Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching

A Correlation Study between College Students’ English Learning Style and Autonomous Learning Ability

Author WangXinHua
Tutor HuYanLing
School Shandong Normal University
Course Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keywords learning style learner autonomy autonomous learning ability cognitive style field-independence instructional style
CLC H319
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Studies about the learners have been a hot topic for researchers in the field of second language acquisition. For the time being, quite a number of variables in studies about the learners mainly involve the two fields of cognition and emotion, however, there are not many empirical studies about learning style which is an important part of individual differences. Under similar circumstances, both domestic and overseas studies on autonomous foreign language learning are confined to the definitions, elaboration and analysis on its theories and implementing strategies, however, there are not many empirical studies on autonomous foreign language learning. The current study combines the two variables, and aims to explore the correlation between non-English major college students’learning styles and their autonomous learning ability with a view to providing some constructive implications to language teaching and learning in this regard.Different from previous researches most of which examine the correlation between learning style and English learning achievement, this thesis aims to find out whether there is correlation between learning style and learner autonomy, with a view to guiding students to understand their learning style preferences, and to be able to use a fully integrated range of learning styles more effectively and develop autonomous learning ability, at the same time making teachers reflect on their instructional styles, and try to promote the matching of their instructional styles with students’learning styles, thus helping maximize students’learning achievement. The two important questionnaires employed in the study are respectively Index of Learning Styles ( short for ILS)developed by Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman of North Carolina State University, and The English Learner Autonomy Questionnaire for Undergraduate College Students developed by Xu Jinfen. The subjects of the study are 69 second-year students from two classes in Shandong University of Technology.Based on the analysis of the data obtained in this investigation, the following conclusions are made: 1) The autonomous learning ability of most of the subjects is poor; the subjects have little knowledge of learning styles, and they seldom use them in their study. 2) The numbers of subjects (36/33,32/37) who are preferable for the scales of ACT /REF and SEQ /GLO are almost equal, however, as to the scales of SEN/INT and VIS/VER, most subjects prefer the dimensions of SEN and VIS; 3) Generally speaking, in the two dimensions of SEN/INT and VIS/VER, the correlation between learning style and autonomous leaning ability is not obviously significant, however, in the other two dimensions of ACT /REF and SEQ/GLO, the active and sequential learning styles are positively significant with learner autonomy---the more obvious the active and sequential learning styles of the subjects, the higher their AELC; the AELC of intuitive students are much higher than that of sensing learners and the AELC of active learners are much higher than that of reflective learners.Suggestions for English learning and teaching are given against the problems that appear in this research to help students expand their range of learning styles, improve their autonomous English learning ability, at the same time make teachers increase their instructional style awareness and the matching of their instructional styles with students’learning styles, thus helping students to have better academic achievements.

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