers may find it difficult to provide their learners with the strategies and skills they need to help process their listening. Similarly, learners may not know how to address the difficulties they encounter. Traditionally, mixed methods are considered by researchers to provide data collection with triangulation. Thus, understanding how learners think, approach, and reflect on their listening can provide teachers with valuable insights into how learners listen. This presentation outlines quantitative and qualitative approaches to conduct research in the listening classroom. Quantitively, using surveys, questionnaires, and journal models present how to quantify data. Qualitatively, using interviews, focus groups, and think-aloud protocols illustrate different ways to elicit how learners approach their listening. The presentation also includes examples of these different research methods before suggesting some future directions for research that listening researchers can consider for their own classrooms.

Area: Listening Research

New, Fun and Interactive Ways to Teach Listening

Todd Beuckens

This presentation will look at how teachers can use a variety of free or accessible tools, such as PowerPoint and Audacity, to create innovative and highly engaging listening tasks that rival or even outperform traditional listening tasks such as note-taking, multiple-choice quizzes and gap-fill. Participants will learn how to use templates to create listening tasks quickly, and how to gamify simple tasks so they are engaging and meaningful for learners. The presentation will also cover good pedagogical design principles, and show why some tasks are more effective that others from a teacher’s and student’s perspective. Attendees will also get access to over 25 activity templates and ready-made tasks that they can use with their classes.

Area: Listening and Teaching

Using English YouTube news videos from various countries with intermediate

Christopher Cooper

In this presentation, the design of a course based on listening to news will be described. Twelve YouTube channels from countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America were identified and recommended to learners as in-class and out-of-class listening materials. The goal of choosing videos from different countries was to encourage learners to notice differences between the reporting of similar news items in different countries, and also to provide a model of English being used as an international language. The lexical coverage of a sample of 8,286 videos from the channels was assessed using the CEFR-J wordlist, with results suggesting that learners may need to be at the B2 level and above to comprehend the videos. However, this may depend on the goal of listening, as the CEFR can-do descriptors (Council of Europe, 2020, p. 53) suggest that TV news items and news reports can be handled to some extent at the A2 and B1 level. Other materials made for the course, including an online 10odelling10e made using the open source tool Shinyconc, wordlists, a multiword unit list, and using YouTube URLs to create mini listening texts will also be shared and discussed.

Council of Europe (2020). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment – Companion volume. Council of Europe Publishing. Available at

Area: Listening Resources

A Mixed-Methods Look at Learners’ Aural and Written Vocabulary Knowledge

Eric Shepherd Martin, Stuart McLean

This presentation explores the degree to which Japanese university EFL learners’ listening vocabulary knowledge differs from their knowledge of words when reading. In Japan, university EFL learners’ have shown a lack of knowledge of aural word forms compared with their knowledge of written word forms on multiple choice (meaning recognition-type) tests (Mizumoto & Shimamoto, 2008). However, little research has investigated the degree to which learners listening vocabulary knowledge varies between individuals and the word-related variables that facilitate or hinder word recognition. To this end, 82 CEFR A1-A2 proficiency university learners were tested on their knowledge of 180 identical items aurally and visually, representing the first 3,000 words in the JACET8000 word list, through an L2-to-L1 (meaning recall) type test. The results were then analyzed using Rasch, correlation, and hierarchical regression analyses. The findings suggest that not only do learners identify significantly fewer words aurally than visually, but that learners also identify several words through listening that they cannot while reading. The presentation discusses these findings in detail, as well as interview data with Japanese students to better understand why certain words are more or less easily understood when heard.

Area: Listening Pedagogy

Using Online Portfolios to Promote Extensive Listening and Self-Determination

Cezar Constantinescu

Over a span of five semesters, I have been using online portfolios to overcome the time constraints of a university course for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students with the goal of developing listening comprehension in German. I also wanted to nudge the students to make use of the wealth of authentic language materials that are available online. The students’ work outside the classroom was quantified but not assessed qualitatively, giving them the necessary freedom to choose the listening materials with regards to content and difficulty. Links to recommended online resources such as publicly accessible TV and radio programs, podcasts, and YouTube channels where shared with the students using a course site on the learning management system Moodle. The students were encouraged to use this as a starting point and to discover other materials that match their interests and level of listening proficiency. No restrictions were imposed on the content. They would document what they had listened to in their own time in a portfolio that was semi-publicly shared with the other class members via Moodle. By doing so, the pool of materials grew naturally over the course of the semester. The aim of my presentation is to show how this system has developed over time and how the online aspect allows for quick feedback and sharing of materials with the other participants. Based on survey data, I will also share first findings on how the students’ listening habits have developed over the duration of the course.

