The Effect of Personality Traits on Use of the Cognitive English Language Learning Strategies

By Fazeli, Seyed Hossein | International Journal of Linguistics, March 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Personality Traits on Use of the Cognitive English Language Learning Strategies


Fazeli, Seyed Hossein, International Journal of Linguistics


Abstract

The present study aims to find out the effect of personality traits on use of the Cognitive English Language Learning Strategies (CELLSs) for learners of English as a foreign language, and the role of personality traits in the prediction use of such Strategies. Four instruments were used, which were Adapted Inventory for Cognitive English Language Learning Strategies based on Cognitive category of Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) of Rebecca L. Oxfords (1990), A Background Questionnaire, NEO-Five Factors Inventory (NEO-FFI), and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Two hundred and thirteen Iranian female university level learners of English language as a university major in Iran, were asked to participate in this research work. The intact classes were chosen. The results show that however, there is a significant relationship between three traits of personality and use of the CELLSs, but personality cannot be as a strong predictor with high percent of contribution to predict use of the CELLSs.

Keywords: Cognitive learning strategies, Language learning strategies, English learning, Personality traits

1. Introduction

Since individual differences have been identified as variables influencing language learning outcome (Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; Skehan, 1989); and as it was shown by the study of Marttinen (2008), the high percent of source of learners' knowledge comes from teacher; Horwitz (1988) encourages teachers to discover the prescriptive beliefs which belong to their students. Moreover, in order to provide successful instruction, teachers need to learn to identify and understand their students' individual difference, and even they need to become more aware that weather their teaching styles are appropriate to their learners' strategies (Oxford & Cohen, 1992).

Recently some studies tend to concentrate more on individual differences in strategy performance (e.g. Oxford, 1992, 1993; Toyoda, 1998). In such related studies, it was showed for strategy instruction to be affected; it should take all the variables into account (Oxford & Crookball, 1989).

Since 1990s, there has been a growing interest on how personality correlates to the academic performance. Personality has been conceptualized at different levels of breadth (McAdams, 1992), and each of these levels include our understanding of individual understanding. Moreover, individuals are characterized by a unique pattern of traits, and some study shows successful language learners choose strategies suit to their personalities (Oxford & Nyikos, 1989). In addition, since Language Learning Strategies (LLSs) are not innate but learnable (Oxford, 1994), broad justifications have been offered for the evaluation of personality traits as a predictor of the Cognitive English Language Learning Strategies (CELLSs).

In such way, the premise underlying line of this research is that success in CELLSs plays an important role in affecting learners' English language learning process.

2. Review of the Literature

The studies on individual and personality differences are a central theme in psychology as well as the other areas of social and behavior sciences (Saklofske & Eysneck, 1998).

The examination of variation in human behavior is referred to as the study of individual differences (Ehrman & Dornyei, 1998). Such study of individual differences includes many subsets of studies such as the study of personality differences (Hampson & Colman, 1995), and personality factors that are important in development of linguistic abilities (Ellis, 1985). Psychologically, it is a truism that people are different in many fundamental ways, and learners are individuals, and there are infinitely variables (Skehan, 1989). In this manner, Horwitz (1999) points out "language learners are individuals approaching language learning in their own unique way" (p.558). In addition, individuals who are characterized as a particular psychological type, adopt different learning strategies (Brown, 2001). …

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