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This chapter will provide a general idea on language learning strategies as a whole. It will describe the strategies of language learning used by the students, the subject group, and relation between the subjects with the language learning strategies. Throughout of this chapter, it will also convey the research problem and the aims of this research to execute.
1.1 Background of the Study
In the past two decade it has been a great deal of research in second language or foreign language in language learning strategies. This research indicates that there are many different types of learning strategies that students, teachers can implement in their daily conversation or even better in academicals purposes. There is evidence that possibility that students might use learning strategies to promote their own learning. ESL learners are among of subject group of students who have been highlighted to use effective language learning strategies in order to achieve their competence in the language itself or based on their academic purposes. In most of the research on language learning strategies, as what mentioned earlier by the previous researcher their main primary concern has been on "identifying what good language learners report they do to learn a second or foreign language, or, in some cases, are observed doing while learning a second or foreign language." (Rubin and Wenden 1987:19)
Old English proverb said that "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime". It is also applied to language teaching and learning field (Wenden, 1985) and it is true that normal human being implement what they had learnt from their experiences, but before putting the idea of learning how to learn, a person must also willingly to accept knowledge and restored them. As this proverb may interpreted means as for example if the student are provided with answer to a problem they will definitely solve the problem, but the teachers' responsibility to educate the student on strategies getting the solution will eventually taught them a way of problems solving which eventually grow them better with strategies. It is as well applied for language learning. Fundamental of Language Learning Strategies are also mention by the previous researchers (O'Malley & Chamot, 1990: Oxford, 1990: Wenden & Rubin) which eventually contributed to the development of the taxonomies of Language Learning Strategies. I believe that language learning strategy is the most important medium as we knew that there are more than thousand languages around the world to be learned. The only way to master a language is to know the strategies of learning the language.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Language is universe. People who are gifted do not need much effort to capture one language or maybe two. But normal human being needs effort, interest and staying power to learn and adapt to new languages. As for a clearer example, picture this; students from major course of English will have to meet the requirement to learn their choice of third language in order to fulfill their course needs. To learn third language which is a foreign language is not easy for ESL learners and thus they have to make themselves familiar with that language. In order to do so, students need to have language learning strategies to learn the language. It is as what earlier mention by previous researcher (O'Malley & Chamot, 1990) a theory of cognition which explain that, language needs to be learnt and learning is a skill which is acquired as declarative knowledge to the students. As a matter of fact, it is procedural as a result of extensive practices. Language learning strategies is currently important in educational purposes are mainly because it is eventually helps students to learn better and understand the meaning of language; what is spoken and what is understood when it is spoken. Language does not restricted to the written form but it is also a form of communication which involves written form as well. It is quite frequently asked whether gender makes differences in language learning strategies among ESL learners, and to be sure regards of this problems the needs of this particular research is vital to unveil the existences of the differences strategies applied by male and female ESL learners.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The research is conducted to identify whether or not differences exist between female and male in language learning strategies among ESL students. The specific objectives of this research are to determine the gender differences in language learning strategies between male and female ESL learners and to compare different learning strategies preferred between male and female ESL learners. Mainly, as a student it is a must to improve the language competence and be able to absorb language which is not just exposed to it, but implementation are also vital. It is true that learning second language which for the non native speaker of English, it is consider difficult, complicated and time-consuming. Any procedure to that might make it a little easier, faster and more successful to the learners therefore need to be taken seriously. Because of this matter, language learning strategy among ESL learners towards competency language learning strategy must be at par with other subject.
1.4 Research Questions
Particularly in this research, researcher addresses them selves to these following questions; what are the differences exist between male and female ESL learners in language learning strategies? What are the types of language learning strategies used among ESL learners?
1.5 Definition of terms
One of the earliest research on this field Rubin (1975, p.43) eventually came out with large definition regards of the language learning strategies as "the techniques or devices which a learner may use to acquire knowledge". Language learning is an action of self being indicates 'learn' as a habit or norm for students. It is correlated in any way showing that language need to be learn in order to be earn by human being.