Area: Listening and Teaching, Listening Strategies, Listening Resources

A Frequency-Based Approach to Improving Listening Perception of Connected

Michael McGuire

Language learners face challenges in listening perception due to the considerable phonological reduction that occurs in multi-word sequences (MWSs) used in connected speech by fluent speakers (Bybee, 2002). Furthermore, Bybee noted that the higher the frequency of an MWS, the more likely it will be to feature phonological reduction. When looking at the highest frequency MWSs in English (such as a lot of, when I was, or how do you), we find that they are composed almost entirely of unstressed function words (articles, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, etc.) which greatly reduce in between stressed content words (Avery & Ehrlich, 1992). Textbooks that address phonological reduction often take a comprehensive approach by explaining individual sound changes that may occur in a wide variety of contexts. However, it may be more effective to introduce students to the most frequent contexts for phonological reduction by using a corpus frequency-based approach. This presentation will examine a concrete, categorized, corpus-based list of the highest-frequency multi-word sequences in spoken English and discuss how this list can be used to improve students’ listening perception of connected speech. Additionally, the results of an empirical study and suggestions for further research will be considered.

Area: Listening and Teaching

Using an academic podcast to gain insights on student silence

Jonathan Shachter, Christopher G. Haswell

This research presentation covers an audio podcast project called “Lost in Citations.” As the COVID-19 crisis of 2020 led to the suspension of research activities and conferences for the better part of two years, we aimed to connect with academics and disseminate research information with a global audience. With each episode centered on an academic publication, the main goals of this long-form interview-style podcast were to (a) explore elements of research activities that added context to the publication, (b) learn more about the background of each guest, and (c) gain insights into researching and writing better academic papers. After interviewing guests with similar specialties, the researchers became aware of a research opportunity wherein the interviews themselves could be treated as qualitative data.

We will first discuss the background to this project and how it evolved into a data collection endeavor. Then, we will outline an example of the thematic similarities that emerged after interviewing five leading scholars in the field of silence in Japanese university English language learning classrooms. The themes that emerged in this “podcast narrative” are as follows: ways of conceptualizing silence, silence and culture, approaching research, problematizing and coping with unwanted silence, and categorizing meaningful/productive silence.

Area: Listening Resources

Predictors of aural lexical difficulty in addition to measures of word frequency

Jeffrey Martin, Stuart McLean, Young Ae Kim, Brandon Kramer

Predictive 15odelling of L2 learners’ difficulty with vocabulary has relied on orthographic testing, but for the mode of listening, a scale of aural lexical difficulty would aptly be constructed from aural vocabulary testing. This study investigated the predictiveness of word frequency measures and non-frequency lexical characteristics on aural lexical difficulty, adapting aspects of the regression analysis of the written vocabulary study by Hashimoto and Egbert (2019). Aural lexical difficulty was operationalized by the 150-word Listening Vocabulary Levels Test (LVLT; McLean et al., 2015) taken by 318 Japanese undergraduate students. The strongest predictor was age of acquisition (AoA; Kuperman et al., 2012) (r2 = .45). Modeling AoA and the log-transformed and lemmatized frequency of the COCA magazine subcorpora (r2 = .37) together accounted for 55% of the variance. These results confirmed for listening, too, that word frequency is a strong yet non-linear predictor (Stewart et al., 2021), particularly when subcorpora are sourced (Pinchbeck et al., 2022). The study highlighted the unique influence that AoA had on lexical difficulty for L2 listening, in addition to word frequency. The results call for quality vocabulary testing and further comparisons of lexical difficulty between modalities of language use.

Area: Listening Assessment