The social dimension of FL listening comprehension: From theory to practice in higher education


listening comprehension
social dimension of listening comprehension
learner autonomy
higher education


The skill of listening comprehension in foreign/second language (L2) teaching and learning has been traditionally considered a "passive-receptive" skill (Vandergrift, 2007). This paper illustrates how the Spanish undergraduate degree programme at UWI, St. Augustine, has applied some of the latest theories in listening comprehension research to move away from that assumption. Based on listening metacognitive strategies (Vandergrift & Goh, 2012); Sociocultural Theory in L2 learning (Lantolf & Thorne, 2007) and the Interaction Approach (Gass & Selinker, 2008) the Spanish programme has managed to innovate the ways in which the teaching and learning of L2 listening comprehension is approached.

This study is framed in the field of applied linguistics and more specifically in L2 teaching and learning research. The paper traces the theoretical shift in teaching and researching listening comprehension as a learner-internal phenomenon to a more socially-oriented dimension. Furthermore, the paper qualitatively explores how students in the context of the study perceived this new social dimension of listening comprehension and how it affected their listening comprehension practices inside and outside of the classroom as part of their undergraduate Spanish curriculum.


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