Definitions of word strategy are broad, and because of that it is best to refer to reliable sources in order to get precise answers. First of all, strategy can be the key element of problem solving to a certain matters. While a useful strategy is not simply for a student to obtain in solving problem in study matters but it is rather than how the student choose to deal with questions that arise on the way of obtaining the result that the want to achieve. As for example, a student might have to deal with morning difficulty in order to be at class early mainly because they have to attend a class which is in the morning session, so to be on time the student must think of ride on a bicycle, or wake up earlier to get the first bus to the faculty or any other ways. To consider, this is what we call effective strategies in the context of students' daily basis. Strategy also can be other alternative of several possibilities in solving problems. 'Surprisingly, however, in discussions of language-learning strategies the choice of solution element is not always prominent. It does not occur even by implication in four of the five definitions cited by Macaro in his book on the subject (2001: 17)'.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Basically the significant of this study is to be able to expend the knowledge and the understanding of the study. This study also will help on revealing the need of improving the language learning strategies in English among students now days. Simply suggesting that a learner of specifically of English language should 'use the English word I know in different ways' or maybe 'try to find out how to be a better learner of English' (Oxford 1990: 295) is like to result a bafflement rather than improved learning. So, in order to be better at using English and improving their language knowledge, students must also implement the use of English in their daily life. This study also a benchmark for students and why not the educators as well, mainly because it is vital for both party in future education.
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter will provide a brief summary of the previous research which has got the relations with the study. Mainly, there will be different argument that the researchers trying to voice out through their research and to this study it might provide a new point of view to eventually strengthen the study's objective.
2.1 Learning Strategies
Other researcher even mentioned that it is vital to execute this research mainly because they discover that language learning strategy in English has got to be one of the most important elements in order to make them understand better educationally and also not forgetting the development of language learning strategy theory and how it fits into the framework of contemporary language teaching and learning for students who speak other languages is examined, and research on language learning strategies to date is reviewed. It is also believed by some researcher that learning strategies is referred as learning styles. Styles indicate ways to better and effective learning, learners' specific behaviors or thoughts which the learners use to enhance their language learning (Rebecca, L Oxford). Learning strategy is also as define as specific actions, behaviors, steps or techniques. As for example-- of learning strategy are finding friends for conversational partners or giving oneself to tackle difficult language task-- used by the student to enhance their own learning (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992, p.63). Thus, some researchers rely on the taxonomies of the language learning strategy to execute their research. Language learning strategy is important in today's' educational purposes are mainly because it is the main factor that helps determine how and how well our ESL learners learn their second language even though it is factual that they are not native speakers of the language it selves. When a student can finally find their preferred learning strategy it is automatically become its useful toolkit for active, conscious, purposeful self-regulating language learning strategy.
2.2 Language Learning Taxonomies
Under the language learning taxonomy lays the theory of cognition as the entire previous researcher mentioned. It is based on the understanding from O'Malley and Chamot that language learning strategies are rather skills that acquired declarative knowledge which later become procedural as a result of extensive or continuously practices. Based on Oxford Taxonomies as according to Ellis (1994: 539) it is the most comprehensive classification to date for language learning strategy study. This could be classifying into certain important things. This later on classified that language learning strategies could be divided into these divisions.
2.2.1 Direct Strategies: Is an umbrella term which conceals a number of important distinctions. The subcategories of Direct Strategies are memory, cognitive, and compensation as following.
Memory Strategy: i.e. "memory strategies are creating mental linkages..." it is also a sort of strategy that helps students to stored and also retrieved information.
Cognitive Strategy: includes practicing, analyzing and also reasoning; not just that cognitive are also believed by some researchers enable learners to increases comprehension and at the same time produce new language by different means.
Compensation Strategy: it is an example provided by the author regards of the compensation strategy based on the Strategies Inventory Language Learning (SILL), Oxford is by guessing intelligently. Simply because compensation strategies allows and encourages learners to use the language despite of their often large gaps in knowledge. These strategies are considered as 'specific actions taken by the learners for effective learning, easy, faster more enjoyable, more towards self-directed, and why not more transferable to new situations ( Macaro 2004, 1990:8)
2.2.2 Indirect Strategies: While in this strategies, Ellis stated that another major category that consists of other subcategories under it.
Metacognitive Strategies: In this particular strategy, is exemplified in arranging, planning and evaluating one's learning. And in other word also, metacognitive allow the learners to eventually control their own cognition.
Affective Strategies: This strategy helps learners to eventually tone down the sense of anxiety and encouraging them to boost confidence level, which means in other words, literally to help regulate learners' emotions motivation and also attitudes.
Social Strategies: language learning strategy as mention in SILL stated that social strategies functions are including asking questions and as well as cooperating with others. Not just that, in social strategies it involves learning by interaction with colleagues to obtain the effectiveness in language learning strategies.
2.2.3 Learning Needs: Learning needs explain how learners will be able to move from the starting point (lacks) to the destination (necessities). It is naive to base a course design simply on the target objectives, and that the learning situation must also be taken into account (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987). They add that the target situation alone is not a reliable indicator, and that the conditions of the learning situation, the learners' knowledge, skills, strategies, and motivation for learning are of prime importance. Figure 2 below illustrates this language learning strategies taxonomy.
Figure 2: The Language Learning Strategies Taxonomies, Oxford.
