One Size Doesn't Fit for All: An Empirical Study of Language Learning Strategies of Rural Learners

One Size Doesn't Fit for All: An Empirical Study of Language Learning Strategies of Rural Learners

Anto Maria Eusobia (Sacred Heart College (Autonomous), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3464-9.ch024


Language is a means of communication. Learning a mother tongue is an ecstasy, but learning a second language is an acrimonious bliss. There is many research which focus on the enhancement of L2 learning. One of the ways to enhance the L2 learning is to focus on the individual differences (IDs) of the learners. Where one size does not fit for all. Each learner enjoys and searches the apt one for their size. This chapter focuses on one of the IDs i.e. language learning strategies (LLS). It is the actions, plans, and steps possessed and developed by the learner to enhance the L2 learning. This chapter is an attempt to investigate the awareness of rural learners about their LLS, and to identify the strategy preferences of the rural intermediate level learners and the tertiary level learners. Thus, this chapter identifies the awareness and preferences of LLS of rural learners.
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Significance Of Individual Differences

One size does not fit all. Each learner is unique. Hence his/her own set of preferences towards learning in general and language learning in particular should be of prime importance. In English Language Teaching, a separate stream is focused on IDs. As Cohen and Dornyei (2002) stated in Focus on the Language Learner: Motivation, Styles, and Strategies,

When learners embark on the study of an L2 […], they carry a considerable “personal baggage,” that will have a significant bearing on how learning proceeds. Past research […] has identified a number of key components of this learner “baggage” and has also provided clear evidence that these components determine how fast and how well we are likely to master the L2 (p. 170).

Learners are differed by their age, nationality, gender, ethnicity, aptitude, attitude, proficiency achievement, emotional quotient, intelligent quotient, learning ambience, economic status, family atmosphere, interest level, geographical aspects, styles, strategies, personality type, motivation, and beliefs.

Today’s language pedagogy both in schools and colleges is not catered towards learners’ IDs. A simple teaching contains only selected styles and strategies, where the prime notion of this type of teaching is focused on the completion of the syllabus in a stipulated time and on the achievement of a good result. The following section illustrates one of the IDs, namely LLS.


Language Learning Strategies In Oxford’S Words

Oxford’s (1990) LLS classification is based on the functions of the strategy. Communicative competence is the center of attraction for all the strategies. Ellis (1994) stated that Oxford’s taxonomy is “perhaps the most comprehensive classification of learning strategies to date” (p. 539). It is categorized into two: 1) Direct strategies; 2) indirect strategies. Direct strategies could be classified as follows:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Individual Differences: Each learner is unique like by the age, gender, aptitude, attitude etc. The differences among the learners are considered individual differences.

Sill: Strategy Inventory for Language Learning. This inventory helps to find out the strategy preference of a language learner.

Language Learning Strategies: A plan, step, and action used by a learner to accomplish a particular language task or to learn the language.

Pedagogy: A method of teaching. The activities, styles and strategies of teaching and instruction process is known as pedagogy.

Learner Autonomy: The ability to take in charge of one’s own learning process and being responsible for it.

Learner’s Awareness: Being aware of one’s language learning styles, strategies, pace, and time.

Learner-Centered: Making the learner as a center of a classroom setting; the pedagogy should be focused and based on learners’ needs and interests.

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