in different sessions due to practicality issues and the high probability of losing some of the participants because of their absence in different sessions. Therefore, doing the questionnaires consecutively might have influenced the participants’ responses to the questionnaires.
• No attempt was made to determine if any of the participants had training in creativity, learning styles, and language learning strategies.
The delimitations that the researcher puts are:
• Since Reid’s PLSP questionnaire has been designed for English language learners at the university level (Wintergersta, DeCapuab, & Verna, 2002), the participants of the study were deliberately selected from among the students who were studying English Translation and English Literature at Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch.
• The participants of the present study were deliberately selected from among sophomore and senior students majoring in English Translation and English Literature at Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, based on the assumption that they had developed a wider range of learning strategies and were aware of the type of their learning style. Also, There was no chance, however to bring junior students into the study as there was no possibility for the researcher to use their class time for the purpose of the study.
• The researcher also limited the scope of this study to undergraduate students majoring in English Translation and English Literature at Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran in view of the fact that the number of undergraduate EFL learners significantly exceeds those of the graduate EFL learners in the context of this study.
• Before administering the Persian version of questionnaires, the participants were fully briefed on the process of completing the questionnaires; this briefing was given in Persian through explaining and exemplifying the process of choosing answers. The researcher intentionally randomized the order of administered questionnaires to control for the impact of order upon the completion process and validity of the data.
• To increase the tendency of the participants to answer the questionnaires more carefully and precisely, the researcher informed the participants that they will get their scores for each questionnaire via email or text message. In this way, it is expected that the participants will answer the questionnaires with more attention.
• It was assumed that all of the participants would fill out the questionnaires with full attention and honesty as the researcher announced that the results of the questionnaires would not have any effect on their final scores on the course and that they would be just used for the sake of the academic value of this research.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED
This study aimed at investigating the relationship among EFL learners’ language learning strategies, language learning styles, and creativity. In order to give readers some information about the underlying concepts and issues dealt with in this study, some related theories, studies, and findings are presented in this chapter.
1.2 Language Learning Strategies
Over the past two decades, research in second language education has largely focused on learner-centered approaches to second language teaching in an effort to lead learners towards autonomous and independent language learning (Reiss, 1985; Wenden, 1998; Tarone, 1981). At the same time, a shift of attention has taken place in second language acquisition research from the products of language learning to the processes through which learning takes place (Oxford, 1995). As a result of this change in emphasis, language learning strategies have emerged not only as integral components of various theoretical models of language proficiency but also as a means of achieving learners’ autonomy in the process of language learning.
Strategies are conscious actions that learners take to improve their language learning. Strategies are those specific “attacks” that we make on a given problem, and that vary considerably within each individual. They are the moment-by-moment techniques that we employ to solve “problems” posed by second language input and output.
1.2.1 Definitions of Language Learning Strategies
Within L2/FL education, a number of definitions of language learning strategies (LLS) have been used by key figures in the field. Early on, Tarone (1983) defined a learning strategy (LS) as “an attempt to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in the target language to incorporate these into one’s interlanguage competence” (P.67). In a helpful survey article, Weinstein (1986) defined learning strategies (LS) broadly as “behaviors and thoughts that a learner engages in during learning” which are “intended to influence the learner’s encoding process” (P. 315). Rubin (1987) later wrote that LS “are strategies which contribute to the development of the language system which the learner constructs and affect learning directly.” (p. 22) Mayor (1988) more specifically defined LS as “behaviors of a learner that are intended to influence how the learner processes information” (p. 11).
In their seminal study, O’Malley and Chamot (1990) defined LS as “the special thoughts or behaviors that individuals use to help them comprehend, learn, or retain new information” (p. 1). Finally, building on work in her book for teachers, Oxford (1995) provides this helpful definition:
…Language learning strategies are specific actions, behaviors, steps, or techniques that students use (often intentionally) to improve their progress in developing L2 skills. These strategies can facilitate the internalization, storage, retrieval, or use of the new language. Strategies are tools for the self-directed involvement necessary for developing communicative ability. (p. 18)
Also, Chamot (2005) defines strategies quite broadly as “procedures that facilitate a learning task. Strategies are most often conscious and goal driven” (p. 112).
From these definitions, a change over time may be noted: from the early focus on the product of language learning strategies (LLS) (linguistic or sociolinguistic competence), there is now a greater emphasis on the processes and the characteristics of LLS. At the same time, we should note that LLS are distinct from learning styles, which refer more broadly to a learner’s “natural, habitual, and preferred way(s) of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skills (Reid, 1995), though there appears to be an obvious relationship between one’s language learning style and his or her usual or preferred language learning strategies (Lessard-Clouston, 1997).
Strategies are conscious actions that learners take to improve their language learning. Strategies may be observable, such as observing someone take notes during an academic lecture to recall information better, or they may be mental, such as thinking about what one already knows about a topic before reading a passage in a textbook. Because strategies are conscious, there is active involvement of second language learners in their selection and use of strategies. Anderson (1991) argues that strategy use can be seen as an orchestra. Strategies are not isolated actions, but there is a process of orchestrating more than one action to accomplish a second language task. Strategies are related to each other and must be viewed as a process and not a single action. Research shows that less successful language learners often use the same strategies over and over again and do not make significant progress in their tasks. They do not recognize that the strategies they are using are not helping them to accomplish their goal. These less successful language learners are unaware of strategies available to them to successfully accomplish a language task. Successful language learners have a wider source of strategies and use a variety of them to accomplish their task of learning a language.
2.2.2 Background of Research on Language Learning Strategies
Research into language learning strategies began in the 1960s. Particularly, developments in cognitive psychology influenced much of the research done on language learning strategies (Williams and Burden, 1997). In 1966, Cartoon (cited in Rubin 1975) published his study entitled “The Method of inference in Foreign Language Study” which was the first attempt on learner strategies. After Cartoon, in 1975, Rubin started doing research focusing on the strategies of successful learners and stated that, once identified such strategies could be made available to less successful learners. Rubin (1975) classified strategies in terms of processes contributing directly or indirectly to language learning.
Bialystok, (1979); Chamot & O’Malley, (1987); Cohen and Aphek, (1981); Naiman, Frolich, Stern, & Todesko, (1978); Politzer & McGroarty, (1985); Tarone, (1983); Wenden, (1982); Wong-Fillmore, (1976) and many others studied strategies used by language learners during the process of foreign language learning. In most of the research on language learning strategies, the primary concern has been on identifying what good learners report they do to learn a second or foreign language, or, in some cases, are observed doing while learning a second or foreign language.
2.2.3 Taxonomies of Language Learning Strategies
Many scholars in the field such as Rubin (1987), O’Malley and Chamot (1990), Oxford (1990), etc. have classified language-learning strategies. However, most of these attempts to classify LLS reflect more or less the same categorization without any drastic changes. Below Rubin’s (1987), O’Malley and Chamot’s (1990), & Oxford’s (1990) taxonomies of LLS are presented.
18.104.22.168 Rubin’s Taxonomy
Rubin (1987), who is the pioneer in the field of LLS, draws a