Factors Affecting Acquisition

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Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 2010, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 66–85 © Centre for Language Studies National University of Singapore

Factors Affecting Language Learning Strategy Reported Usage by Thai and Vietnamese EFL Learners Attapol Khamkhien
(faasapk@ku.ac.th) Kasetsart University, Thailand

Abstract This paper is a report on an investigation into the relationship between three variables and language learning strategy use by Thai and Vietnamese university students using Oxford’s 80 item Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). Two main objectives of this study are: 1) to determine three factors: how gender, motivation and experience in studying English affect the choices of language learning strategies; and 2) to compare the roles of these factors and the pattern of language learning strategy used by Thai and Vietnamese students. The analysis revealed that, amongst these three factors, motivation is the most significant factor affecting the choice of the strategies, followed by experience in studying English, and gender, respectively. Following the taxonomy of Oxford’s language learning strategies, the analysis also showed that lowly-motivated and inexperienced Thai female students tend to use the six strategy categories less than their Vietnamese counterparts. This study’s findings would be beneficial to Thai and Vietnamese educational planners and methodologists in general, and classroom teachers in particular, facilitating the better understanding of the roles of crucial variation in learning English exiting between male and female, motivation and experience in studying English.

1 Introduction Within the realm of second language acquisition and learning, a large number of research bodies (e.g. Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 1990) have agreed that language learning strategy use is one of the most important factors in the second language acquisition process. Many studies of second language learning (e.g. Green & Oxford, 1995; Griffiths & Parr, 2001; Oxford, 1990; Park, 1997; Wharton, 2000) have extensively documented how successful learners seem to use a wider variety of language learning strategies than unsuccessful learners. Meanwhile, several studies (e.g. Bruen, 2001; Cohen, 1998; Oxford, 1990; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Purpura, 1997; Shen, 2005; Wharton, 2000) have revealed that selecting appropriate strategies could enhance the learners’ performance of second language learning. Therefore, it is clear that the choices of strategies used by second language learners plays a vital role in second language learning. Likewise, scholars and researchers in second language acquisition are also interested in determining the effect of strategy use on success in learning another language. Oxford (1989), for example, suggests that the variables that seem to influence language learning strategy choice include age, sex, attitudes, motivation, language learning goals, motivational orientation, learning style, aptitude, career orientation, national origin, language teaching methods, task requirements, language being learned, duration, and degree of awareness. Among these variables, gender, motivation, and experience in studying a language are claimed to have discernible influences on the

Factors Affecting Language Learning Strategy Reported Usage

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choices of language learning strategies (Dörnyei, 2001; Goh & Kwah, 1997; Gu, 2002; Hong-Nam & Leavell, 2006; MacIntyre, 1994; Mochizuki, 1999; Wharton, 2000; Yutaka, 1996). Despite the fact that the published research mentioned above shows that over the past decades, researchers investigated effective language leaning strategies and variables contributing to the use of strategy, certain criticisms of this line of research have been raised. First, different scholars and researchers have investigated learning strategies from different settings, reaching somewhat different conclusions as well...
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