The thesis relates to the devising of expository inputs, with
appropriate exercises, intended to develop listening comprehension
skills in mother-tongue speakers of English in Scottish Secondary
Schools, with special reference to S3 and S4 (Grades 10/11) at all
levels: Foundation, General and Credit. 210 pupils from four
different Scottish Secondary Schools were involved in the trials.
Inputs and exercises were influenced by studies relating to both
reading and listening comprehension, and in particular by research
done in connection with the Scottish Education Department Listening
Comprehension Project, (1982-85).
Inputs were devised which were graded according to various text
organisation factors, in particular (1) whether or not their input was
pre-structured, i.e. based on a given text-organisation framework, and
(2) the degree to which the given structure was signalled in the
input. On experimental trialling with S3 Foundation and General
pupils, a significant main effect for grade was discovered (p <.003);
within this, the presence of pre-structuring was a significant factor;
there was also an observed difference for the degree of signalling,
but this was not statistically significant.
Tasks were devised with respect to: the use of pre-questions,
followed by either oral or pictorial response; use of
text-organisation analysis charts; and prediction, both from a title
and in-text. A trend for pre-questions to facilitate comprehension
was discovered, but this was not statistically significant. Text
organisation analysis: the trialling showed the unexpected result
that, given appropriate support, pupils from S3 General level upwards
can handle text-organisation charts with ease, and even S3 Foundation
pupils can handle them successfully, albeit with more difficulty.
Prediction from a title: pupils found it easier to make predictions
from "prompts" than to construct their own. In-text prediction: it
was not possible to validate the scheme of grading devised, but it was
noted that predictions where the pupils were out of sympathy with the
views being expressed by the speaker proved less likely to be realised
in the text, than predictions made with respect to more neutral
topics. There was also some indicative evidence of the value of
group-work in improving pupils' responses, and in raising the quality
of collective responses.