GGGE6533 Sem 2 (2013/2014) Language Learning
By Nor Dalila Ismail
(1) Teacher‟s mediating role
• The high percentage of learner‟s knowledge comes from the teacher (Marttinen, 2008).
• From sociocultural perspective: The relationship between language learning strategies
and teacher‟s mediating role (Behroozizad et al., 2012)
• Gao (2010): Theoretical basis of language learning strategies have turned to the
sociolcultural context of language learning, which proven more effective.
• The shift from learner-centered “learner-in-the-context” (Gao, 2010).
• In terms of learning, achieving “higher forms of human mental activity” requires
mediation (Lantolf, 2000).
• Findings from Gibbons (2003): In a science classroom; the impact of teacher-student
talk on learners‟ language development. The teacher‟s mediation took place via their
interaction with learners. The result of the study showed that both teachers and learners
were active constructors in language development.
• Behroozizad et al. (2012) revealed how teacher‟s
mediation is highly relates to ELF learners‟ language
learning strategies within a socio-cultural setting.
• In their study, it has been found that the teacher‟s
scaffolding mediated the EFL learners‟ language
learning strategy development. The findings on
scaffolding techniques are parallel with Walqui‟s
(2006) instructional scaffolding types.
• The teacher had succeeded in creating a
sociocultural setting in the classroom & encouraged
active participation among the learners.
• Stimulated by teacher‟s mediation, the EFL learners
successfully shown that they could develop a variety
of strategies to improve their knowledge in many
aspects of language including speaking, vocabulary
(2) P e r s o n a l i t y
t r a i t
• In language strategy performance, individual differences are being stressed in
current studies (Toyoda, 1998).
• Oxford & Nyikos (1989) claimed that language learners who are successful
choose the right strategies that best suit their personalities. Brown (2001)
argued that different characterization of individuals adopt different language
• “Language learners are individuals approaching language learning in their
own unique way” (Horwitz, 1999).
• Similarly, personality factors are crucial in the development of linguistic
abilities (Ellis, 1985).
(2) Personality traits
• Fazeli (2012) did a study to see the effect of personality traits on use of
cognitive English Language learning strategies. In his study, 213 Iranian
female university learners of English as Foreign Language (EFL) were
• The result of the study showed that there is a significant relationship
between the traits of personality and use of cognitive English Language
learning strategies. However, Fazeli (2012) concluded that individual
learner‟s personality traits cannot be a strong element in influencing
learner‟s language learning strategies as there are many other factors
contributing as well.
• In studies involving language learning strategies, language proficiency has
been studies using various methods:
1. Through language proficiency and achievement tests
(Wen & Johnson, 1997).
2. Teacher’s judgements about their
students’ language levels
(Magogwe & Oliver, 2007).
scores (Oxford &
5. Hours of
& Tragant, 2003).
6. Placement tests
Findings (LLS & Proficiency levels)
• Using language strategies that
involve interaction (Bremmer,
• Contextual guessing and
(Gu & Johnson, 1996).
• Compensation strategies
(Green & Oxford, 1995).
• First language (L1) avoidance
(Wen & Johnson, 1997).
• Paraphrasing (Phillips, 1990).
• Word analysis & note-taking
• Memorization and vocabulary
learning (Griffiths, 2003).
• More relying on external
sources (dictionaries) or
overreliance on help from
others like their teachers,
parents or friends (Magogwe &
• Magno et al. (2009) defined “language exposure” as the total
amount of time of an individual learner is engaged with the
language. It can be exposure from written sources, interaction with
others, multimedia resources or even by passively listening where
the language is being spoken.
• In a study done by Lessaux and Siegel (2003), the participants (who
were from non-English speaking backgrounds) had successfully
acquired adequate English proficiency levels after 2 years of being
exposed to reading, spelling, and phonological processes of English
• Thus, an individual learner needs sufficient amount of time to
acquire a new language, depending on the degree of exposure they
have to the language (Victori & Lockhart, 1995).
(4) Levels of language exposure
• However, it‟s been argued that some studies
revealed how Chinese people who immigrated to
the English-speaking countries and have high
exposure of the language, were still found to low
proficiency levels in communicating using the
language (Flege et al., 1999).
• In relation to language learning strategies, the
levels of language exposure will determine
learner‟s motivation to learn the particular language
(Magno et al., 2009).
• For example, Kim and Margolis (2000) found that
there is positive correlation between motivation to
learn English when the learners watched a greater
amount of English-speaking television shows.
Thus, the high exposure to the language have
encouraged learners to enhance their methods and
strategies. in acquiring the language.
• There has been very little research into cultural background issues and language
learning strategies. As such, even defining „cultural background‟ is a difficult task
because of the complexities in identifying cultural groups as „singular collective‟
that can be compared among one another (Grainger, 2012).
• It has been found that European learners used language strategies more
frequently than learners from other nationalities because of their cultural ideals
and backgrounds (Griffiths, 2003).
• Asian background learners had been found to use more conservative strategies,
for example, repetition and rule-oriented strategies (Politzer & McGoarty, 1985).
• Similarly, Asian background learners had also been reported to prefer their own
rote learning strategies when learning a particular language (O‟Malley & Chamot,
(5) Cultural backgrounds
• The choice of language learning strategies also differ from certain
nationalities as some prefer to work independently as opposed to involving
in group work (Reid, 1987).
• Grainger (1997) studies 101 females and 33 males from different ethnic
backgrounds. Using questionnaire as the research instrument, he
discovered that there were significant differences in terms of language
strategy used according to the various cultural backgrounds.
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