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Short History Of Language Learning Strategy English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2119 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Learning process is something which we can avoid when we learn something. Learning process will become our measurement whether we are doing it seriously or not and will become the indicator of how good we are at dealing with problems so we can improve our selves to be better

In learning process, Learning strategies are important for those want to achieve what they want. Learning strategies will help them to improve their skill quickly in an efficient way. Learning strategies will also become their references to know their selves so that they will be able to overcome problems without relying on their friends, parents, etc.

In learning language people use many ways, some of them master the language fast using a language learning strategy while the others even though are using the same strategy, the result is not as they want and this may make them frustrated and blame their selves as they are not smart enough and end up giving up on learning the language.

This paper will provide the explanation on the language learning strategies; what language learning strategy is, whether language learning strategy is important or not, who should use language learning strategy, and the kind of language learning strategy

Statement of Problems

what is language learning strategy

how important is language learning strategy

who should use language learning strategy

what is the best language learning strategy

Chapter II

Short History of Language Learning Strategy

The Research about language learning strategies had began in the 1960s. Particularly, developments in cognitive psychology influenced much of the research which was done on language learning strategies. In 1966, Aaron Carton published his study entitled The Method of Inference in Foreign Language Study, which was the first attempt on learner strategies. After Carton, in 1971, Rubin started doing research focusing on the strategies of successful learners and stated that, once identified; such strategies could be made available to less successful learners. Rubin (1975) classified strategies in terms of processes contributing directly or indirectly to language learning.

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Definition of Language learning strategy

The definition of Language Learning Strategy (LLS) is differently defined by scholars. Tarone (1983) defined a LS as “an attempt to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in the target language — to incorporate these into one’s interlanguage competence”. Rubin (1987) later wrote that LS “are strategies which contribute to the development of the language system which the learner constructs and affect learning directly”. Building on work in her book for teachers, Oxford (1992/1993) provides specific examples of LLS and a helpful definition:

“…language learning strategies — specific actions, behaviors, steps, or techniques that students (often intentionally) use to improve their progress in developing L2 skills. These strategies can facilitate the internalization, storage, retrieval, or use of the new language. Strategies are tools for the self-directed involvement necessary for developing communicative ability. (Oxford, 1992/1993, p. 18)”

Other definitions are also stated by some scholars. According to Stern (1992:261), “the concept of learning strategy is dependent on the assumption that learners consciously engage in activities to achieve certain goals and learning strategies can be regarded as broadly conceived intentional directions and learning techniques”. Weinstein and Mayer (1986) defined learning strategies broadly as “behaviors and thoughts that a learner engages in during learning” which are “intended to influence the learner’s encoding process”. Mayer (1988), defined LS more specifically as “behaviors of a learner that are intended to influence how the learner processes information”.

All language learners use language learning strategies either consciously or unconsciously when processing new information and performing tasks in the language course or classroom. Learning strategies are the thoughts and actions we engage in, consciously or not, to learn new information. The goal of teaching learning strategies is to help students to consciously control how they learn so that they can be efficient, motivated, independent language learners (Chamot, Barnhardt, El-Dinary, & Robbins, 1990)

From the definitions above, we can say that LS, though they define it differently, yet it clearly shares the same meaning: a way to improve language learning process, thus we should not be confused over those definitions.

The Characteristics of Language Learning strategy

The definition of Language Learning strategy is indeed differently defined; however there are a number of basic characteristics in the generally accepted view of LLS:

LLS are learner generated; they are steps taken by language learners

LLS enhance language learning and help develop language competence, as reflected in the learner’s skills in listening, speaking, reading, or writing the L2 or FL

LLS may be visible (behaviors, steps, techniques, etc.) or unseen (thoughts, mental processes).

LLS involve information and memory (vocabulary knowledge, grammar rules, etc.).

In addition to these characteristics, oxford states that LLS:

allow learners to become more self-directed

expand the role of language teachers

are problem-oriented

involve many aspects, not just the cognitive

can be taught to students

are flexible

Are influenced by a variety of factors.

On the other hand, Cohen (1990) insists that only conscious strategies are LLS, and that there must be a choice involved on the part of the learner.

