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An exploratory investigation into the role of strategies for learning english-as-a-second language (ESL) among Singapore's engineering students

Wang, Su Chen (1992) An exploratory investigation into the role of strategies for learning english-as-a-second language (ESL) among Singapore's engineering students. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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ABSTRACT Chapter One, consisting of two parts, sets the background for this study. The first part discusses some of the early strategy studies, and the second examines more recent strategy research. The overall picture suggests that there is a tendency for strategy research to seek theoretical legitimacy in a computational cognitive model. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the timeliness and appropriacy or otherwise of such an approach. Chapter Two has three obj ecti ves . First, a definition of strategy lS proposed for this study, and to clear the ground further, a conceptual distinction is suggested between the notion of a strategy and that of a learning activity. Second, an attempt is made to link strategy study into the general framework of learning research, specifically with first language and academic learning research, and this is represented pictorially in a heuristic learning cube. Third, a justification for my research is presented. Chapter Three describes the two-pronged approach used here. The first comprises the interventional element, in which the experimental group underwent several simple strategy-promoting activities in addition to normal course-work. The second is the self-report element: here, the total population selfreported on their strategies, and on their attitudes and 3 motivations. Pre- and post-course English proficiency data as well as language aptitude data were also documented. Chapter Four describes the findings of the intervention and the self-report components mentioned above. The findings were subjected to four statistical analyses, namely, t-tests, correlations, factor analyses and regression analyses in order to examine the data for trends; and the resultant findings were interpreted from the strategy view-point. Th~ .. t-test and correlation findings, read together, sug<;[ested that the experimental group performed better than the control because they made use of the following strategies: goaldirectedness, reasoned guessing, assiduity and functional practice. Furthermore, the experimentals seemed to be more confident learners, able to make learning decisions and able, perhaps, to carve clear learning paths for themselves. The factor analytical findings suggested the presence of several strategy constructs underlying the items. A number of these constructs occurred across the tasks of writing, reading, vocabuary learning and grammar learning whereas others were more task-specific. The regression findings indicated that constructs, together with attitudinal several strategy and aptitudinal constructs, entered the learning equation, though not very strongly. 4 Chapter Five, instead of looking for trends in pooled data, examined selected cases for individual differences in relation to strategy, attitude, aptitude, language background, and learning outcome. The chapter concludes with a very tentative suggestion that the amount of strategising which a learner reports is not as suggestive of good learning outcome as is his practice of strategy selectivity as indicated by the standard deviation of his strategy use. Chapter Six concludes the thesis with a summary of the fiI}g.ings of this study, comments on its shortcomings, and suggests that strategy research ought for the time being to remain in the realm of educational research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (10)
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2013 15:11
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 11:38
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