by Willy A Renandya
National Institute of Education,
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Despite numerous theoretical discussions and empirical studies that have been generated in the past 30 years or so, a strategic approach to teaching L2 listening has not been whole-heartedly embraced by practitioners, in particular when they work with lower proficiency learners of English. I offer five possible reasons for this: first, the empirical evidence supporting listening strategy instruction is not particularly strong; second, strategy instruction places a rather heavy demand on the teachers; third, teachers are not totally convinced that strategy instruction can solve their students’ listening difficulties which often stem from basic decoding (word recognition) problems; fourth, lower proficiency learners have not acquired a threshold level of proficiency to take full advantage of strategy instruction; finally, there is a possibility that learners may not in fact need to learn strategies, as they may have acquired and used these strategies in their first language. Of these, the first reason, lack of strong empirical support, deserves serious attention from advocates of strategy-based instruction.