learning style preferences, and creativity, regarding EFL learners.
1.3 Statement of the Research Questions
To fulfill the objective of the present study, the following research questions were proposed:
Q1: Is there any significant relationship among EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies, learning style preferences, and creativity?
Q2: Is there any significant relationship between using different types of language learning strategies and learning style preferences by EFL learners?
Q3: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies and their creativity?
Q4: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners’ learning style preferences and their creativity?
Provided that a significant correlation is obtained for the variables, the following questions were also raised:
Q5: Is there any significant difference among EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies and learning style preferences in predicting creativity?
Q6: Do EFL learners’ learning style preferences predict their use of language learning strategies?
Q 7: Does EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies predict their creativity?
Q 8: Do EFL learners’ learning style preferences predict their creativity?
1.4 Statement of the Research Hypotheses
Based on the above-mentioned research questions, the following null hypotheses were raised:
H01: There is no significant relationship among EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies, learning style preferences, and creativity.
H02: There is no significant relationship between using different types of language learning strategies and learning style preferences by EFL learners.
H03: There is no significant relationship between EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies and their creativity.
H04: There is no significant relationship between EFL learners’ learning style preferences and their creativity.
Provided that a significant correlation is obtained for the variables, the following hypotheses were also raised:
H05: There is no significant difference among EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies, and learning style preferences, in predicting creativity.
H06: EFL learners’ learning style preferences do not predict their use of language learning strategies.
H07: EFL learners’ use of language learning strategies does not predict their creativity.
H08: EFL learners’ learning style preferences do not predict their creativity.
1.5 Definition of Key Terms
1.5.1 Language Learning Strategies
Language learning strategies are specific actions, behaviors, steps, or techniques that students (often intentionally) use to improve their progress in developing L2 skills. These strategies can facilitate the internalization, storage, retrieval, or use of the new language (Oxford, 1990).
In this study language learning strategies are operationally defined as the score candidates obtained on the Persian version of the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) developed by Oxford (1990) and translated by Tahmasebi (1999). The questionnaire has 50 items, each item contains four-point Likert-type scale which is rated from 1 to 4 from “never true” to “always true”. The allocated time for answering the questionnaire is 20 minutes and the scores of the questionnaire ranged from 50 to 200.
1.5.2 Learning Style preferences
Dunn and Dunn (as cited in Reid, 1987) define learning styles as “a term that describes the variations among learners in using one or more senses to understand, organize and retain experience” (p. 89).
In this study learning styles are operationally defined as the scores candidates obtained on the Persian Version of Perceptual Learning Style Preference Survey (PLSP) developed by Reid (1987) and translated by Riazi and Mansoorian (2008). The questionnaire has 30 items; each item contains a five-Point Likert-type scale which is rated from 1 to 5 from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. The allocated time for answering the questionnaire is 20 minutes and the scores of the survey ranged from 30 to 150.
“The ability or the capacity of a person to discover and explore new areas to create or produce new idea, or theory or object including the arrangement or reshaping of what already exists” (Sarsani, 2005, p.105). Lefrancois (1994) describes creativity as “The capacity of individuals to produce novel or original answers or products” (p. 393).
In this study, creativity is operationally defined as the scores participants received on the Persian version of creativity questionnaire with 50 items. Each item contains three- point Likert-Type scale which is rated from 0 to 2 from least to most creative responses. The original English questionnaire was designed by O’Neil, Abedi, and Spielberger (1992). The questionnaire was translated by Daemi & Moghimi (2004) and validated by Zaker (2013). The allocated time for answering the questionnaire is 50 minutes and the scores of the questionnaire ranged from 0 to 100.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Language learning style preferences and language learning strategies are not only among the hot topics under the spotlight in the TEFL profession, but also are widely acknowledged to be among the cognitive factors which substantially impact, influence, and shape the process of learning English as a second/foreign language (Cohen, 1998; Reid, 1995).
Since the mid-1970s, close attention has been given to the role of strategies in second language learning (Anderson, 1991; Cohen, 1998; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 1990; Rubin, 1975; Wenden, 1998). The early research identified the strategies that good language learners used while they got engaged in language learning tasks. According to Ehrman and Oxford (1990) language learning strategies are linked to learning styles. For example an auditory learner may apply a strategy of reading aloud to hear a text. So, Cohen (1998) suggests teachers should be aware of learners’ styles and a wide variety of strategies that are used for adopting these styles.
Also, creativity as a divergent activity that expands beyond current experience (Richards, 2003), is one of the most important issues in the field of second and foreign language teaching and learning. Creativity needs to be explored in relationship with other variables, which are in close contact with individual learners’ differences and might influence their performance in English programs in which English is used as the medium of instruction and communication in the classroom (Carter, 2004).
Therefore, inspecting the relationship among creativity, learning style preferences and language learning strategies seems to be an attempt, which appears so justified, essential, and promising toward elevation and advancement of classroom practice and teacher education.
In the context of classroom-based L2 learning and teaching, it is the task of the teacher to help learners reach a desired level of linguistic and pragmatic knowledge that addresses their needs, wants, and situations. In order to carry out such a task, the teacher should be aware of the factors and processes that are considered to facilitate L2 development (Bell, 2003; Kumaravadivelu, 2008, 2012).
But it seems that, most teachers tend to teach in the way they were taught or in the way they preferred to learn (Tabanloglu, 2003). Sometimes conflicts might arise because of a mismatch between the teacher’s teaching style and learner’s learning styles, which might have negative consequences both on the part of the learner and teacher. For this reason, as Stebbins (1995) asserts teachers should know the general learning style profiles of the whole class, which will enable them to organize and employ instructional materials accordingly.
Since the language learners themselves are on the focus of attention in the process of language learning (Kumaravadivelu, 2008, 2012; Nation & Macalister 2010; Yang, 1998) so, raising students’ awareness regarding their learning styles and strategies might make them not only more prepared for learning but also more analytic about their learning styles and the strategies they make use of to become more creative their learning. Reid (1995) states that developing an understanding of learning environments and styles “will enable students to take control of their learning and to maximize their potential for learning” (p. 25).
The results of this study may assist syllabus designers and curriculum developers to integrate creativity, learning styles, and language learning strategies into the body of EFL materials in a way that serves the purpose of instruction and teaching best. Moreover, possessing a higher degree of understanding regarding these variables (creativity, learning styles and strategies) would enable them to proffer the learners the capability to know how to learn a language more creatively, how to monitor themselves, and how to develop their learning in order to become effective and independent language learners (Nation & Macalister, 2010).
1.7 Limitations, Delimitations and Assumptions
Like any other studies, this research had certain limitations and delimitations.
The researcher deemed it necessary to place some limitations to extend as much as possible the accuracy and generalizability of its results.
• During the data gathering phase of the study, it was observed that the number of male and female participants in this study were not equal. As a result, gender may act as an intervening variable.
• The participants of the study were adults because the PLSP questionnaire has been designed for English second language learners at the university level (Wintergerst, Decapua & Verna, 2002). Therefore, the result of study cannot be generalized to other age groups.
• The researcher did not administer the questionnaires