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Chapter5. Styles and Strategies
Transcript of Chapter5. Styles and Strategies
Strategy Process is the most general of the three concepts. All human beings engage in certain universal processes. Human beings universally make stimulus-response connections and are driven by reinforcements. We all engage in association, meaningful and rote storage, transfer, generalization, and interference. Everyone has some degree of aptitude for learning a second language that may be described by specified verbal learning processes. We all possess, in varying proportions, abilities in multiplicity of intelligences. Process is characteristic of every human being. Process Style is a term that refers to consistent and rather enduring tendencies or preferences within an individual. Styles are those general characteristics of intellectual functioning that pertain to you as an individual, and that differentiate you from someone else. For example, you might be more visually oriented, more tolerant of ambiguity, or more reflective than someone else. So styles vary across individuals. Style Strategies are specific methods of approaching a problem or task, modes of operation for achieving a particular end, planned designs for controlling and manipulating certain information. They are contextualized “battle plans” that might vary from moment to moment, or from one situation to another, or even from one culture to another. Strategies vary within an individual. Each of us has a number of possible options for solving a particular problem, and we choose one-or several in sequence-for a given ‘problem’ in learning a second language. Strategies Cognitive, affective, and physiological traits
that are relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive, interact with,
and respond to the learning environment Learning Styles Learning styles mediate between emotion and cognition. For example, a reflective style invariably grows out of a reflective personality or a reflective mood.
Some would claim that Styles are stable traits
in adults. This is a questionable view,
‘A predisposition may be deep-seated,
but it does imply some capacity for flexibility,
and scope for adaptation of particular styles
to meet the demands of particular circumstances.’ 9 Styles to second language acquisition 1. Field independence-dependence
2. Random (non-linear) vs. sequential (linear)
3. Global vs. particular
4. Inductive vs. deductive
5. Synthetic vs. analytic
6. Analogue vs. digital
7. Concrete vs. abstract
8. Leveling vs. Sharpening
9. Impulsive vs. reflective Field Independence Field dependence is the tendency to be ‘dependent’
on the total field so that the parts embedded within
the field are not easily perceived,
although that total field is perceived more clearly
as a unified whole. A field independent (FI) style enables you to distinguish part from a whole, to concentrated on something(like reading a book in a noisy train station), or to analyze separate variables without the contamination of neighboring variables. On the other hand, too much FI may result in cognitive ‘tunnel vision’: you see only the parts and not their relationship to the whole. Seen in this light, developments of a field dependent(FD) style has positive effects: you perceive or idea or event. It is clear, then that both FI and FD are necessary for most of the cognitive and affective problems we face. The literature on field independence-dependence
(FID) (Witkin & Goodenough,1981)has shown that :FI increases as a child matures to adulthood
:Western culture that males tend to be more FI
:Cross-culturally, the extent of the development of
a FID style as children mature is a factor of the type of society and home in which the child is reared
: Authoritarian or agrarian societies, which are usually highly socialized and utilize strict rearing practices, tend to produce more FD.
: A democratic, industrialized, competitive society
with freer rearing norms tends to produce more FI persons. How does all this relate to
second language learning? Two conflicting hypotheses First, we could conclude that FI is closely related to classroom learning that involves analysis, attention to details, and mastering of exercise, drills, and other focused activities.
Chapelle and Robers(1986) found support for the correlation of a FI style with language success as measured both by traditional, analytic, paper-and-pencil tests and by an oral interview.
The second of the conflicting hypotheses proposes that a FD style will, by virtue of its association with empathy, social outreach, and perception of other people, yield successful learning of the communicative aspects of a second language. While no one denies the plausibility of this second hypothesis, little empirical evidence has been gathered to support it. The principal reason for the dearth of such evidence is the absence of a true test of FD.
The answer to the paradox........ Both styles are
important. One kind of learning implies natural, face-to-face communication, the kind of communication
that occurs too rarely in the average language classroom. The second kind of learning involves the familiar classroom activities: drills, exercises, tests
, and so forth.
It is most likely that ‘natural’ language learning is
the ‘field’, beyond the constraints of the classroom,
is aided by a FD style, and the classroom type of learning is enhanced, conversely, a FI style. FID may prove to be a valuable tool for differentiating child and adult language acquisition.
The child, more predominantly FD,
may have a cognitive style advantage over the more
FI adult. Stephen Krashen(1997) has suggested that adults use more ‘monitoring’ or ‘learning’, strategies(conscious attention to forms)
for language acquisition, while children utilize strategies of ‘acquisition’
(subconscious attention to function) Psychologists originally viewed FID as a relatively stable characteristic in adults.
However, there has been little empirical support for this conclusion: Instead, FID, like all styles, appears
to be contextualized and variable(Skehan,1998). Logically and observationally, FID is quite variable within one person. If a task requires FI,
individuals ay invoke a FI style; if it requires FD,
they may invoke a FD style. In second language, then, it may be incorrect
to assume that learners should be either FI or FD.
It is more likely that persons have general inclinations, but, given certain contexts, can exercise a sufficient degree of an appropriate style. The burden on the learner is to invoke the appropriate style for the context. The burden on the teacher is to understand the preferred styles of each learner and to sow the seeds for flexibility.