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
This chapter provides an overview on how the research will be conducted on the gender differences in language learning strategies among ESL learners. It is also includes the details of who, where and how also includes data collection methods, which includes the research design, samples, location, instruments, and research procedures so that the research will be execute in order to obtain the goal of the research.
3.1 Research Design
In this particular research, the researchers implicate the experimental designs of research in order to collect and analyze the data. It is purposely to determine whether it influences an outcome or dependent variable. The researcher must first decide on an idea with which later will eventually be experiment, assign to individual to experience it. In this research, mainly the researcher applied matching of participants which includes the process of identifying one or personal characteristics that eventually may influences the variable of the study. The researcher typically experimental researchers match on one or two of the following characteristics as for example; gender, individual abilities. Specifically, the researchers come out with ready made set of questionnaire which has been used by previous researcher and according to the language learning strategies. It indicates the many related strategies in learning and strategies in teaching. The researchers also at random assign them as the experimental treatment when at times they give reward for the achievement of the participants' performance.
In order to get the solid findings, the researcher will only focuses on ESL Learners surrounding of Faculty of Modern Language and Communication in UPM. But if possible, the researcher would want to get a different scale of result when this study being conducted. As for example, researcher may focuses on two different groups of learners. Firstly, the group of ESL learners from the same faculty which revolves surrounds the English medium of educational. Secondly, groups of learners which are not in the English medium of educational environmental. These students are basically come from different faculty in UPM as well. Basically, there will be no specifically age limitation, but it is more focus on the different gender. This research will be held among them and the ability to understand English as a second language is commonly vital.
3.3 Data collection
Basically in this research, the researcher will identify their unit of analysis in order to get the solid and reliable findings. The main priority for this research is the sample which is from the Faculty of Modern Language and Communication in UPM that they have specifically chooses. The subjects that they consider as their respective sample are specifically the student of Bachelor of English and mainly exposed to the language itself. Second priority is students from other faculty which later will be selected at random for the research purposes by the researcher. This is the characteristic that will fulfill the quantitative sampling strategies in which later develop the simple random sampling procedures. Researchers mention the steps to obtain access and sites which is the research consist of different gender specifically females or males. Researcher will also apply the probabilistic simple random sampling which generally consists of 2 specific gender studying at the same class, they are all will be ask to follow what the researcher explain at first and they must answer the set which is being modified from previous research of questionnaire with their own words. Particularly in this research, the researcher will definitely use the Strategies Inventory for Language Learning based (SILL) as a tool to measure the validity and also reliability of the research.
As mention earlier, the study will be taken place surrounds the area of the Faculty of Modern Language and Communication in UPM, and several selected faculty in the same place. It is involving the students for both different faculties in order to provide a valid result for the research. Location in this research is quite an important context in situation as it will vary regards of the result matters. Different ESL learners may apply different language learning strategies mainly because of their educational purposes.
A set of questionnaire from a previous research will be used as the instrument in this study to elicit students' use of language learning strategies, because it is the best way to obtain the data on language learning strategies and the result of the data will then be analyzed to find out the differences in gender language learning strategies between male and female students of ESL. Besides that, a short test will also be included together with the questionnaire. The short test is required to determine their level of language competence. 50 students of Bachelor of Arts in English will be used as the subjects. They will be divided into two groups. Group 1 will consist of twenty five (25) second-year female students at Putra University of Malaysia who are in their fourth (4) semester of learning English; and Group 2 will consist of twenty five (25) second-year male students at Putra University of Malaysia who are in their fourth (4) semester of learning English too. All of the subjects have been learning English as a second language in formal instruction settings, and none of them have ever been in English-speaking countries. A brief survey consisting of twenty questions will be administered to two groups of learners. All the statements will be rated on the Likert scale of five possible answers: 1- strongly disagrees, 2- disagree, 3- not sure, 4- agree, 5- strongly agree. The obtained data will be statistically processed and interpreted. The questions are mainly about the strategies that they use in obtaining English language and how they understand regards on the matters stated.
3.6 Research Procedure
Under the monitoring of the researcher, the respondent of faculty of Modern Language and Communication will be the respective respondent to the research study. Firstly, these students were divided into two groups; half of the port-portion is female and another half of it male. They are required to sit in group so that it will be easier to monitor when the research is being conduct. A set of ready made questionnaire will be given out to the entire respondent and they are requiring listening to researcher's explanation, filling up the information require in the set of questionnaire before starting answering the questions. Respondent are not allow to cheat on the answers while the research session is on mainly because it a simple yet confusing questionnaire and the main purposes of this research is to investigate the language learning strategies among the ESL learners in degree level of education. First expectation of the researcher is equal to the entire respondent. Researcher will also keep the respondents data and information private regards of privacy.