Many studies have shown that sustained silent reading (SSR), where students read silently for a short period of time every day in class, helps improve their reading abilities. Compared to SSR, few studies have been done on listening activities which allow students to listen for some minutes of each class. In this paper, listening activities where students listen to English for a short period of time of each class are referred to as "sustained listening" (SL) and its effects on university EFL learners are examined.
SL was conducted for five consecutive weeks in the class of "Introduction to English Literature." The length of each class was 90 minutes, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë was dealt with. The number of the students was 35 and the average score in TOEIC was 753. The students were basically required to do three things in the class: (1) for the first 40-60 minutes they read some passages of Wuthering Heights in the original with the help of the lecturer in terms of background knowledge and English itself; (2) secondly, they watched the film Wuthering Heights (Paramount Pictures, 1992) directed by Peter Kosminsky for 15 minutes; (3) they spent the last 15 minutes on SL. For the SL activities, the audio CD of a simplified text of Wuthering Heights (Penguin Readers, Level 5) was used. Before listening to the CD, the students were given a question sheet with 5 or 6 questions on the content they would listen to so that they could listen with concentration. The answers were given by the lecturer at the end of each class.
The effects of SL were examined in two ways: (I) the students' listening abilities; (2) their attitudes towards listening to a simplified text of literature. To see the change in the students' listening abilities, pretest-posttest research was conducted: at the beginning of the first class the students listened to the audio CDs of Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Readers, Level 5) and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Penguin Readers, Level 5) and answered 20 questions (four-option multiple choice); towards the end of the last class they listened to the same CDs and answered the same questions. The numbers of the questions correctly answered were compared, and the difference was statistically analysed. To access the students' attitudes towards listening to the simplified text of Wuthering Heights, a questionnaire was developed and conducted at the end of the last class just after the post-test mentioned above.