Education Evolutions

Improving listening comprehension advances students’ professional military education

English Language Training instructors in Vietnam are improving listening comprehension for their students to help them advance their careers.

Listening comprehension is a crucial component of language acquisition. It allows learners to extract meaning from language and fosters the development of linguistic competence. Lana Learn’s English Language Training (ELT) program in Vietnam places a high importance on improving listening comprehension. For students to complete the program and continue their professional military training journey, they must conquer the listening portions of the course assessments. The third ELT course at Unit 871 started in late November. Thus far, students have completed two content assessments with promising improvement in the listening sections.

Listening Assessment Data

The program instructors divided this cohort of 44 students in three classes based on English proficiency. The highest-level class, Alpha, has averaged above 90% for the listening portions on both Book Quizzes given. These Book Quizzes are designed by the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC). The instructors give these achievement tests every two weeks after the completion of each book in the curriculum.

The second class, Bravo, has maintained an average of 89% on the listening portion of both Book Quizzes this semester. The lowest-level class, Charlie, has a wide range of students that tested into the program. Their English proficiency levels ranged from zero experience to a high elementary level. Their first round of Book Quizzes averaged 73% on the listening portion. However, after less than a month of listening practice in Lana Learn’s Language Lab, their listening scores improved by 22%. The class average on the second Book Quiz was 89% for the listening portion.

Using a variety of listening materials

Listening comprehension makes up at least 50% of DLIELC assessments, so ELT instructors use a variety of listening materials to prepare students for success. The American Language Course (ALC) curriculum includes Language Laboratory Activities (LLA) workbooks and audio that students can use in the Language Lab. Students attend the lab daily for an hour to complete this part of the curriculum. In the lab, the designated lab instructor rotates guided instruction sessions and independent learning sessions. Guided instruction allows the instructor to identify problem areas and correct mistakes. On the other hand, independent learning sessions give the students a chance to practice self-paced listening activities.

Additionally, the lab instructor prepares supplemental listening activities and assessments. These include listening assessments that students take each book rotation. The students listen to audio questions and choose from a selection of multiple-choice answers. This type of assessment gives students practice in both curriculum content and test-taking strategies. The lab instructor also prepares authentic listening materials that give the students the opportunity to practice listening in a real world application.

Lana Learn’s ELT instructors are already seeing students make great strides in their English language acquisition journey. Due to consistent listening skills practice, students are increasing their language competency and improving their speaking and grammar skills.

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