Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Student' Learning Styles and Their Language Learning Strategies

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Student' Learning Styles and Their Language Learning Strategies

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between students' learning styles and strategies in Iranian EFL learners. The questions this study tried to answer were 1) what are learning style and strategy preferences of Iranian learners of English at university level, 2) whether there is a relationship between learning styles and strategies of learners 3) is there a difference in learning style and strategy preferences learners. To answer the questions, 140 students were randomly selected by coin-tossing to complete two questionnaires. One was used to identify students' learning styles and the other was used to identify students' learning strategies. In addition, think aloud protocols were held to determine cognitive and metacognitive strategies students used while reading in order to support quantitative results. The results of descriptive statistics revealed that kinesthetic, tactile, and auditory learning fall into the major learning styles. The data analysis of the second questionnaire revealed that metacognitive, social and cognitive strategies were favored the most. The results indicated that visual styles with affective, the auditory styles with metacognitive, the kinesthetic styles with cognitive, the tactile styles with cognitive, the individual learning styles with metacognitive, the group learning styles with metacognitive strategies had significant relationships, and none of the learning styles had a significant relationship with compensation and memory strategies. Based on the results obtained from MANOVA it concluded that gender of participants had a significant effect on their learning styles and strategies and female participants outperformed the male participants. Think aloud protocols revealed that participants used various cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

KEY WORDS: Language learning strategies, learning styles, auditory learner, visual learner, tactile learner, kinesthetic learner, group learning, individual learning

Introduction

From the early 1970s, some researchers in the field of learning and teaching changed the focus from the language teaching methodology to the language learner and the variables that affect language learning. Language Learning Strategies (LLS) and learning styles have been considered as the most popular aspects that affect language learning and teaching. Oxford (1990) defined learning strategies as" specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more selfdirected, more effective, and more transferable to new situations". Dunn and Dunn (1979 as cited in Reid 1987) defined learning style as" a term that describes the variations among learners in using one or more senses to understand, organize, and retain experience".

Theoretical framework

Nowadays language learning is one of the most important needs of people and many of them are trying to learn a second language. Therefore, from the early 1970s, some researchers in the field of learning and teaching have been trying to find out teaching methods, classroom techniques, and instructional materials that will promote better language instruction. However, in spite of all the efforts it has been noticed that learners have not progressed as much as it was expected, because there are individual differences in language learning such as gender, age, social status, motivation, attitude, aptitude, culture, etc.; what works for one learner might not work for another(for some overviews see R.Ellis,2004). Therefore, none of the methods and techniques has proved that they can work all the time, in all classes, with all students. As a result, based on Grenfell and Harris' (1999) statement "Methodology alone can never be a solution to language learning. Rather, it is an aid and suggestion" (p. 10).

After reaching this conclusion, some other people in the field changed the focus from the language teaching methodology to the language learner and the variables that affect language learning. …

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