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Self-Taught Language Learners in China and Their Learning Strategies: A Multiple, Instrumental Case Study of Approaches in Contextual Situations

Thomas, M and Janosy, R (2020) Self-Taught Language Learners in China and Their Learning Strategies: A Multiple, Instrumental Case Study of Approaches in Contextual Situations. Asian EFL Journal, 24 (2). pp. 136-161. ISSN 1738-1460

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One fundamental question in second language acquisition (SLA) studies is: why do some language learners reach higher levels of language proficiency while others in similar contexts do not? To that end, research examining language learning strategies (LLS) and the particular learner characteristics that aid motivation and progress have been a central topic of concern. Many studies have been done to compile the strategies that learners use to acquire the language from the good language learner studies (Rubin, 1975) to Oxford’s (2003) taxonomy of LLS. These original studies revealed the uniqueness existing amongst learners leading to the study of learners’ individual differences (IDs) (Dörnyei, 2009; Skehan, 1991). These studies included the presence of context-dependent available resources and choices of strategies according to learning styles. Through an online questionnaire coupled with individual interviews, the research in this paper applied a multiple case study approach to 12 participants in China who described their various methods, LLS and approaches to mastering the language relative to their context. The majority began learning out of interest and eventually became English teachers in their own country. The overriding element found in these participants was their love of learning the language and the associated culture – an intrinsic motivation driving their learning styles. Their context did not appear to be a barrier to their progress and it was evident that their self-directed learning activities changed according to available resources. The participants also described how they made use of 21st century media tools to learn, communicate and practise the language, giving them mobility and available resources at any time and place. The findings from these self-taught language learners are applicable to teaching contexts in that they raise awareness of the significance of LLS within learning activities in the English language classroom.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Education, 20 Language, Communication and Culture
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Education
Publisher: English Language Education Publishing
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2020 10:38
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 08:10
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11999
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