Poor listening comprehension in English related to emphasis on other skills

EDUMECENTRO 2022;14:e2171



Poor listening comprehension in English related to emphasis on other skills

Deficiente comprensión auditiva en inglés relacionada con el énfasis en otras habilidades


Mayelín Soler Herrera1* https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6710-6967
Alina Jiménez Rodríguez2 https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2158-2735
Clara Yusimí González Viamontes3 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9346-7678


University of Medical Sciences of Camagüey. Faculty of Stomatology. Camaguey. Cuba.


*Corresponding author. Email: msoler.cmw@infomed.sld.cu




The teaching-learning process of the English language has evolved and listening comprehension is of the utmost importance to acquire fluency in oral expression. For this reason, the authors set out to promote the need to develop this skill optimally and efficiently. The analysis carried out allowed us to conclude that this deficiency has been generated from the emphasis that teachers and students provide to other skills during the teaching of their contents.

MeSH: language; schools, dental; learning; professional development; education, medical.


El proceso enseñanza aprendizaje del idioma inglés ha evolucionado y la comprensión auditiva es de suma importancia para adquirir fluidez en la expresión oral. Por tal motivo, las autoras se propusieron promover la necesidad de desarrollar esta habilidad de manera óptima y eficiente. El análisis realizado permitió concluir que esta deficiencia se ha generado a partir del énfasis que proporcionan los docentes y estudiantes a otras habilidades durante la impartición de sus contenidos.

DeSC: lenguaje; facultades de Odontología; aprendizaje; superación profesional; educación médica.



Submitted: 25/11/2021
Accepted: 03/10/2022



The health professional trained in Cuba must be able to achieve fluent oral and written communication in English, using appropriate forms according to the communicative situation and the interlocutors in contexts of life in general, including those of an occupational and professional nature.(1) Hence, they need to know the language, have all its resources available and be consistent in this communication.(2)

From this perspective, the teaching-learning process of the English language has evolved and has been transformed to the extent that the plans and study programs of the specialties in higher medical education have been perfected, adjusting to the profile of the graduates and the needs of the national health system.

In this sense, the acquisition and command of the language and speech systems of the English language, as well as the development of linguistic macro-skills, acquires singular relevance; namely: reading, writing, listening and speaking adequately in the language. He agrees with Ávila(3) when declaring that listening comprehension is one of the four traditional linguistic skills in learning and teaching first and second languages; along with reading comprehension, oral and written expression.

However, it is important to highlight and emphasize that the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (4) replaces the traditional model of the four skills with new modes of communication, namely: reception, production, interaction and mediation. Likewise, it considers the development of the descriptive scales of linguistic levels described in the threshold, platform and advanced levels.

The authors of this work consider this Framework valid and pertinent due to the flexibility that characterizes it, in order to achieve an intensification of language learning teaching to achieve respect for diversity and identity and, in the same way, effective communication.

For this last purpose, the lexical, phonological and structural aspects of the language are not underestimated; but also the sociocultural component. In the same way, it is convenient to insist on skills, where hearing stands out for being significant.

Cruz's statement(5) is considered correct when pointing out that listening comprehension is extremely important to acquire fluency when expressing oneself orally. It not only helps to understand what people are saying, but also to communicate clearly with other people, learn how to pronounce words, use intonation and put stress on words and phrases properly.

In light of these criteria, what Arévalo(6) stated is recognized when he asserts that listening comprehension is involved in almost all daily activities, that is why it is essential for the development of true communicative competence; but in the particular case of learning a foreign language there are few opportunities to practice this skill outside the classroom, because this is not the main means of communication in the student's natural environment, so there are difficulties with the development of this skill. This ability limits the correct communication in English.

At Camagüey University of Medical Sciences, specifically in the Faculty of dentistry, in the 2019-2020 academic year, it is verified that there are deficiencies in the listening comprehension of the students. This is corroborated by the unsatisfactory results in the listening exercises that were applied to the groups of the General English cycle. Hence, the authors dedicated themselves to investigating the causes. Group interviews were carried out with the students; as well as a questionnaire and the following difficulties were determined:

  • In the general cycle, some study plans and programs emphasize other skills and hearing is not addressed enough.
  • Greater attention is paid to the rest of the language skills, for this reason hearing is not developed or practiced properly.
  • It is difficult for students to listen clearly, coherently, and logically.
  • The existence of some sounds typical of English that are not present in other languages is not unknown; as well as the variety of accents and intonation patterns, which complicates the hearing process.
  • The students refer to the need to listen to native voices in order to get used to it and create skills, in order to perform the listening comprehension exercises correctly.

The foregoing provokes reflection on the part of the authors to promote the need to create the essential conditions to describe the place where listening comprehension occurs, the means to be used, as well as the real motivation to listen. This requires the execution of processes of decoding and construction of meanings, in order to understand oral messages.

Successfully carrying out these processes requires skills and strategies that the student does not possess, and therefore, must be developed in the classroom. This is done with the purpose of preparing the student to perform correctly in real life situations.

To develop this listening comprehension in an optimal and efficient way, teachers should encourage students to work in the English laboratory, to the extent of the possibilities that the educational institution has, since it becomes an effective tool, for the sake of Minimize the concerns that learning any language can generate. It is the teacher's task to design the appropriate activities taking into account the processes related to listening comprehension and provide students with the necessary strategies to deal with situations that require listening comprehension.

As how controversial the topic is, it raises the need to promote the development of listening comprehension in order to achieve new ways to help improve this ability and, therefore, achieve a more effective communicative competence.



1. Ministerio de Salud pública. Modelo del profesional de la carrera de Estomatología. Camagüey. Universidad Médica de Camagüey; 2010.

2. García KC, Llanio G, Arenas R. La enseñanza del inglés como lengua extranjera: su inserción en la formación del profesional de enfermería en Cuba. Rev Cubana de Educación Superior [Internet]. 2016 [citado 25/04/2020];(2):[aprox. 13 p.]. Disponible en: http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_abstract&pid=S0257-43142016000200005&lng=es&nrm=iso

3. Ávila M. Mejora de la comprensión auditiva del inglés como segunda lengua mediante material audiovisual subtitulado. Sevilla: Universidad Pablo de Olavide; 2015.

4. Centro Virtual Cervantes. Marco Común Europeo de Referencias para las Lenguas: aprendizaje, enseñanza, evaluación. Madrid: Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte; 2002. Disponible en: http://cvc.cervantes.es/ensenanza/biblioteca-ele/marco/

5. Cruz A. El fortalecimiento de la comprensión auditiva, un aspecto fundamental en la enseñanza de la lengua inglesa. Rev Atlante: Cuadernos de Educación y Desarrollo [Internet]. 2017 [citado 25/04/2020];(11):[aprox. 14 p.]. Disponible en: https://www.eumed.net/rev/atlante/2017/11/ensenanza-lenguainglesa.html

6. Arévalo J. La comprensión auditiva en inglés como lengua extranjera. De la metacognición a la competencia comunicativa. Rev Internacional de Lenguas Extranjeras [Internet]. 2019[citado 25/04/2020];(11):[aprox. 15 p.]. Disponible en: http://revistes.urv.cat/index.php/rile



Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



Authors contribution

Design and methodology of the article: Mayelín Soler Herrera, Alina Jiménez Rodríguez and Clara Yusimí González Viamontes.
Bibliographic review: Mayelín Soler Herrera, Alina Jiménez Rodríguez and Clara Yusimí González Viamontes.
Preparation and review of the final draft: Mayelín Soler Herrera, Alina Jiménez Rodríguez and Clara Yusimí González Viamontes.

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