Learning strategies of learners of English as a foreign language
The aim of the present research is to investigate the learning strategies which are used for the acquisition of English by graduate students. This research encompasses the strategies which are used during the acquisition process in general as well as the strategies used for the acquisition of specific areas of the foreign language. Before carrying out the investigation proper, we shall look at the students' previous learning experience of English as well as their beliefs about the foreign language itself and the leaning process in general. Furthermore, in order to determine the extent to which these strategies could have been the result of previous teaching, we have included an investigation of their teachers' background and teaching practices. Our study differs from the ones which have been carried out so far in this field in many respects. First, it is we believe, among the very few studies which investigates the strategies learners use for the acquisition of English as a Foreign language. In addition, unlike other studies, it will try to establish whether the strategies used are inherent to the learning process itself or are the result of previous learning experience. Since our concern is an applied one, we shall not limit ourselves to the theoretical side of the problem only. Instead, we shall look at potential applications in the classroom. Our investigation of the learners' strategies will primarily rely on the use of Verbal Report Data, i. e. the use of a Questionnaire and an Interview in which we have included different language learning tasks which will allow us to observe how learners deal with the various aspects of the acquisition process. In addition to the Introduction and Conclusion, the thesis is divided into five main chapters. The first chapter gives a very brief description of the language situation in Algeria and explains the role English plays in the educational system. The next two chapters, two and three, look at the theoretical developments in Linguistics and Psychology which have gradually led to the present interest in learners' strategies. The fourth chapter discusses in great details the rationale and design of our experiment as well the items which have been included in our eliciting instruments. The last chapter analyses the results and in the light of these discusses our hypotheses. Our findings suggest that learning strategies are inherent to the learning process itself and are used by all learners irrespective of their proficiency in the foreign language. Furthermore, they show that some strategies tend to occur more often with the acquisition of a particular area of the language than with another which itself will tend to be associated with another set of strategies. Finally, we shall discuss the important implications these findings have for the classroom teacher. This is why we conclude our study by making various suggestions for the incorporation of these findings in the foreign language classroom, which we are convinced will help less able students to perform better in the foreign language.