The relationship between the use of language learning strategies and performance on a standardised English proficiency test

Wait, Tania Hanlie (2007-03)

Thesis (MEd)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This investigation was aimed at gaining an understanding of the learning processes in the English Foreign Language programme at Stellenbosch University. The relationships between students’ reported language learning strategy use and their language proficiency as measured on a standardised English language proficiency test were recorded and the influence of other learner factors such as age, gender, motivation, culture and educational background, and teacher-centeredness versus learner/learning-centeredness in learning situations and curricula were explored. A literature review was done to provide some insight into similar research conducted internationally and in South Africa and to provide a framework for this investigation. Research contributions by Chamot & Kupper (1989), Mahlobo (1999), Oxford (1990) and Van der Walt and Dreyer (1995a & 1995b) provided insight and a foundation for this investigation. The research is primarily qualitative and set in an interpretivist paradigm in an attempt to firstly explore the relationship between reported language learning strategy use and English language proficiency in the skills of reading and listening and secondly to explore other factors which could impact on the development of English language proficiency in all four language skills. The study was not concerned with a search for generalisible phenomena, but was aimed at providing a descriptive analysis of the interpreted understanding of social phenomena with regard to English Foreign language learning processes, where English proficiency had to be used for academic purposes. Information was obtained through observation, informal discussions, questionnaires, interviews, focus group interviews and English language proficiency test results. Results were interpreted for this particular situation at Stellenbosch University and suggestions were made as to how language learning strategies could be incorporated into the English Foreign Language curriculum to optimise the development of English language proficiency. Suggestions for further related research were also made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie ondersoek was daarop gemik om insig te verkry in die leerprosesse in die Engels as Vreemde Taal (EFL) program by Stellenbosch Universiteit. Die verhoudings tussen leerders se aangeduide taalleerstrategieë en hulle prestasie op ’n gestandardiseerde Engelse taaltoets is ondersoek asook ander faktore wat moontlik ’n invloed sou kon hê op die taalleerproses: ouderdom, geslag, motivering, kultuur en opvoedkundige agtergrond, asook onderwyser-gefokusde versus leerder-gefokusde onderrig en kurrikula. ’n Literatuurstudie is gedoen om ’n insig te verkry oor soortgelyke navorsing wat gedoen is op internasionale vlak en in Suid-Afrika, en ook om ’n raamwerk vir hierdie navorsing te voorsien. Die navorsing van veral Chamot & Kupper (1989), Mahlobo (1999), Oxford (1990) en Van der Walt en Dreyer (1995a & 1995b) het bygedra tot insig en ’n agtergrond vir hierdie ondersoek. Die navorsing is hoofsaaklik kwalitatief in ’n interpretiwistiese paradigma om eerstens die verhouding te ondersoek tussen aangeduide taalleerstrategie gebruik en Engelse taalvaardigheid in the lees- en luistervaardighede, en tweedens om ondersoek in te stel na ander faktore wat moontlik ’n invloed kan hê op die taalleerproses in al vier die taalvaardighede. Die studie is nie in die eerste plek onderneem om veralgemenings te kan maak nie, maar was gemik op die verkryging van ’n beskrywende analise van die sosiale invloede betrokke by die aanleer van Engels as ’n vreemde taal vir gebruik as ’n akademiese taal. Inligting is verkry deur observasie, informele gesprekke, vraelyste, onderhoude, fokusgroeponderhoude en Engelse taalvaardigheidstoetsuitslae. Bevindinge is ontleed vir die spesifieke situasie by Stellenbosch Universiteit en aanbevelings is gemaak oor die moonlike insluiting van taalleerstrategieë in die leerplan en kurrikula van die Engels as Vreemde Taal (EFL) program. Aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing is ook gemaak.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19889
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