The "Learning Star": an exploration of interrelationships between
oral proficiency levels, individual learner differences and
"successful" strategic behaviour
Jennifer Bruen, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
This study investigates the interrelationships between three variables: individual learner differences, frequency of use of language learning strategies, and levels of oral proficiency in German, for one hundred third level students. The individual learner differences included in the study are age, gender, area of specialism, length of time spent studying German, level (i.e. beginner or intermediate), level of motivation, preferred learning style, level of enjoyment associated with learning German, and self-perception of proficiency level. Data was obtained on the three variables using respectively a background questionnaire, the "Strategy Inventory for Language Learning", and group oral examinations.
The results indicate, for example, that significant positive correlations exist between three of the individual learner differences (levels of motivation, level of enjoyment associated with learning German, and self-perception of proficiency level), levels of strategic behaviour and levels of oral proficiency in German. Significant positive correlations were also identified between these learner differences and "successful" strategic behaviour, where "successful" strategic behaviour is defined as the frequent use of those strategies identified in this study as being associated with higher levels of oral proficiency. Theoretical implications are considered together with implications for the language classroom.
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