The Strategy Factor in Successful Language Learning.

Adhering to the cognitive perspective that lays emphasis on the learners as active participants in the learning process (Anderson, 1980), this book foregrounds the significant role of learning strategies in the process of L2 acquisition focusing on a series of fundamental issues with respect to strategy use by L2 learners in relation to individual, situational and target variables. Αs such the volume can be seen as an effort to determine the pedagogical value of language learning strategies in a variety of L2 contexts and for a wide range of L2 learning tasks. Throughout its five chapters, the book seeks to resolve some of these controversies based on empirical evidence discussing pedagogical issues related to L2 learning strategy training as well as identifying areas still requiring further research clarification.

Chapter 1 offers an extensive analysis and re-interpretation of relevant literature on L2 learning strategies aiming to dissolve terminological issues related to the definition of language learning strategy, its effectiveness and the adoption of current L2 learning strategy taxonomies. Effectiveness of strategy use is discussed in terms of the situational and individual variables that potentially affect the skillful orchestration of strategies by L2 learners to achieve the desired learning outcome. Finally, an overview of the existing L2 learning strategy classificatory systems that merit extra research effort is provided so that strategy categorization is undertaken in theoretical and statistically justifiably ways to facilitate meaningful interpretation of research data.

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Chapter 2 addresses key questions concerning strategy use, its relationship with other variables and with successful language learning based on quantitative data from a survey with L2 learners in Auckland, New Zealand (Griffiths, 2003). More specifically: (i) the relationship between reported frequency of L2 learning strategy use, choice and successful language learning was statistically significant (ii) strategies related to interaction, function, vocabulary, writing, toleration of ambiguity, grammar, affect and reading were mostly related to successful language learning, (iii) motivation and nationality were found to significantly affect strategy use, (iv) learning in an ESL environment significantly influenced learners in their choice of strategies when learning L2 English favouring lexical flexibility, the ability to manage the learning process, tolerance ambiguity and development of vocabulary and reading skills.

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