C. Analyzing and reasoning
D. Creating structure for input and output
III. Compensation strategies
A. Guessing intelligently
B. Overcoming limitations in speaking and writing
I. Metacognitive Strategies
A. Centering your learning
B. Arranging and planning your learning
C. Evaluating your learning
II. Affective Strategies
A. Lowering your anxiety
B. Encouraging yourself
C. Taking your emotional temperature
III. Social Strategies
A. Asking questions
B. Cooperating with others
C. Empathizing with others
Based on the classification system described above, Oxford (1990) developed and inventory called the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) to collect data regarding language-learning strategies.
2.2.4 Method to Investigate Learning Strategies
A method that has been found to be very successful in investigating the language learning strategies involves the use of structured interviews and questionnaires. Both of these methods call for retrospective account of the strategies learners employ. A large number of studies have used these methods (Oxford, 1989; Rubin, 1975; Stren, 1983; Wenden, 1986). Interviews and questionnaires can require learners to report on the learning strategies they use in general or in relation to a specific activity. For example Wenden (1986) conducted interviews in which she asked learners to comment on specific learning activities. She had them first complete a grid of daily activities and then asked them to recreate each activity by describing it. Finally, she asked more questions relating to strategies they used to express themselves, to understand what was said to them, and to think in the second language.
Another way to investigate the language learning strategies is using Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). Based on Ellis (1994) perhaps the most comprehensive classification of learning strategies to date is that provided by Oxford (1990). The classification that Oxford first came up with was used as a basis for constructing a questionnaire on learning strategies, which is called Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). Oxford and Burry-Stuck (cited in Oxford, 1990) report on the successful use of this inventory in gathering data on language learning strategies. One great advantage of SILL is that reliability and validity of data are available. Oxford (1996) reports on the psychometric qualities of the SILL. Reported results of reliability for ESL/EFL SILL range from .86 to .91 when learners respond to the questionnaire in their second language (English). Translated versions of the SILL have been used in many research projects. Reliability coefficients increase when learners respond in their L1 to .91 to .94. Whether administered in the subjects’ L1 or L2, the SILL has high reliability (Hinkel, 2005). A number of important findings concerning the relationship of strategies to a student’s degree of success in learning and to other variables as well have been generated by studies using the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning, or SILL (reprinted in Oxford, 1990). This is a self-scoring, paper-and-pencil survey that has been the key instrument in more than 40 studies, including 12 dissertations and theses. These studies have involved approximately 8,000 students around the world. The SILL consists of statements following the general format “I do such-and-such”; students respond on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Never or almost never true of me) to 5 (Always or almost always true of me). Reliability (Cronbach alpha for internal consistency) of various forms of the SILL is .93, .98, depending largely on whether the students take the SILL in their own language or in the L2. The structure of the SILL is based on Oxford’s (1990) system for classifying strategies into six groups:
Affective strategies: for anxiety reduction, self-encouragement, and self-reward;
Social strategies such as asking questions, cooperating with native speakers, and becoming culturally aware;
Meta-cognitive strategies: for evaluating one’s progress, planning for language tasks, consciously searching for practice opportunities, paying attention, and monitoring errors;
Memory-related strategies: such as grouping, imagery, rhyming, moving physically, and reviewing in a structured way;
Cognitive strategies: such as reasoning, analyzing, summarizing, and practicing; &
Compensatory strategies: (to make up for limited knowledge), such as guessing meanings from context and using synonyms and gestures to convey meaning.
2.2.5 Researches on Learning Strategies
Numerous practical researches have been done on the LLSs and their relationship with the factors that are significant in foreign or second language learning. For instance:
Kamarul, Coiner & Scherz (2009) attempted to have a closer look and gender and Arabic language learning strategies use. The purpose of their study was to investigate whether or not there were differences between male and female Arabic students regarding the LLSs that were used by them. They surveyed 457 students at 13 secondary schools in Terengganu, Malaysia and used Oxfords’ SILL questionnaire. They found out that a significant gender difference exists in the use of LLSs in general and that female students use LLSs more frequently than males. They also realized that female students outnumber the male students in the use of affective and metaphysic strategies.
Haifa Al- Buainain (2010) did a research on language learning strategies employed by English majors at Qatar University. The participants were 120 Arab students enrolled in the Foreign Languages Department at Qatar University. The research used Strategies Inventory of Language Learning (SILL) questionnaire. According to the findings of her study, students tended to use metacognitive strategies more frequently than the other LLSs and the least frequently used LLSs were affective strategies. The results also revealed that based on students’ level and proficiency, they used different LLSs.
Norman Fewell (2010) studied the language learning strategies utilized by Japanese college EFL students using a Japanese translated version of SILL questionnaire, a computerized English proficiency test in addition to a brief background questionnaire. The results of his study indicated that LLSs selected by students may have a significant effect on their success or failure in foreign language learning. Yu & Wang (2009) conducted a study to investigate the LLSs employed by Chinese secondary school EFL students in north east China from the perspective of socio-cultural theory. They used both quantitative and qualitative method to achieve their goal. They concluded that the most frequently used LLSs by Chinese secondary school EFL learners were memory and cognitive strategies they also found out that based on the learning context, classroom practice and evaluation method, Chinese EFL learners utilized different LLSs.
Hong (2006) compared monolingual Korean and bilingual Korean-Chinese university students’ beliefs about language learning and language learning strategy use. In order to collect data, Strategy Inventory Language Learning (SILL), the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) and Individual Background Questionnaire (IBQ) were used. He discovered that monolinguals used compensation strategies most frequently. While the most frequently used strategies by bilinguals were cognitive strategies. However, both groups’ use of social and memory strategies were less than the other strategies. Although both groups were strongly motivated to learn English, that is they had strong instrumental motivation to do so, the bilingual group had stronger beliefs about the significance of language learning and was not afraid of communicating and speaking with English native speakers.
Many researches are conducted regarding learning strategies in our context:
Fatemi and Moghaddam (2012) conducted a research to study The Effect of Learning Strategies on the Speaking Ability of Iranian TEFL Sophomores. Sixty homogeneous subjects were randomly assigned into the experimental group receiving the strategy-instruction besides their usual conversation; and the control group receiving the instruction in the traditional way (non strategy) throughout a full semester. At the very beginning of the study both groups took part in two pre-tests which were given to them in the form of an interview for testing their speaking ability and a questionnaire for checking their strategy awareness. Finally both groups took the same instruments as post-tests. The results of data analysis indicated that strategy instruction makes a positive significant difference in the learners’ strategy use; moreover, it was found out that, even though both groups improved in their speaking ability, results of t-test proved that the group of strategy-instruction could significantly outperform those in non-strategy group.
Another research was conducted by Daneshvar (2012). This research aimed at discovering the type and frequency of LLSs that Iranian advanced EFL learners use in learning a language. To this end, 60 EFL learners including IELTS candidates as well as university students learning English as a foreign language were selected. The data required for the present study was gathered through Oxford’s SILL questionnaire. The results showed that the most frequently LLSs employed by learners was metacognitive strategy and the least frequently used ones were memory and affective strategies. The findings include pedagogical implications for language teachers, learners, and material designers.
Jafari and Hajizade (2012) carried out a research to investigate the English learning strategies of Iranian ESP students. In addition,