Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Language Learning Strategies Employed by Chinese English-Major Pre-Service Teachers in Relation to Gender and Personality Types

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Language Learning Strategies Employed by Chinese English-Major Pre-Service Teachers in Relation to Gender and Personality Types

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study was intended to investigate the use of language learning strategy employed by English-major pre-service teachers in Midwest China in relation to their gender and personality types. The modified Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and adopted personality type inventory were used to collect the data. ANOVA and Chi-square tests were performed for data analysis. The results revealed that gender and personality types have some effects on pre-service teachers' strategy use at the overall, category and individual levels. The variation patterns of the strategy use were found in terms of the two variables. The implications of these findings for ESL teaching and learning were also discussed.

Keywords: language learning strategies, gender, personality types, extroversion-introversion scale, judging-perceiving scale

1. Introduction

In the field of L2 acquisition, language learning strategies (LLSs) have been considered to be a key variable in the study of individual differences (Skehan, 1989; Oxford, 1990; Dömyei, 2005). Oxford (1990, p. 1) states that strategies are "especially important for language learning because they are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential for developing communicative competence. Appropriate LLSs result in improved proficiency and greater self-confidence". According to Chang, Liu and Lee (2007), researchers believe that LLSs play significant roles in L2/FL learning, due to the fact that LLSs can help learners to facilitate the acquisition, storage, retrieval or use of information and increase self-confidence. Students use learning strategies to learn a wide range of subjects, from native language reading to new languages. Different language learners using different learning strategies result in successful and unsuccessful language learners.

Research on LLSs have been going on over 30 years and have made great achievements and contributions to theories on strategies and L2 acquisition. Early research on LLSs focuses more on good language learner studies (e.g. Rubin, 1975; Stem, 1975; Naiman et al., 1978). Then many researchers show their interest in factors influencing choice of LLSs (e.g. Chamot & O'Malley, 1987; Oxford & Nyikos, 1989; Ehrman, 1990; El-Dib, 2004; Hong-Nam & Leavell, 2006; Kavasoglu, 2009; Radwan, 2011), and in relationship among LLSs, some variables of individual differences, and learning outcomes (e.g., Magogwe & Oliver, 2007; Lee & Oxford, 2008; Wong & Nunan, 2011). A range of factors have been found to affect strategy choice, some relating to the learner, and others to the situational and social context of learning. Those investigated variables include learner factors such as age, aptitude, motivation, personality types, learner's personal background etc., and situational and social factors, such as gender, the language being learned, specific learning settings in classroom (Ellis, 2008).

Language learning strategy research began in China in the mid 1980s and has made achievements since 1990s. Chinese researchers have done some studies, and some typical research works on LLSs have appeared (e.g. Wen, 1995; Yang, 1999; Zhang, 2004; Chang, Liu, & Lee, 2007; Yang, 2007; Wu, 2008; Yu & Wang, 2009; Zhou, 2010). However, there are still some problems on strategy research in China nowadays. With regard to research subjects, English-majors pre-service teachers are seldom investigated. In terms of research variables, some variables are seldom examined as well, such as personality types. The relatively more researched personality aspect in language studies has been the extroversion-introversion dimension (Dömyei, 2005). Although Li and Qin (2006) has such claim that judging and perceiving scale has more significant influence on strategy choice than extroversion-introversion scale, there are few studies on effects of judging-perceiving scale on strategy use in China. In addition, although gender has been shown to have a strong effect on learners' use of different types of strategies (Rahimi, Riazi, & Saif, 2011), the results have not come to the agreement either, with mixed results of the effects of gender on LLSs. …

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