Kind of Language Learning Strategy

Literally, there are hundreds of LLS yet interrelated. For example Wenden and Rubin 1987; O’Malley et al. 1985; Oxford 1990; Stern 1992; Ellis 1994, etc. Rubin makes the distinction between strategies contributing directly to learning and those contributing indirectly to learning. According to Rubin, there are three types of strategies used by learners that contribute directly or indirectly to language learning, namely Learning Strategies, Communication Strategies, and Social Strategies.

On the other hand, Oxford divides language learning strategies into two main classes, direct and indirect, which are further subdivided into 6 groups. Oxford’s (1990:17) taxonomy of language learning strategies is shown in the following:


I. Memory

A. Creating mental linkages

B. Applying images and sounds

C. Reviewing well

D. Employing action

II. Cognitive

A. Practicing

B. Receiving and sending messages strategies

C. Analyzing and reasoning

D. Creating structure for input and output

III. Compensation strategies

A. Guessing intelligently

B. Overcoming limitations in speaking and writing


I. Metacognitive Strategies   

A. Centering your learning

B. Arranging and planning your learning

C. Evaluating your learning

II. Affective Strategies   

A. Lowering your anxiety

B. Encouraging yourself

C. Taking your emotional temperature

III. Social Strategies   

A. Asking questions

B. Cooperating with others

C. Empathizing with others

O’Malley et al. (1985:582-584) divide language learning strategies into three main subcategories: Metacognitive Strategies, Cognitive Strategies, and Socioaffective Strategies. Metacognitive is a term to express executive function, strategies which require planning for learning, thinking about the learning process as it is taking place, monitoring of one’s production or comprehension, and evaluating learning after an activity is completed. In contrast, Cognitive strategies are more limited to specific learning tasks and they involve more direct manipulation of the learning material itself. Repetition, resourcing, translation, grouping, note taking, deduction, recombination, imagery, auditory representation, key word, contextualization, elaboration, transfer, inferencing are among the most important cognitive strategies. While the socioaffective strategies are related with social-mediating activity and transacting with others, cooperation and question for clarification are the main socioaffective strategies (Brown 1987:93-94).

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The Importance of LLS in Language Learning

Language learning strategies are important for language learner because LLS are good indicators of how good learners using the processed theories for communication or how good their communicative competence are. According to Fedderholdt (1997:1), the learner who is capable of using a wide variety of language learning strategies appropriately can improve his/her language skills in a better way. Lessard-Clouston (1997:3) states that language learning strategies contribute to the development of the communicative competence of the students. Oxford (1990:1) 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.”

Beside communicative competence, another reason why LLS are important is because research suggests that training students who use LLS can help them become better language learners. Naiman, Frohlich, and Stern researched on ‘good language learners’, they suggested that a good language learner:

1. Has a learning style that suits him/her

2. Involves him/herself in the language learning process

3. Develops an awareness of language both as system and as communication

4. Pays constant attention to expanding your language

5. Develops the L2 as a separate system

6. Takes into account the demands that L2 learning imposes

A study by O’Malley and Chamot (1990) also suggests that effective L2/FL learners are aware of the LLS they use and why they use them. However, there is always the possibility that bad language learners can also use the same good language learning strategies while becoming unsuccessful due to some other reasons, At this point, it should be strongly stressed that having the same good language learning strategies will not guarantee that a bad learner will also become successful in language learning since other factors may also play role in success.

The Teacher’s Role

In language learning process, a teacher also has roles. It is a fact that each learner within the same classroom may have different learning strategies and other varied awareness; the teacher cannot attribute importance to only one group, therefore the teacher should provide a wide range of learning strategies in order to meet the needs and expectations of his students who possess different learning strategies. The teacher can have adequate knowledge about the students, their goals, motivations, language learning strategies, and their understanding of the course to be taught. Thus, it can be stated that the most important teacher role in foreign language teaching is the provision of a range of tasks to match varied learning strategies the student use.

Another role of teachers is as an arranger of language learning process. Teachers have to really consider students’ aptitudes, attitudes, needs, and interests so that they can match the material with those students’ personalities. In addition to student’s personality, teachers also have to pay attention to the syllabus and how to integrate LLS in the teaching learning context, Prepare materials and activities for training strategies, and make sure that materials and activities are interesting and varied since the basic of human behavior is to be easily bored to study.

Chapter III


Language learning strategy is structured system used by language learners contributing directly or indirectly to their language learning process.

Language learning strategy is very important since LLS contributes almost in all skill

Both teacher and learner/student have to use LLS

It depends on the each person since personality is hardly the same


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