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2011 International Conference on Social Science and Humanity (ICSSH 2011)

Language Learning Strategy Preferences of Iranian EFL Students

Jahanbakhsh Nikoopour

Mohammad Amini Farsani

Jahangir Kashefi Neishabouri

English Translation Studies Dept.
IAU, North Tehran Branch
Tehran, Iran
e-mail: j_nikoopour@iau-tnb.ac.ir

Foreign Languages Dept.
University for Teacher Education
Tehran, Iran
e-mail: m_amini.farsani@yahoo.com

Psychology Dept.
University for Teacher Education
Tehran, Iran
e-mail: ampir@ymail.com

Abstract—The current study was carried out with the
intention of investigating the most preferred strategy used by EFL students in Iran. The instrument utilized in this study
was Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) to
assess the learners' strategy use frequency in language
learning. The findings revealed that,in terms of overall
strategy use, Iranian EFL learners are, in general, moderate strategy users. The results showed that Iranian EFL learners preferred to use metacognitive as the most frequently used
language learning strategy and memory as the least frequently one.
Keywords-component: language learning strategies, Iranian
EFL learners

I.

INTRODUCTION

Within the field of education over the last few decades, a
gradual but significant shift has taken place, resulting in less emphasis on teachers and teaching and greater stress on
learners and learning. The reasonable goal for language
teachers is to make their students become less dependent on
teachers and reach a level of autonomy [28]. At the same
time, a shift of attention has taken place in second language acquisition research from the products of language learning
to the processes through which learning takes place [21]. As a result of this change in emphasis, language learning
strategies (LLSs) have emerged not only as integral
components of various theoretical models of language
proficiency [7][2], but also as a means of achieving learners’ autonomy in the process of language learning [21].
Extensive investigation has shown the importance of
language learning strategies in making language learning
more efficient and in producing a positive effect on learners’ language use [19][22][5]. Nevertheless, research in this area has shown that not all learners use language learning
strategies (LLSs) in the same fashion.
II.

STUDIES ON LANGUAGE LEARNING STRATEGIES

Within the area of foreign language research, a number
of studies indicate that learning strategies play a significant role in successful language learning. In the last two decades, numerous studies of learning strategies have been conducted
mainly to find out what strategies learners use, as well as
factors affecting these choices. One of the best known of
these studies is that of Naiman, Frohlich, Stern, and Todesco

978-1-4244-9374-6/11/$26.00

C

2011 IEEE

[17]. This was a double-barreled study of highly successful
adult L2 learners and adolescent classroom learners of L2
French, using intensive face to face interviews with the
former and classroom observation with the latter. The results showed that interviewing learners was more effective than
observation as many of strategies learners use are mental and so not directly observable.
However, there have been a few later studies of good
language learners. Gan, Humphreys, and Hamp-Lyons [10]
reported a comparative study of successful and unsuccessful
learners of English in Chinese universities. The findings
revealed that the unsuccessful students relied on rotememorization, whereas the successful students relies on a systematic plan and supplemented rote-learning with strategies for reinforcing what they had learnt. Halbach [14] reached a similar conclusion after analyzing the use of language learning strategies of the students of English. She found that the weaker students demonstrated a lack of critical self-awareness, that is, they had little use of the...
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