Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 1 January 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Language Learning Strategies -
An Evaluation of Compensatory Strategies

Muhlise Cosgun Ögeyik, Ph.D.


Learning strategies, which are presumed as goal oriented, purposeful and controlled behaviours encourage learners' performances in foreign language learning skills. In this context, use of the strategies can be considered as part of the assessment of learners' performances in foreign language teaching.

Strategies are divided into various groups. For the assessment of strategies, various methods are used. This study highlights the assessment of compensatory strategies through strategy questionnaires in writing and speaking skills of English language learners. The aim is to find out how learners perform strategies in these language skills.

The analysis of the data collected through questionnaires was computed statistically and percentage calculation was applied on the same data set. The overall results indicated that the learners of English at the English Language Department at Trakya University, in Turkey, employ similar strategies in both skills. In addition, they consciously employ the strategies in their activities.

Key Words: learning strategies, compensatory strategies, writing skill, speaking skill, ELT

Identification and Classification of Language Learning Strategies

Learning strategies are intentional, planned, controlled, and oriented behaviours. Mayer (1988) describes learning strategies as behaviours of a learner that are intended to influence how the learner processes information. In this sense, learning strategies can be conceived as tactics employed by learners.

In various fields of education, learners use various strategies. Within second language or foreign language education, learning strategies are defined as attempts and thoughts/behaviours used by learners to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in target language and to comprehend, learn or retain new information (Tarone, 1983; O'Malley and Charmot, 1990).

Learning strategies, which are defined as purposeful and goal-oriented, are divided into various groups. The major ones are

i. Cognitive strategies, in which mental processes are directly concerned with the processing of information in order to learn;

ii. Metacognitive strategies, an awareness of what one is doing and an ability to manage and regulate consciously the use of the learning strategies for different situations;

iii. Memory strategies, which aid in entering information into long-term memory;

iv. Compensatory strategies, to overcome any gaps and limitations in knowledge of the language, particularly in writing and speaking; affective strategies, to control feelings, motivations and attitudes related to language learning; social strategies, to cooperate with others (Williams and Burden, 2000; Oxford, 1993; Ellis, 1994; Rubin and Thompson, 1994).

All those mutually supportive language learning strategies are related to the features of control, goal-directedness, autonomy, and self-efficacy (Oxford, 2002; Purpura, 1999; Green and Oxford, 1995).

In recent years, the explicit teaching of strategies has received a considerable amount of attention in English Language Teaching (ELT) and various models for teaching strategies have been proposed. Some are concerned with teaching strategies separately and others are concerned with integrating the strategy instruction into language tasks (Williams and Burden, 2000). Such strategies are helpful for raising awareness of second language or foreign language learners in listening, speaking, writing and reading skills (Lessard-Clouston, 1997). In this sense, strategies can be linked to motivation and particularly to a sense of self-efficacy in all language skills. In attempting to outline a communicative approach to skill integration, which skills are normally integrated in learning environment needs to be taken into consideration.

Assessing Strategies Used by Learners

Strategies used by learners can be assessed in different ways such as through observations, interviews, verbal reports, strategy diaries, strategy questionnaires, and so on (Oxford, 2002). There have been numerous studies carried out on learning strategies.

The research indicates that greater strategy use is related to higher level of language proficiency (O'Malley and Chamot, 1990; Ehrman and Oxford, 1995; Oxford, 2002; Cohen 1998; Çubukçu, 2007; Erten, and Williams, 2008) and learning strategies can be taught to create positive effects on language proficiency (Johnson, 1999; Chamot et al., 1996; Nunan, 1997). It is also stated that all types of learning strategies seem to be deployed in both naturalistic and tutored learning (Alptekin, 2007).

Aim of This Study

In this study it is aimed to assess strategy use through questionnaires in speaking and writing skills, which signify a learner's productive skills in foreign language learning process. Although such an assessment, in general, deals with all strategy types, it, in particular, focuses on compensatory strategies of learners. Because this strategy type mainly deals with speaking and writing skills, which encompass communication strategies within the concept of language use (Cohen, 1998).

Speaking activity, which is targeted for the improvement of communication strategies, develops in connection with the development of cognitive domain as well as of the psycho-motor domain (Demirel, 2004). Writing activity, which is viewed as a communicative act, also helps strategy training as well as cognitive and literacy development (Reid, 2002). In this context, this study discusses the role of strategy use in writing and speaking activities and how learners employ strategies in language use.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Language Shift Among Singaporean Malayalee Families | A Comparative Study of Gojri Double Verb Constructions | Trade in the Madras Presidency, 1941 - 1947 A Doctoral Dissertation | Conceptualization of Nationalism through Language - An Analysis of Malaysian Situation | Status of Urdu and Efforts and Strategies for Its Inclusion in the Mainstream of Indian Life | Language Learning Strategies - An Evaluation of Compensatory Strategies | Marriage and Self in the Selected Works of Henry James and Jayakanthan | King Richard II - Analyzing the Political Discourse of Power | Engaging Autobiography as an Expression of Self - Maya Angelou's Autobiographies and Her Black Self | Onomatopoeic Words in Manipuri | Historical Growth of Short Stories in Tamil and Telugu - A Comparison | The Gujral Committee Report on Urdu | HOME PAGE of January 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Muhlise Cosgun Ögeyik, Ph.D.
English Language Teaching Department
Faculty of Education
Trakya University

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