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close this section of the library Chand, Zakia Ali

View the PDF document Language learning strategies of Fiji students and correlations with academic language proficiency
Author:Chand, Zakia Ali
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: Ph.D.
Subject: Language and languages -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Fiji, Language and languages -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers, English language -- Ability testing -- Fiji
Date: 2015
Call No.: pac P 57 .F5 C43 2015
BRN: 1204092
Copyright:10-20% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: Learning strategies are deliberate thoughts and actions which learners can utilize to improve their learning and achieve their goals. This subject has intrigued researchers for many years and has been found to be one of the few elements of learning which can be adapted and adopted by learners at any stage of learning. Quite often, learners in less advanced societies are unaware that they are actually using certain strategies when learning a second language. Research has suggested that if they are able to orchestrate these strategies, they can improve their proficiency and become more successful language learners. This study has assessed the language learning strategies used by a group of undergraduate students at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, with the intention of finding out if there are any correlations with proficiency in their academic writing. The research investigated the use of fifty common second language learning strategies by 105 Fiji students across the three broad areas represented by the three faculties of the University of the South Pacific – Science, Technology and Environment; Business and Economics; and Arts, Law and Education. The research subjects were full time students based at the Laucala campus in Suva, Fiji. The study analyses second language learning strategy use and also examines the relationships with gender, ethnicity and academic language proficiency. Data for language learning strategy use were collected through a standard questionnaire, Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). In-depth interviews were also conducted to further explore the students’ language learning strategies in early childhood. An error analysis of students’ written texts was undertaken to determine proficiency in academic language. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, Version 19 was used for quantitative data analysis. Descriptive statistics, including means, standard deviations, and frequencies were calculated to represent demographic information and to summarize overall strategy use. Pearson’s r correlations and independent samples t-tests were computed to determine the ii correlations between strategy use and proficiency in academic language. An error analysis of participants’ written tasks was utilized to measure proficiency. The results of this study show that: (1) Fiji students at the University of the South Pacific use language learning strategies with a medium frequency. (2) Metacognitive strategies were used most frequently followed by cognitive while affective and memory strategies were used least frequently. (3) There was no significant correlation between strategy use and gender and ethnicity. (4) The most common errors made by Fiji students in their written texts are in mechanics of writing, word choice, relevancy of information, cohesion and coherence, subject-verb agreement, use of singular and plural nouns and use of prepositions. There was no significant difference in the number and type of errors made in students’ written texts both before and after writing strategies were taught. (5) In the final analysis of the data using Pearson’s correlation coefficient, there was no significant correlation between strategy use and academic language proficiency. This study concludes that proficiency in academic writing of Fiji students does not have correlations with their language learning strategies. Both successful and unsuccessful English language learners used the same strategies with almost the same frequency. This study recommends further research to determine what other factors influence proficiency in the academic writing of Fiji students. It also recommends further research on correlations between strategy use and language proficiency after strategy training has been taught by educators and teachers in the classrooms.
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