Don’t turn a deaf ear: a case for assessing interactive listening

Lam, D. M.K. (2021) Don’t turn a deaf ear: a case for assessing interactive listening. Applied Linguistics, 42(4), pp. 740-764. (doi: 10.1093/applin/amaa064)

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The reciprocal nature of spoken interaction means that participants constantly alternate between speaker and listener roles. However, listener or recipient actions—also known as interactive listening (IL)—are somewhat underrepresented in language tests. In conventional listening tests, they are not directly assessed. In speaking tests, they have often been overshadowed by an emphasis on production features or subsumed under broader constructs such as interactional competence. This article is an effort to represent the rich IL phenomena that can be found in peer interactive speaking assessments, where the candidate–candidate format and discussion task offer opportunities to elicit and assess IL. Taking a close look at candidate discourse and nonverbal actions through a conversation analytic approach, the analysis focuses on three IL features (i) listenership displays, (ii) contingent responses, and (iii) collaborative completions, and unpacks their relative strength in evidencing listener understanding. This article concludes by making a case for revisiting the role of IL, calling for more explicit inclusion of IL in L2 assessment as well as pedagogy.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The data and materials used for this article come from two projects funded through the Cambridge English Funded Research Programme, Rounds Seven and Eight (2016–2017 and 2017–2018).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lam, Dr Daniel
Authors: Lam, D. M.K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Applied Linguistics
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1477-450X
Published Online:11 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Oxford University Press
First Published:First published in Applied Linguistics 42(4):740-764
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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