Left- and Right-Brain Dominance The left hemisphere is associated with logical, analytical thought, with mathematical and linear processing of information. The right hemisphere perceives and remembers visual, tactile, and auditory images; it is more efficient in processing holistic, integrative, and emotional information. While we can cite many differences between left and right brain characteristics, it is important to remember that the left and right hemispheres operate together as a ‘team’. Most problem solving involves the capacities of both hemispheres, and often the best solutions to problems are those in which each hemisphere has participated optimally.
Nevertheless, the left-/right-brain construct helps to define another useful learning style continuum, with implications for second language learning and teaching. Danesi(1988), for example, used ‘neurological bimodality’ to analyze the way in which various language teaching methods have failed.
Krashen, Seliger, and Hartnett(1974) found support for the hypothesis that left-brain-dominant second language learners preferred a deductive style of teaching, while right-brain-dominant learners appeared to be successful in and inductive classroom environment.
Stevick(1982) concluded that left-brain-dominant second language learners are better at producing separate words, gathering the specifics of language, carrying out sequences of operations, and dealing with abstraction, classification, labeling, and reorganization. Right-brain-dominant learners, on the other hand, appear to deal better with whole images, with generalizations, with metaphors, and with emotional reactions and artistic expressions.
How left and right brain functioning differs from FI and FD? Conclusions that were drawn above for FI and FD generally apply well for left- and right-brain functioning, respectively. Ambiguity Tolerance The degree to which you are cognitively willing to tolerate ideas and propositions that run counter to your own belief system or structure of knowledge. Advantages and Disadvantages
are present in each style. The person who is tolerant of ambiguity is free to entertain a number of innovative and creative possibilities and not be cognitively or affectively disturbed by ambiguity and uncertainty. In second language learning a great amount of apparently contradictory information is encountered: words that differ from the native language, rules that not only differ but that are internally inconsistent because of certain ‘exceptions’, and sometimes a whole cultural system that is distant from that of the native culture. On the other hand, too much tolerance of ambiguity can have a detrimental effect. People can become ‘wishy-washy’, accepting virtually every proposition before them, not efficiently subsuming necessary facts into their cognitive organizational structure. Such excess tolerance has the effect of hampering or preventing meaningful subsumption of ideas. Reflectivity and Impulsivity Psychological studies have been conducted to determine the degree to which, in the cognitive domain, a person tends to make either a quick or gambling(impulsive) guess at an answer to a problem or a slower, more calculative (reflective) decision. The implications for language acquisition are numerous. It has been found that children who are conceptually reflective tend to make fewer errors in reading than impulsive children; however, impulsive persons are usually faster readers, and eventually master the ‘psycholinguistic guessing game’ of reading so that their impulsive style of reading may not necessarily deter comprehension. Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Style Visual learners tend to prefer reading and studying charts, drawings, and other graphic information.
Auditory learners prefer listening to lectures and audiotapes.
Kinesthetic learners will show a preference for demonstrations and physical activity involving bodily movement. Most successful learners utilize both visual and auditory input, but slight preferences one way or the other may distinguish one learner from another, and important factor for classroom instruction.
In on study of adult learner of ESL, Joy Reid found some significant cross-cultural differences in visual and auditory styles. Research findings on learning styles underscore the importance of recognizing learner’s varying preferences. However, measurement of style preferences is problematic. The fact that learners’s styles represent preferred approaches rather than immutable stable traits means that learners can adapt to varying contexts and situations. Autonomy, Awareness and Action Until some of the ‘designer’ methods appeared in the 1970s, most of the language teaching methodology was teacher centered.
With the aid of research on achieving autonomy, language programs and courses increasingly emphasized to students
the importance of self-starting and of taking responsibility for one’s own learning. The literature on the topic raises some caution flags. Schmenk appropriately described the nonuniversality of the concept of autonomy, and Pennycook(1997) warned us about the potential cultural imperialism involved in assuming every culture equally values and promotes autonomy, especially in educational institutions. For language teaching in sub-Saharan Africa, Sonaiya questioned ‘the global validity of the so-called autonomous method of language learning...which has obvious origins in European and North American traditions of individualism.’ Awareness With the backdrop of a good deal of research on awareness and ‘consciousness raising’, language programs are offering more occasions for learners to develop a matacognitive awareness of their ongoing learning.
Rosa and Leow found that learners of Spanish as a second language in the United States showed improved performance under conditions of awareness-raising. Action All that awareness without action will be relatively useless. Once learners can become aware of their predispositions, their styles, and their strengths and weaknesses, they can take appropriate action in the form of a plethora of strategies that are available to them. Strategies If styles are general characteristics that differentiate one individual from another, then strategies are those specific ‘attacks’ that we make on a given problem, and that vary considerably within each individual. Rubin(Rubin&Thompson,1982)
_Good language learners 14 Characteristics that
good language learners have_(132-133p) In more recent research... With the increasing interest in social constructivist analyses of language acquisition, we find a shift of focus away from merely searching for universal cognitive and affective characteristics of successful learners. Drawing on the work of Vygotsky(1978) and Bakhtin(1990,1986), Norton and Toohey (2001) suggested quite a different viewpoint. They adopt a sociocultural approach that looks at learners as participants in a community of language users in ‘local contexts in which specific practices create possibilities for them to learn English’. Fundamental to their point of view is the identity that each learner creates in a socially constructed context. As learners invest in their learning process, they create avenues of success. Learning Strategies
Socioaffective Metacognitive Strategies Advance organizer
Self-evaluation Ehrman and Leaver (2003) Griffiths and Sheen : "This 'theoretically flawed’ notion does not have, and has never had,
any relevance for second language learning." Implications for second language learning and teaching. Intolerance of ambiguity also has its advantages and disadvantages.
