‘Role of Sub-skill approach to Enhance Listening: A study in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka ESL Classrooms’ by Dr M Saravanapava Iyer


Many language scholars claim that mastering listening skill is primary to acquire and learn other basic language skills: speaking, reading and writing. In order to teach and improve listening and understanding ability, there are various approaches available in the English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching field at present; among these, two approaches are most popularly adopted by the language teachers currently: (1) sub-skills and (2) extensive approaches. In most of the ESL teaching situations, sub-skills approach is implemented by the teachers for two important reasons: (1) this approach provides a clear guidance to the teacher what to teach in ESL classrooms and (2) learners also undoubtedly know what to learn during the learning process. In this study, I attempted to find out whether this approach was really beneficial to the Tamil medium ESL Faculty of Arts learners to improve their listening ability in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. By employing qualitative method for a period of three months (one semester) I conducted an investigation and finally found that sub-skills approach is more appropriate in this situation. However, I never attempt to claim that other approaches are not beneficial to enhance listening comprehension ability. The main aim of this investigation is providing pedagogical suggestions for the ESL listening teachers by demonstrating how to implement skill-based approach successfully. It is very important to note that I never claim that skill based approach is the best one in the field; but after providing training by this approach learners can be trained by whole language approach or any other suitable one according to the context and learners’ ability.

Index Terms: ESL, sub-skill approach

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