The role of strategies when learning a language other than english

2017-03-02T23:11:08Z (GMT) by Church, Wendy Jane
This study explores the role that Language Learning Strategies play when learning a language other than English (LOTE) in secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. It examines the concept of Language Learning Strategies and investigates how these strategies are perceived and used by a small group of secondary school LOTE teachers. In recent years both state and federal governments have shown a strong commitment to the promotion of languages programs in both primary and secondary government schools across the state. Despite this support, the study of Languages other than English (LOTE) has not been a popular subject choice for students in the post-compulsory years in Victorian government secondary schools. LOTE is often a subject that is under-valued and unsupported by parents and students alike. In an increasingly multilingual world, the ability to speak another language has many benefits, not just for individual students but also for the wider community. This study is presented as a case study of six secondary school LOTE teachers. The study explored how strategies are taught by a small group of teachers and it examined the teachers’ perceptions of Language Learning Strategies. The study revealed that the ability to correctly use strategies can help students to become more autonomous, but it also demonstrated that learning a second language is a complex process and influenced by a range of inter-connected factors. Students must firstly be motivated to want to use strategies; they need to understand the benefits of strategy use before they will devote time to learning these skills. The study showed that students feel more motivated if they are engaged in the subject; the use of popular culture and technology can help to make learning more relevant and meaningful. Finally, the study highlighted the crucial role that the LOTE teacher plays in engaging and motivating students. Effective LOTE teachers possess empathy, humour and have a strong rapport with their students. While strategy use is important, it is largely ineffective without a supportive and caring teacher. The findings of this study might provide LOTE teachers and trainee teachers with an insight into how to promote autonomous learning in their classrooms; it might also provide them with a deeper understanding into how to engage and motivate secondary school LOTE students.