Published on March 2, 2014
In this chapter What are learning strategies? Defining strategies The importance of strategies to the learning process Direct and indirect strategies Learning strategies and tasks A typology of learning strategies Encouraging learner independence Goal setting Self-assessment and evaluating Learner choice
What Are Learning Strategies? Defining strategies: Strategies are the mental and communicative procedures learners use in order to learn and use language. Underlying every learning task is at least one strategy. However, in most classrooms, learners are unaware of the strategies underlying the learning tasks in which they are engaged. "learning strategies are specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferrable to new situations.“ Oxford-1990
What Are Learning Strategies? The importance of strategies to the learning process: knowledge of strategies is important, because the greater awareness you have of what you are doing, if you are conscious of the process underlying the learning that you are involved in, then learning will be more effective.
Direct And Indirect Strategies Direct strategies: Direct strategies include such things as memorizing, analyzing and reasoning, and guessing intelligently. As the name suggests, these are specific procedures that learners can use to internalize the language. Indirect Strategies: Indirect strategies on the other hand, include things such as evaluating one’s learning,(talking steps to power one’s anxiety), and cooperating with others.
Learning Strategies And Tasks Underlying every task that one introduces into the classroom is a learning strategy of one kind or another. Sometimes, tasks that seem on the surface to be quite different turn out to be underpinned by the same strategy.
Cognitive Learning Strategies Classifying : putting things that are similar together in groups Predicting : Predicting what is to come in the learning process Inducing : Looking for patterns and regularities Taking notes : Writing down the important information in a text in your own words Concept mapping : showing the main ideas in a text in the form of a map
Cognitive Learning Strategies Inferencing : using what you know to learn something new Discriminating : distinguishing between the main idea and supporting information Diagramming : using information from a text to lable a diagram.
Interpersonal Learning Strategies Cooperating : sharing ideas and learning with other students Role-playing : pretending to be somebody else and using the language for the situation you are in
Linguistic Learning Strategies Conversational patterns : using expressions to start conversation and keep them going Practicing : doing controlled exercises to improve knowledge and skills Using context : using the surrounding context to guess the meaning of unknown words, phrases, and concepts. Summarizing : picking out and presenting the major points in a text in summary form
Linguistic Learning Strategies Selective listening : listening for key information without trying to understand every word Skimming : Reading quickly to get a general idea of a text
Affective Learning Strategies Personalizing : learners share their own opinions, feelings, and ideas about a subject Self-evaluating : Thinking about how well you did on a learning task, and rating yourself on a scale. Reflecting : thinking about ways you learn best
Creative Learning Strategies Brainstorming : thinking of as many new words and ideas as you can
Classifying Classifying helps learners because it is easier to memorize items that are grouped together in meaningful ways than trying to remember isolated items.
Predicting Predicting, or looking ahead, helps learners to anticipate what is to come. This results in more effective learning, because the learners are adequately prepared for the new material.
Inductive Reasoning In an inductive approach to learning, students are given access to data, and are provided with structured opportunities to work out rules, principles, and so on for themselves. The idea here is that information will be more deeply processed and stored if learners are given an opportunity to work things out for themselves, rather than simply being told.
Inferencing Inferencing involves using what you know to learn something new. Because learning is basically making links between what is new and what is already known, Inferencing is an extremely important strategy.
Discriminating Discriminating means distinguishing between the main idea and supporting information in both aural and written texts. Learners who are skilled at identifying the most important information in a text are more effective listeners and readers. They can process language more quickly and are able to identify and remember the speakers or reader’s central message more effectively.
Cooperating When we cooperate, we share ideas and learn with other students. This principle exploits the old saying that “two heads are better than one”. It is particularly effective in language learning, because students are required to communicate with each other in order to cooperate.
Practicing An essential strategy for developing skills is practicing. Practicing means doing controlled exercises to improve knowledge and skills.
Selective Listening A key strategy for learners is listening for key information without trying to understand every word. This strategy is essential if learners are to cope effectively in genuine communities situations outside the classroom. It is important for learners to realize that native speakers use this strategy quit naturally when communicating with one another, that is, in fact, impossible as well as unnecessary to process every singe word in most listening situation.
Encouraging Learner Independence Goal setting: Making goals explicit to learners has a number of important pedagogical advantages. In the first place, it helps to focus the attention of the learner on the tasks to come. This enhances motivation. Research shows that a program in which goals are made explicit lead to higher performance by students then programs in which goals are implicit.
Encouraging Learner Independence Evaluation: Self Assessment And Self-evaluating involves thinking about how well you did on a learning task, and rating yourself on a scale.by having learners rate themselves against their learning goals, the teachers not only develops the learner’s self-critical faculties, but also serves to remind them of the goals of the instructional process. It also prompts learners to begin making links between important links in the educational chain; for example, between their communicative goals and the grammatical and structural means of achieving those goals.
Encouraging Learner Independence Learner choice: Encouraging learners to make choices is also an important aspect of learner independence. Just as the effective language user is the one who can make appropriate choices from the range of grammatical options available in the language, so the effective language learner is the one who can make effective choices in terms of learning tasks and strategies. By encouraging learners to make choices in our classroom and on the teaching materials we provide for them, we convey to our learners the important message that they have responsibility for making decisions about and taking control of their learning.
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