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Learning Styles & Strategies/Oxford, GALA 2003 Page 1 1 LANGUAGE LEARNING STYLES AND STRATEGIES: AN OVERVIEW Rebecca L. Oxford, Ph.D. ABSTRACT: In “Language Learning Styles and Strategies,” the author synthesizes research from various parts of the world on two key variables affecting language learning: styles, i.e., the general approaches to learning a language; and strategies, the specific behaviors or thoughts learners use to enhance their language learning. These factors influence the student’s ability to learn in a particular instructional framework. Introduction Language learning styles and strategies are among the main factors that help determine how and how well our students learn a second or foreign language. A second language is a language studied in a setting where that language is the main vehicle of everyday communication and where abundant input exists in that language. A foreign language is a language studied in an environment where it is not the primary vehicle for daily interaction and where input in that language is restricted. Following the tradition in our field, the term “L2” is used in this chapter to refer to either a second or a foreign language. The readers of this book will be primarily in the field of English as a second or foreign language (ESL or EFL), and most of the studies in this chapter were conducted in ESL or EFL
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Learning Styles & Strategies/Oxford, GALA 2003 Page 2 2 settings. However, some of the studies cited here focused on native English speakers learning French, German, Japanese, and other languages foreign to them. Information about language learning styles and strategi es is valid regardless of what the learner’s first language is. Learning styles are the general approaches for example, global or analytic, auditory or visual that students use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject. These styles are “the overall patterns that give general direction to learning behavior” (Cornett, 1983, p. 9). Of greatest relevance to this methodology book is this statement: “Learning style is the biologically and developmentally imposed set of characteristics that make the same teaching method wonderful for some and terrible for others” (Dunn & Griggs, 1988, p. 3). This chapter explores the following aspects of learning style: sensory preferences, personality types, desired degree of generality, and biological differences. Learning strategies are defined as “specific actions, behaviors, steps, or techniques -- such as seeking out conversation partners, or giving oneself encouragement to tackle a difficult language task -- used by students to enhance their own lear ning” (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992, p. 63). When the learner consciously chooses strategies that fit his or her learning style and the L2 task at hand, these strategies become a useful toolkit for active, conscious, and purposeful self- regulation of learning. Learning strategies can be classified into six groups: cognitive, metacognitive, memory-related, compensatory, affective, and social. Each of these is discussed
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  • Fall '08
  • Krecz
  • Speak, Language education, Second language acquisition

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