A certain intolerance at an optimal level enables one to guard against the wishy-washiness referred to above, to close off avenues of hopeless possibilities, to reject entirely contradictory material, and to deal with the reality of the system that one has built. But intolerance can close the mind too soon, especially if ambiguity is perceived as a threat; the result is a rigid, dogmatic, brittle mind that is too narrow be creative. This may be particularly harmful in second language learning. R/I has some important considerations for classroom second language learning and teaching. Teachers tend to judge mistakes too harshly, especially in the case of a learner with an impulsive style who may be more willing than a reflective person to gamble at an answer. On the other hand, a reflective person may require patience from the teacher, who must allow more time for the student to struggle with responses. However, some recent studies are more encouraging. Underscoring the need for teachers to be sensitive to the cultural background of students, Carter(2001) suggested that while learners in Trinidad and Tobago traditionally rely heavily on teachers as manager of their learning, autonomy can nevertheless be fostered through what she described as a ‘context-sensitive’ model. Cognitive strategies Translation
Inferencing Socioaffective strategies Cooperation
Question for clarification Communication Strategies Strategies-based instruction
(p.141-142) Direct Strategies: Memory, Cognitive, and Compensation Strategies
Indirect Strategies: Metacognitive, Affective, and Social Strategies In more recent years, strategy research has been evolving a theory of language learning strategies that seeks to confirm or disconfirm a number of question that have arisen.
1)the adequacy of categorizing strategies into above three divisions,
2)the psychological assumptions underlying the postulation of strategic options,
3)the relationship of strategy research to current language teaching paradigms
4)intercorrelations among, and relationships between, the many strategies that have been identified, and
5)the adequacy of various measures of strategy use and awareness Avoidance strategies 1. Message abandonment: Leaving a message unfinished because of language difficulties.
2. Topic avoidance: Avoiding topic areas or concepts that pose language difficulties Compensatory Strategies 3. Circumlocution: Describing or exemplifying the target object of action
4. Approximation: Using an alternative term which expresses the meaning of the target lexical item as closely as possible
5. Use of all-purpose words: Extending a general, empty lexical item to contexts where specific words are lacking
6. Word coinage: Creating a nonexisting L2 word based on a supposed rule
7. Prefabricated patterns: Using memorized stock phrases, usually for ‘survival’ purposes
8. Nonlinguistic signals: Mime, gesture, facial expression, or sound imitation
9. Literal translation: Translating literally a lexical item, idiom, compound word, or structure from L1 to L2
10. Foreignizing: Using a L1 word by adjusting it to L2 phonology and/or morphology
11. Code-switching: Using a L1 world with L1 pronunciation or a L3 word with L3 pronunciation while speaking in L2
12. Appeal for help: Asking for aid from the interlocutor either directly or indirectly
13. Stalling or time-gaining strategies: Using fillers or hesitation devices to fill pauses and to gain time to think The effective implementation of SBI
in language classrooms involves.... several steps and considerations:
(1)identifying learner’s styles and potential strategies;
(2)incorporating SBI in communicative language courses and classrooms;
(3)providing extra-class assistance for learners. While learning strategies deal with the receptive domain of intake, memory, storage, and recall, communication strategies pertain to the employment of verbal or nonverbal mechanisms for the productive communication of information. (In the arena of linguistic interaction, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two) Identifying learner’s styles and strategies
(p.144 _Learing styles checklist)
The most common methods is a self-check questionnaire in which the learner responds to various questions, usually along a scale of points of agreement and disagreement.
The SILL(Strategy Inventory for Language Learning) serves as an instruments to expose learners to possibilities, but teachers must assume the responsibility for seeing to it that learners are aided in putting certain strategies into practice. Highlight the SBI
into the language classroom 1. Lower inhibitions
2. Encourage risk taking
3. Build self-confidence
4. Develop intrinsic motivations
5. Encourage in cooperative learning
6. Use right-brain processes
7. Promote ambiguity tolerance
8. Practice intuition
9. Process error feedback
10. Set personal goals Stimulating Strategic Action Beyond the classroom It is important to note that style awareness and strategic action are not limited to the classroom. Teachers can help learners to achieve this further step toward autonomy by helping learners to look beyond the classroom and the language course they are in. The ultimate purpose in engaging students in SBI is not simply to complete one language course. Teachers can help learners to see that raising their conscious awareness of styles and strategies aids them in the authentic use of language ‘out there.’
Not all learners are alike.