Language Learning Strategies Profiles of EFL Elementary School Students in Taiwan
Lan, Rae L.
Oxford, Rebecca L.
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Research in the last three decades on second and foreign language learning strategies has witnessed prolific and vigorous growth. Numerous studies around the world have contributed to both theory and teaching by showing fruitful results supporting the significant role of language learning strategies for effective and successful language learning. Factors related to language learning strategy use range from cultures and educational contexts to individual learner variables, such as gender, motivation, learning styles, years of learning, proficiency, and achievement. The majority of investigations have focused on young adult and adult learners, with fewer studies exploring learning strategy use by children at the elementary school level. This current study investigating Taiwanese elementary school students' strategy use bears significance in the following four areas. (a) It has a large-size sample of 1,191 participants. (b) It includes four major geographical areas of Taiwan: north, central, south, and east. (c) It explores eight independent variables: geographical area, gender, father education, mother education, liking of learning English, self-rated English proficiency, self-choice of studying English at a private institute, and prior English learning. (d) It employs three research instruments for data collection: a questionnaire, a vocabulary performance task, and student interviews. By listening to the voice of Taiwanese children through the questionnaire, the performance task, and the interviews, this dissertation has provided new and more comprehensive information about young learners' strategy use. The results provide implications for both theory and pedagogy. For example, to facilitate children's English language learning, teachers need to further understand the importance of vocabulary learning. Woven into regular language instruction, teachers should also start teaching students how to use both vocabulary learning strategies and general learning strategies. The goal is to help students develop strategies for effective and enjoyable learning so that they will be better equipped to cope with the challenges of language learning.