‘Understanding the Role of Listening in Academic Vocabulary Instruction – An Inquiry’ by Karthickeyen Govindaraj


This paper is divided into two sections. The first section – in restricting its focus to students learning English for Academic Purposes (EAP) – outlines the importance of listening as a learning-teaching tool in vocabulary acquisition with an emphasis on the Academic Word List (AWL). This is achieved by reviewing current literature surveying the nexus between cognition and listening in the word-learning process (Anderson, 1995). The review points out that while promoting the AWL via aural activities has its merits, students’ listening competence, learning styles and working memory will both arbitrate and in tandem determine these activities’ success in the EAP classroom. The second section questions the efficacy of bridging theory with practice by assessing a lesson plan influenced by memory, cognitive and compensation strategies (Oxford, 1989). This hypothetical lesson will discuss an in-class activity that helps promote the AWL to the EAP learner, via a listening-based exercise focused on the identification of discourse markers in lectures. Drawing attention to both strengths and limitations of the stated exercise, the paper concludes with the argument that the success of any AWL-led listening-based vocabulary activity is dependent on its integration with other receptive (reading) and productive (writing and speaking) learning skills.

Index Terms: Listening, Vocabulary acquisition, Academic Word List, English for Academic Purposes.

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