Language learning strategy use and language achievement for American college learners of Chinese as a foreign language

Date

2009

Authors

Sung, Ko-Yin

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Abstract

This study investigated language learning strategies used by American college learners of Chinese as a foreign language. In addition, the study focused on the learners' strategy use in relation to one individual learner factor, three social factors, and language achievement. The individual factor investigated was the number of other foreign languages learners studied prior to learning Chinese. The three social factors analyzed in the study included gender, home language/culture (Chinese heritage vs. non-Chinese heritage language learners), and teaching approaches received in the Chinese classrooms. This study employed a mixed-method design. Data collection included a background survey, Oxford's Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) survey, a language achievement evaluation survey, classroom observation, focal learners' writing samples, and focus group interviews. The results of the study show that the strategy category which was used most frequently by the participants is compensation followed by social, cognitive, metacognitive, and affective strategies, while the strategy category of memory was used by the fewest learners. In terms of factors that affect strategy use, the MANOVA test shows no significant effects in terms of gender. Instead, the main effects are noted for the home language/culture factor and number of other foreign languages studied. Moreover, the qualitative analysis illustrates the influences of multiple factors such as teaching approaches received, learners' home background, and learner personality on their strategy use. In regard to the relationship between strategy use and L2 achievement, no significant relationship was found in the results of the multiple regression tests; however, the qualitative findings suggest that the learners, who used effective writing strategies performed better in the language achievement assignment given to them.

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Keywords

Chinese, Heritage Language Learners, Language Achievement, Language Learning Strategies

Citation

Department

Bicultural-Bilingual Studies