Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Relationship between EFL Learners' Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Their Language Learning Strategy Use

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Relationship between EFL Learners' Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Their Language Learning Strategy Use

Article excerpt

Abstract

The focus of education has changed from teacher-directed to learner-oriented instruction in previous years. Majority of studies in the field of EFL/ESL learning involves issues relevant to learners and their individual differences. Therefore, the present study focused on some of these individual variables; namely self-efficacy and language learning strategies. This study aimed at exploring the relationship between EFL learner's self-efficacy and language learning strategy use. Also, frequently language learning strategies by EFL learners and the existence of a significant difference in their self-efficacy beliefs and strategy use due to gender and years of English study are investigated. A group of 130 first year university students consented to participate in the present study. The results of statistical analyses indicated that there was no relationship between self-efficacy and language learning strategy use. Moreover, metacognitive strategies are frequently used language learning strategies by EFL learners. In addition, there were no significant differences in both self-efficacy and strategy use due to gender. But, there were significant differences in self-efficacy beliefs and only in metacognitive strategies due to years of English study.

Keywords: self-efficacy beliefs, language learning strategies

1. Introduction

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Following the conscious recognition of the learner as an active participant in the foreign language acquisition (EFL) process in Cognitive Theory, learner variables have been the focus of EFL research (Dornyei, 2005). Among learner variables self-efficacy beliefs and language learning strategies are more focused among researchers. In the last past two decades, the research findings support the contention that learner's self-efficacy beliefs strongly affect their performance (Bandura, 1997). Due to the lack of enough information about self-efficacy which affects learning, storing, retaining and academic performance of learners, results of the present study can be fruitful for Iranian teachers and learners. Oxford (1985) noted that strategies of successful language learners can provide a basis for aiding language learners. Because Iranian learners have less information about strategies and conscious use of language learning strategies, the findings of the present study can help them to be more successful. Furthermore, there is no study showing the existence of a relationship between self-efficacy and language learning strategies in Iran. Therefore, the results of this study can assist teachers to use new information in their teaching program.

1.2 Importance of the Problem

In the past years, most of the studies were conducted from the learner perspective and learner has a vital role in investigations. So, learner variables such as self-efficacy and language learning strategies are worthy of exploring. According to Bandura (1997), self-efficacy is a more consistent predicator of behavior and achievement than any other related variables. He noticed self-efficacy is the most influential arbiter in human agency and has a powerful role in making decisions. Also, he claimed learning new skills and performing them in authentic situations are much more related to self-efficacy beliefs than the other self-constructs. So, it is self-efficacy that helps us explain the reason of why people's behaviors are different when they have similar knowledge.

Another variable which has an important role in learning a foreign language is language learning strategies. From a teaching perspective, "unlike most other characteristics of learners, personality and general cognitive style, learning strategies are readily teachable" (Oxford & Nyikos, 1989, p. 291). Also, O'Malley, Chamot, Stewner-Manzanares, Russo & Kupper (1985) stated that learning strategies of proficient language learners applied to less proficient learners could have useful effects on facilitating the development of learning foreign language skills. …

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