Learning Strategies Instruction in Second Language Classroom

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LEARNING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION IN SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSROOM Dr.A.Joycilin Shermila, Associate Professor, Annammal College of Education for Women, Tuticorin - 628003 jshermila@yahoo.com “WE CANNOT TEACH ANOTHER PERSON DIRECTLY; WE CAN ONLY FACILATE HIS/HER LEARNING” - Carl Rogers

Learning Strategies are a set of operations, steps and plans used by the learner to facilitate the storage, retrieval and use of information. Richards and Platt (1992: 209) assert that learning strategies are ‘intentional behaviour and thoughts used by learners during learning so as to better help them understand, learn, or remember new information’. Cohen (1998) says that learning strategies are consciously selected by the learner. All language learners use language learning strategies either consciously or unconsciously when they get new information and use them in the second language. It is reported that language learners who are capable of using a wide variety of language learning strategies appropriately can improve their language skills (Fedderholdt, 1997).

Characteristics of the Second Language Learner

There are students with different categories in classrooms for learning the second language. Teachers should educate different language learners with their special characteristics and must provide an individual quality education to suit the requirements of the second language learners. There are a great number of learner characteristics and the teacher must identify different strategic techniques associated with different second language learners.

Agreement between Teachers and Learners

Teachers shoulder much of the responsibility for learning in the classroom. But in a language classroom teachers and students should share responsibility. The teachers take the role of a facilitator and the students take their role as active participants who are responsible for their learning. There must be an agreement between teachers and second language learners regarding how each will contribute in the learning process. These agreements will be more successful if students provide the input on the agreement with guidance from the teacher. A sense of trust and a shared responsibility has to be established between teachers and language learners.

The teacher is a coach who presents different kinds of plays, gives advice and opportunities for practice and provides feedback and support when playing the game. Students are to play, make decisions and evaluate themselves during the game. In the learning process the teacher can guide, facilitate and present materials clearly in an understandable way. But, the teacher cannot learn the language for the sake of the students. Students must take initiative for seeking opportunity to learn the language. The Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”, which can also illustrate how the classroom should operate. The teacher gives students learning tools which will be useful for language learning.

Students must be aware of their learning process and must be able to take control of their learning. A learner-centred classroom must initially be created by the teacher and must be accepted by the students. A learner-centred classroom cannot be worked at so that all participants support the environment and are supported by the environment. The stage must be set in order for strategies instruction to occur successfully.

Setting Goals to Increase Motivation

Students are to set language goals for them and that is a crucial step in second language classroom. Setting personal language goals increase their involvement in the learning...
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