Language Learning Strategies Used By Distance Learners Of English:A Study With A Group Of Turkish Distance Learners Of EFL

Dilek ALTUNAY
2014 The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education  
Use of language learning strategies is important for language learning. Some researchers state that language learning strategies are important because their use affects the development of communicative competence (Lessard- Clouston, 1997 & Oxford, 1990 . Effective use of language learning strategies has particular importance for distance language learners who do not have direct face-to-face contact with their tutors. This study investigates the use of language learning strategies by a group of
more » ... gies by a group of Turkish distance learners of English. Oxford (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning was used and interviews were conducted to collect data. The questionnaire results show that affective strategies are used less than the other strategy categories. The reasons for the ignorance of the affective strategies are also mentioned in the study. 292 As Oxford (1990) states, language learning strategies "... are especially important for language learning because they are tools for active, self-directed movement, which is essential for developing communicative competence." In addition, learning strategies have an important role in enabling students to become more independent, autonomous, lifelong learners (Allwright, 1990; Little, 1991). Tarone (1980) makes a distinction between language learning strategies and skill learning strategies and defines language learning strategies as strategies used by learners to master new linguistic and sociolinguistic information about the target language. On the other hand, skill learning strategies are used by learners so that they become skilled in reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities. In this study, the focus is on general language learning strategies rather than strategies that can be used to improve a language skill such as vocabulary learning strategies or reading strategies. Taxonomies of Language Learning Strategies Different researchers categorize language learning strategies differently. According to Rubin (1987), there are three groups of language learning strategies. These are learning strategies, communication strategies, and social strategies. O'Malley et al. (1985) state that language learning strategies are divided into three categories as: Metacognitive Strategies, Cognitive Strategies, and Socioaffective Strategies. According to Stern (1992), language learning strategies are Management and Planning Strategies, Cognitive Strategies, Communicative -Experiential Strategies, Interpersonal Strategies, Affective Strategies. From Oxford's (1990) view, taxonomy of language learning strategies is divided into two groups as Direct Strategies and Indirect Strategies. Direct strategies include Memory Strategies, Cognitive Strategies, and Compensation Strategies. Memory strategies are related to creation of mental linkages, use of images and sounds, revision, and actions. Cognitive Strategies are related to making practice, receiving and sending messages, analyzing and reasoning, and creating structure. Compensation strategies are related to making guesses, and dealing with problems in oral and written communication. Indirect Strategies are Metacognitive Strategies, Affective Strategies and Social Strategies. Metacognitive Strategies include centering learning, arrangement, planning and evaluation of learning. Affective strategies are used to decrease anxiety, increase selfencouragement, and take one's emotional temperature. Finally, Social strategies include questioning, cooperative work, and emphasizing with other people. LITERATURE REVIEW Various studies have been carried out on the relationship between strategy use and various variables such as age, learner styles, proficiency, motivation and culture. Some researchers found that older learners used some strategy categories more often than did younger learners. Out of Oxford's six categories memory, affective, metacognitive, and social strategies are used more often by older learners (Peacock & Ho, 2003) and older learners use cognitively complex strategies whereas young learners prefer social strategies (among others) focused on the relationship between language learning strategies and learner styles. BIODATA and CONTACT ADDRESSES of the AUTHOR Dilek ALTUNAY is currently an assistant professor in Mustafa Kemal University, department of English Language and Literature. She is also the deputy head of the department of Western Languages and Literatures. Previously, she has worked in Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty as a lecturer and assistant professor. She received her PhD degree from Anadolu University, English Language Teaching (ELT) program. She obtained her M.A and B.A degrees from Bilkent University, Turkey. She has experience in teaching English and some subject area courses both in face-to-face and distance learning settings. She has worked for a variety of open and distance education projects. Her academic interests are applied linguistics mostly focusing on distance ELT and second language acquisition; and open and distance learning.
doi:10.17718/tojde.30083 fatcat:gowug45otzdprekp5ruxve7hxy