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This study explores the perceptual learning style preferences of English Second Language (ESL) students in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tun Tuah, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Durian Daun and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tun Tijah in Melaka.
Students vary in terms of learning styles especially related to the subjects that they may find it difficult. Referring to the past researches, there were lots of them that focused on learning styles of ESL learners which provide suggestions for teachers or educators in their teaching process
According to Nurul Amilin bt Razawi (2009), the research was conducted to identify the students' learning style preferences in Malaysian rural school. Moreover, the research showed the teacher's awareness of their students' preferences in learning English as Second Language and their strategies in dealing with the students' learning style preferences. On the other hand, there were research on learning style preferences among university students which was done by Atef Al-Tamimi and Munir Shuib (2009). Based on their research, the findings were collected using The Index of Learning Style (ILS) questionnaire that was developed from Felder and Soloman (2004). It was proved that University Sains Malaysia (USM) English majors have certain learning styles that should be considered by USM staff members in preparing their materials, curriculum and teaching methods (Al-Tamimi & Shuib, 2009).
In addition, the other research that focused on learning style preferences is done by Abdulmehdi Riazi and Mohammad Javad Riasati (2008) which was to experiment learning style preferences among Iranian EFL learners and the degree of teacher's awareness of them. The data collected using Brindley (1984) language learning style preference questionnaire explained that teachers are aware of their students' learning preferences in some cases, but unaware in some others (Riazi & Riasati, 2008).
Syed Jamal Abdul Nasir (2004) also did a research on the learning style preferences among university students. However, his research was focusing only on Malay undergraduate students in Malaysian University. Referring to the research, the data was collected by interviewing the subjects and it shows that Malay undergraduate students prefer quiet environment, repetition and prepare and organise their study while engaging in any learning activity (Syed Jamal Abdul Nasir, 2004).
Study of learning style involves the investigation of individual differences: people perceive and gain knowledge differently, they form ideas and think differently, and they act differently (Duff, 2000 cited in Syed Jamal Abdul Nasir, 2004). In learning writing in ESL classroom, students tend to be de-motivated during the learning process as they discover it is difficult for them to write well. There were some cases where students copied of plagiarised others essay either they gain it from revision books or the internet. ESL students especially the low level of proficiency students usually have limited amount of vocabularies. Therefore, this research is conducted to identify the way students prefer to learn in writing lesson.
Moreover, Willis (2008) affirmed that as a way to evaluate child's learning strength, consider which learning experiences he finds most enjoyable and which he dislikes or finds frustrating. This might help teachers to locate and apply the matching strategies to cope with students' learning style preferences to ensure they enjoy learning writing in ESL classroom.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The purpose of the study is to investigate the perceptual learning style preferences of English as Second Language (ESL) students in three different schools
relationship between students' learning writing style preferences and teachers' coping strategies in English as Second Language (ESL) classroom in Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Durian Daun, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tun Tijah and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tun Tuah, Melaka.
This research focused on learning writing style due to there was little research that focused on learning writing style in particular. Past researches mostly intended to identify students learning style preferences in general in learning English either in school level or university level. For ESL students, writing is one of the skills that they find difficult in English subjects. Therefore, it is important for them to discover exciting way of learning writing based on their own style.
Rationale of the study
This study will benefit ESL teachers in order to improve students' writing skills by discovering their preferred style in learning writing. They also may enhance method of teaching writing as an addition to process approach and product approach. Moreover, students will also determine their preferred way of learning how to write English essays well from the research. However, teachers should know students' preferences in learning writing because process approach and product approach might not work to several students if it does not match their learning style.