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Exploring the effects of language learning strategy instruction on Saudi EFL college students’ strategy awareness and proficiency

Exploring the effects of language learning strategy instruction on Saudi EFL college students’ strategy awareness and proficiency
Exploring the effects of language learning strategy instruction on Saudi EFL college students’ strategy awareness and proficiency
This study investigates the effects of language learning strategy (LLS) instruction on Saudi college students learning English as a foreign language (EFL). It explores the effects of strategy instruction on the students’ strategy awareness and language proficiency.

A total of 197 college students in their first year participated in the study. They were divided into an experimental group, who received explicit strategy instruction in Arabic for two months, and a control group, who did not receive any explicit strategy instruction. To collect data, four research instruments were utilized, garnering both qualitative and quantitative data: a language strategy use survey (LSUS), a learning styles survey (LSS), pre- and post-tests of language proficiency, and structured interviews.

The results show that completing the LSUS contributed to raising students’ strategy awareness in both groups; however, the intervention significantly raised strategy awareness in the 39 strategies taught only in the experimental group. The results also show that strategy instruction positively changed students’ ways of learning through thinking of their learning and assisted some of them to orchestrate strategy implementation.

Although students in both groups improved their overall language proficiency to a similar degree, the difference in improvement was significant in writing, reading, and speaking where students in the experimental group outperformed their counterparts in the control group in these skills. This may indicate that although strategy instruction did have some effect on students’ proficiency in all language skills, it was not effective enough to make a significant difference in the improvement in listening and vocabulary between the two groups.

The results show the dominance of visual, extroverted, and global learning styles among participants. There were a few neutral students under the three learning style categories. The results also show that there were no significant differences in language proficiency between visual, auditory, kinaesthetic/tactile, and neutral learners under the sensory/perceptual learning style category. Similarly, there were no significant differences in language proficiency between extroverted, introverted, and neutral learners under the personality type category. The only difference in language proficiency was found between particular learners and global learners under the cognitive learning style category, where particular learners outperformed global learners.

The interview feedback gathered from the participating students indicates that the programme raised their strategy awareness, encouraged them to consider their ways of learning, contributed to improvement of specific language proficiencies, and taught them new and useful LLS related to different language skills. The teachers’ feedback on the strategy instruction programme and the Teacher’s Booklet was mostly positive.

This study has implications for language teachers in the Saudi context; it can help them discover the existence of LLS in their language textbooks and to adopt explicit strategy instruction in their language classes. There are also implications for educational establishments in Saudi Arabia that may help them train teachers intending to adopt the learning strategies approach and to encourage both teachers and students in future to employ surveys such as LSUS and LSS to learn more about themselves and their learning.
University of Southampton
Alzahrani, Ibrahim
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Alzahrani, Ibrahim
beba97f6-1f2a-47e9-b813-5ec8fdf07298
Zheng, Ying
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Rule, Sarah
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Alzahrani, Ibrahim (2017) Exploring the effects of language learning strategy instruction on Saudi EFL college students’ strategy awareness and proficiency. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 281pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of language learning strategy (LLS) instruction on Saudi college students learning English as a foreign language (EFL). It explores the effects of strategy instruction on the students’ strategy awareness and language proficiency.

A total of 197 college students in their first year participated in the study. They were divided into an experimental group, who received explicit strategy instruction in Arabic for two months, and a control group, who did not receive any explicit strategy instruction. To collect data, four research instruments were utilized, garnering both qualitative and quantitative data: a language strategy use survey (LSUS), a learning styles survey (LSS), pre- and post-tests of language proficiency, and structured interviews.

The results show that completing the LSUS contributed to raising students’ strategy awareness in both groups; however, the intervention significantly raised strategy awareness in the 39 strategies taught only in the experimental group. The results also show that strategy instruction positively changed students’ ways of learning through thinking of their learning and assisted some of them to orchestrate strategy implementation.

Although students in both groups improved their overall language proficiency to a similar degree, the difference in improvement was significant in writing, reading, and speaking where students in the experimental group outperformed their counterparts in the control group in these skills. This may indicate that although strategy instruction did have some effect on students’ proficiency in all language skills, it was not effective enough to make a significant difference in the improvement in listening and vocabulary between the two groups.

The results show the dominance of visual, extroverted, and global learning styles among participants. There were a few neutral students under the three learning style categories. The results also show that there were no significant differences in language proficiency between visual, auditory, kinaesthetic/tactile, and neutral learners under the sensory/perceptual learning style category. Similarly, there were no significant differences in language proficiency between extroverted, introverted, and neutral learners under the personality type category. The only difference in language proficiency was found between particular learners and global learners under the cognitive learning style category, where particular learners outperformed global learners.

The interview feedback gathered from the participating students indicates that the programme raised their strategy awareness, encouraged them to consider their ways of learning, contributed to improvement of specific language proficiencies, and taught them new and useful LLS related to different language skills. The teachers’ feedback on the strategy instruction programme and the Teacher’s Booklet was mostly positive.

This study has implications for language teachers in the Saudi context; it can help them discover the existence of LLS in their language textbooks and to adopt explicit strategy instruction in their language classes. There are also implications for educational establishments in Saudi Arabia that may help them train teachers intending to adopt the learning strategies approach and to encourage both teachers and students in future to employ surveys such as LSUS and LSS to learn more about themselves and their learning.

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Exploring the effects of language learning strategy instruction on Saudi EFL college students’ strategy awareness and proficiency - Version of Record
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Published date: October 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415533
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415533
PURE UUID: 3eba83a3-1ff7-4009-9e9b-c1e0484e72f9
ORCID for Ying Zheng: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2574-0358

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 05:28

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