Learning strategies and oral proficiency: an investigation of the language learning strategies associated with the achievement of higher levels of oral proficiency in German

  • This study identifies the language learning strategies associated with the achievement of higher levels o f oral proficiency in German for one hundred Irish third level students. It is one of the first studies of this kind to be conducted in Ireland and one of the very few, if any, conducted on third level learners of German. Furthermore, as well as identifying the strategies associated with higher levels of proficiency, the study also investigates how these strategies are used by learners displaying higher and lower levels of proficiency. It then explores the question of how the strategies associated with higher levels of proficiency contribute to the process of proficiency development, and how students perceive them as contributing to this process. Finally, the relationships between learner specific characteristics, strategic behaviour and proficiency levels are assessed. The experimental design combines a quantitative survey with in-depth interviews. The results indicate that orally more proficient students use more strategies more frequently. In particular, they use more cognitive, metacognitive and social strategies. Furthermore, they have a repertoire of approximately ten key strategies which they employ in a structured, purposeful manner and apply to a range of language learning situations. They are convinced that these strategies contribute to the development of proficiency, a view which is borne out by the quantitative findings. Finally, higher levels of motivation and more positive perceptions of personal proficiency levels are strongly associated with higher levels of both strategic behaviour and oral proficiency. These findings have significant theoretical and practical implications. Firstly, they demonstrate the importance of expanding the research framework in studies of this kind beyond the mere identification of the strategies associated with higher proficiency levels. Instead, as in this study, future research should incorporate questions relating to the process of strategy implementation by more and less successful learners and to relationships between the use of particular strategies and the process of foreign language acquisition. Secondly, the findings contribute to our understanding of the strategic behaviour of the orally more proficient student, and in particular the orally more proficient learner of German in an Irish third level context. This understanding relates primarily to the strategies these learners use, the way in which they use them and their attitudes towards their use. Such an understanding forms the basis of successful strategies based instruction in the language classroom.

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Author:Jennifer Bruen
Referee:Michael Townson
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2000
Year of first Publication:2000
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Dublin City University
Release Date:2014/02/18
Tag:German language Spoken German; German language Study and teaching; Learning strategies
This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. http://doras.dcu.ie/licenses/ccancnd3_0/
Dublin City University, Dublin, Diss, 2000.
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 43 Deutsch, germanische Sprachen allgemein / 430 Germanische Sprachen; Deutsch
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0