Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Strategy Use of Russian Pre-Service TEFL University Students: Using a Strategy Inventory for Program Effectiveness Evaluation

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Strategy Use of Russian Pre-Service TEFL University Students: Using a Strategy Inventory for Program Effectiveness Evaluation

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The focus of the present study is on identifying categories of learning strategies that are mostly used by Russian university students in an English Linguistics Program with a TEFL concentration. The more specific goal of the study is to offer a model of evaluation of the effectiveness of TEFL-oriented programs in terms of the language learning strategies their students use and recognize as pedagogically applicable to their EFL enviromnent. To this end, two groups of students were compared on their self-reported frequency of strategy use -1st year students (n = 23), who had just entered the program, and 4th year students (n = 38), who were close to graduating from the program and entering the teaching profession. The main instrument used in the study was a version of the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL), designed by Oxford (1990). Overall, both groups showed high to medium frequency of use of all strategy categories; however, the 4th year students revealed a more finely- grained scale of strategy use priorities. The findings of the study can help curriculum designers and instructors refine the focus of their TEFL-track programs and make informed decisions about emphases and de-emphases in their students' training.

KEYWORDS: language learning strategies, ESL/EFL strategy use, pre-service teachers, TEFL program SILL

RESUMEN

El presente estudio se propone identificar las categorías de estrategias de aprendizaje más utilizadas por estudiantes universitarios rusos en un programa de lingüística en inglés con una concentración TEFL. El fin principal es ofrecer un modelo que sirva para evaluar la efectividad de programas TEFL en términos de estrategias de aprendizaje de idiomas usadas por los estudiantes y aplicables a su entorno EFL. A tal fin se compararon dos grupos de estudiantes partiendo de una encuesta sobre la frecuencia del uso de estrategias - alumnos del 1er año (n=23), que acababan de iniciar el programa, y alumnos de 4o año (n=38), a punto de graduarse y ejercer la profesión de docente. El instrumento utilizado en el estudio fue una versión del Inventario de Estrategias de Aprendizaje de idiomas (SILL, del inglés Strategy Inventory for Language Learning), diseñando por Oxford (1990). Globalmente, ambos grupos demostraron una frecuencia de alta a media en el uso de todas las categorías de estrategias. Sin embargo, los alumnos de 4o año mostraron una escala más precisa en el uso de estrategias. Los resultados del estudio pueden ayudar a docentes y diseñadores de currículos a perfeccionar el enfoque de sus programas en la modalidad TEFL y tomar decisiones fundamentadas en cuanto a lo que se debe enfatizar o no durante la formación de sus alumnos.

PALABRAS CLAVE: estrategias de aprendizaje, uso de estrategias en ESL/EFL, profesores en formación, programas TEFL, SILL

1. INTRODUCTION

Language learning strategies have received much attention since the mid 1970s as the development of learners' strategic competence has started to be seen as part of the development of their communicative competence (Celce- Mercia, 2001; Oxford, 1990, 2001). It has also become widely accepted that language learning requires learners' active involvement in the process of language acquisition, hence, their strategy use reveals much about the way they select, acquire, organize, relate knowledge, or exercise control over the tasks they are involved in (Oxford, 1990). This active involvement on learners' part also suggests that the burden of responsibility of developing strategic competence (i.e. the knowledge of a range of language learning strategies) is shared between learners and teachers in that learners are ultimately responsible for choosing and implementing appropriate strategies (Cohen, 1998) and instructors become ultimately responsible for incorporating strategy instruction (both implicit and explicit) in their language teaching practices to provide their students with the strategy "tools" to become independent learners. …

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