Language Learning Strategies and Their Development


The learning of foreign languages requires the usage of certain techniques and models. There are various approaches to the learning of a foreign language. The history of learning strategies development deserves special attention as it indicates the prevailing teaching methods employed at different time periods. The aim of this essay is to describe the learning strategies and the history of their development.

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The Main Part

The history of research in LL strategies is divided into the periods starting from the 1970s. At that time, the identification of the successful language learners characteristics was the primary objective for the development of the learning strategies. In the 1980s, the identification and classification of the learning strategies were conducted. During the following decade, strategic instruction attempts were made. During the 1st decade of the new millennium, strategy and styles instructions were combined. During the 2nd decade of the new millennium, strategic instruction has become viewed from the standpoint of its self-regulation.

Learning style and learning strategy are two different concepts. They should, however, be used together. Only if the learning style and the learning strategy are used properly, the learning process will be effective. The most effective strategy instruction assumes the demonstration of how the strategy should be applied, and the students should be instructed how to connect it with other related tasks and situations. There are integrated and separated strategy instructions.

Overall, the language learning strategy is the conscious process which students select to learn. There are following types of strategies: identifying the material that needs to be learned, distinguishing the material to be learned from others, grouping the material for easier learning, practicing, and monitoring of the results. A skill-based classification of strategies includes strategies used to learn a specific language skill or area.

Language use strategies are conscious processes which students select to use the language material they have learned. They include retrieval, rehearsal, communication, and cover strategies. The retrieval strategies are those which focus on the recalling of the past material using the visual memory. The rehearsal strategies are aimed at recalling the learned words and phrases. The communication strategies are focused on paraphrasing skills. The cover strategies are used to develop the impression of the control over the learned material.

There is also a function-based classification which includes cognitive, meta – cognitive, affective, and social strategies. SBI procedure is the approach used for teaching foreign languages, which is focused on a student and assumes the integration of the strategies in the learning process.

There is a model for developing self-direction in vocabulary learning. This model is centered on a lifelong learner. The model is based on the principle that the learning process should contain the following qualities: self-awareness, self-monitoring, self-management, and meta-learning. The concept of self-awareness implies knowing the learner. The second term, self-monitoring, assumes the evaluation of learning. Self-management is planning for learning. Meta-learning assumes understanding of how to learn. All these concepts are interrelated and influence the lifelong learning process.

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In order to sum up all of the above mentioned, it should be said that the language learning strategies represent the integral parts of the effective learning process. There are different classifications of the LL strategies. In addition, a number of models for their use exist. The model for developing self-direction in vocabulary learning is one of them.

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