A critique of an article ‘Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition’

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A critiquec of an article ‘Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition’

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In language learning, one should have his/her own learning strategies in order to help themselves learning faster. These include techniques that help them learn or keep new information quickly, especially, in second language. J. Michael O’Malley & Anna Uhl Chamot (year?) have written on a book called ‘Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition’. It consists of learning strategies, theoretical background in second language acquisition and other theories relating to this. However, what we are working on it is a small point or a small article taken from the book. After reading the article, we agree and disagree with the following several points.[U1]

In the article, on the point of Research on learning strategies, the authors pay attention to the “good language learner”. It seems to work with second language acquisition that learning strategies are used during learning a second language, and they can be specified and categorized. To support their idea, the authors have raised an example of Rubin’s classification scheme showing that learning strategies are divided into two main categories. The first category contributes directly to learning, while the other contributes indirectly. According to what we have researcheddone research on these two categories, we found that the strategies in the first category are related to cognitive learning strategies, so it affects our cognitive thinking and that in the secondary[U2], the strategies are concerned with communicative/social strategies[U3]. They require real situation for learners to use the strategies.

The other point related to second language acquisition is that the authors mentioned that the research and theories described in the article are based on cognitive Information Processing (IP). The authors explained IP, according to the cognitive theory, that it is related to how language is kept in our brain and how it is converted into automatic language comprehension and production. According to what we have learned in Applied Linguistics, this point has been indicated that learners use many different kinds of learning strategies to acquire inputs. Then, the inputs are stored in learners’ memory and are transformed from controlled processing into automatic processing. Later on, the inputs can be used as the production of language.

The last point about this article that we appreciate is that the explanation is very easy to understand in terms of language uses. There are not many difficult words used in this article; instead, the authors used simple words and phrases that contribute to readers’ understanding. Even though, there are some key terms and phrases which are hard to access their meaning, for those who have a little or no experience in research methodology still understand the main idea of the article. An example of this is the term “Theoretical Background” on page 8. With little or no background knowledge, the readers still might be able to guess what the authors had written. They still understand some main points after they finish reading. If they want to fully understand, they can do some more researches on that field.

However, we feel that the authors provide so little information on the methodology of the literature review in the article, especially on the point that Rubin[U4] (1981) collected the data of research based on her two primary groupings of learning strategies. Due to the various ways of collecting the data mentioned in the article, Rubin spent only 50 hours of classroom observation, which did not specify clearly on procedures, processes, purposes in the text, and the results she received after doing observation. Moreover, her observation was done within small groups of students who are working on a comic story. This did not explain and elaborate more details on how and why her two primary groupings of learning strategies influences in learning second language of the students. The size of participants was so small[U5] that it provided an unreliable and unclear result. Furthermore, she had also analyzed the self-report and daily article entries of a few students who were asked to note down what they did in order to learn the second language; here she should have included and stated what the students had written; otherwise, the readers might get lost and did not fully receive concept fromto their understanding of the article’s literature review. Furthermore, if the authors had broadly included more details on sample and data analysis of Rubin, the evidences and the proofs at this part will help the readers to understand and improve more on their interest to continue reading the sample and data analysis supported by the authors’ research methodology.

Besides methodology, another thing that we do notn't support with in this article tends to be its content. The authors do not provide an explanation toward issue that she raises; In contrast, they turn to hope to address and to resolve this issue later. Based on this, we can say that the readers would not understand the problem regarding the author’s research at all. Consequently, it seems to inject a message to the readers that this article or research lacks important information as well as explanation. Unfinished work is also a part of the problem of the content. If we go to the last page of this article, we should see that the article is not completed yet. In short, there should be more sentences or paragraphs to follow. It is just like an interruption when we read this article, without knowing where its ending part is. Thus, the readers would lose what ideas really presented in this article are. It is also hard for those who want to continue reading more about the article.

In conclusion, after reading the article taken from the book, Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition, several times, we have found a few critics on that article, which mentioned on the above points. We appreciate with the way the authors raised Rubin’s classification of learning strategies, the way she mentioned the cognitive information processing, and the organization of the text. However, there are still a few drawbacks, which the author provided so little information about their methodology as well as the content of the article. All in all, I think the authors still have done a very good job on their work even though there isare the lacks of information in some parts. After reading this article, I feel that it is very suitable for people such as second language teachers, students learning second language, and teacher trainees since the article provides many types of learning strategies and tells us how the information processes in our brain.


Philip, B. (2013). Retrieved from shodhganga: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in:8080/jspui/bitstream/10603/2526/13/13_appendices.pdf

Sovannarith, L., Tengsan, H., Onn, K., Ratha K., Sopheak, M., Pheaktra, P., Savat, S., & Visal, S. (2011). Applied Linguistics. Phnom Penh: IFL[U6]

  • Content7.5/ 8 (Most of your arguments are mainly based on your ideas and not well supported by other references.)
  • Language use7.5/8
  • Organization and layout1.5/2 (Your thesis is not really clear.)
  • Citation and reference0.5/2