Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Using Self-Regulated Learning Strategies in Enhancing Language Proficiency with a Focus on Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Using Self-Regulated Learning Strategies in Enhancing Language Proficiency with a Focus on Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt

Abstract

Self-regulated learning strategies have recently received a remarkable attention by researchers. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between self-regulated learning strategies and students' language proficiency as well as their reading comprehension. To do so, 115 Iranian EFL university students were selected. First, a TOEFL test was given to the participants so as to determine their language proficiency and reading comprehension. Then, they were asked to fill out Self-Regulated Learning Strategies Questionnaire (Al Asmari & Mahmoud Ismail, 2012). To analyze the data, descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation were conducted. The results revealed that there is a significant relationship between the students' use of self-regulated learning strategies and their language proficiency. Also, a significant relationship between the students' use of self-regulated learning strategies and their reading comprehension was found. Finally, the pedagogical message of this study is that teachers and students should incorporate self-regulated learning strategies into their teaching and learning process.

Keywords: self-regulated learning strategies, language proficiency, reading comprehension

1. Introduction

The concept of learning a foreign language has commonly been misunderstood as just being able to speak in that language. In fact, learning a foreign language is not only a matter of speaking, but also a matter of reading, writing, and listening as well. Each of these skills has its own place and none of them should be neglected. On the other hand, "learning is not something that happens to students; it is something that happens by students" (Zimmerman, 1989, p. 21). Looking at the history of teaching methods, it is noticed that there has been a great shift from teacher-centeredness to student-centeredness. Therefore, learners direct their own learning process and hence become independent. This requires learners to be familiar with some skills and strategies. Consequently, teachers' task is to help them to improve self-regulatory skills (Zimmerman, Bonner, & Kovach, 1996). But, it is not enough; as Zimmerman et al. (1996) claimed, "many students who have knowledge of a learning strategy will not continue to use it unless their knowledge leads to appropriate goal setting, accurate strategic process and outcome self-monitoring, and greater self-efficacy" (p. 10), which compose their self-regulatory strategies. As self-regulated learning strategies (SRLSs) are good predictors of EFL learners' attainment (Ghanizadeh & Mirzaee, 2012; Judd, 2005; Mahadi & Subramaniam, 2013); therefore, developing these strategies in students will be helpful to become more strategic learners who take major responsibility for their own learning.

Self-regulation (SR) seems to be closely related to reading comprehension. Housand and Reis (2008) claimed that "some environmental conditions, such as organization of materials and clear expectations, support the development and use of self-regulated learning strategies in reading" (p. 109). James (2012) pointed out that there is a positive correlation between students' use of self-regulated reading strategies and an increase in their reading performance. Similarly, Ayatollahi, Rasekh, and Tavakoli's (2012) findings were likely to confirm the idea that part of the achievements in L2 academic reading ability can be the result of SRLSs and epistemological beliefs. Furthermore, Zarei and Hatami's (2012) research suggested that the relationships between self-regulated learning (SRL) components and reading comprehension knowledge of learners are mixed. Moreover, Al Asmari and Mahmoud Ismail (2012) found that some of the SRLSs are predictors of reading comprehension. Likewise, Yigzaw and Fentie (2013) revealed that elaboration, organizing and transforming, and also rehearsing and memorizing strategies are significant predictors of students' reading performance. …

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