Placing language learning strategies in a local context : an investigation into the language learning strategies which Japanese teachers of EFL use to improve their own English, and those they teach their students
This thesis investigates an area which is not commonly examined: the language learning strategies which Japanese high school teachers of English as a Foreign Language report using to improve their own English and those they report teaching their students. Learning strategies are ways in which learners deal with aspects of learning. In the case of language learning strategies, these focus specifically on the learning of target languages. Revised versions on Oxford's (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning 5.1 and 7.0 were combined and sent to 272 Japanese teachers of English. The data was examined to determine to what degree teachers use and teach various strategies and whether these varied according to gender, number of years teaching EFL, which subject their degree was in, and correlations between these. In addition, 24 teachers later took part in unstructured interviews which were subsequently analysed according to interpretative methodology (Erickson 1986). Oxford's (1990) Strategy Inventory of Language Learning (SILL) differentiates language learning strategies into various groups. The findings showed that teachers report using and teaching compensation strategies mostly. However, the findings from the semi-structured interviews are somewhat different in that this data showed that while teachers use compensation strategies themselves, they do not appear to teach these to students. Further, while questionnaire answers indicate that they report using social strategies as the second least used strategy group, in the interviews they report using social strategies extensively, but they do not appear to teach them to students. The fact that teachers often teach their students different strategies to the ones they use themselves is also examined, as well as the fact that some teachers tend to teach different strategies according to the academic level of the school. Again, these findings are examined in the light of social, educational contexts at different levels in Japan. Based on the findings in this thesis, suggestions are given for language learning strategy guidance for teachers and learners.