On the Use of Diary Study to Investigate Avoidance Strategy in Spoken English Courses

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Yazd University, Iran

Abstract

In the present study, an attempt is made to investigate the frequency and motives of using avoidance strategies by a group of Iranian intermediate language learners through their own journal writing. The effect of gender on the use of avoidance strategies is to be investigated as well. Thirty nine female and twenty three male learners enrolled in an English language spoken course in a private English institute served as the subjects. They were to write freely about their reactions, questions, and their feelings on their endeavor to speak English at the end of each session. One questionnaire was also included to survey the learners overall learning preferences and motivation. Examination and the analysis of the learners’ diaries revealed that using avoidance strategies was due, in turn, to the lack of knowledge, effect of fellow students, stress, lack of confidence, the effect of the teacher, score, and fatigue. Analysis also revealed that females used strategies more frequently than male supporting a number of research done previously on the same area. 

Keywords


Borg, S. (2006). “The distinctive characteristics of foreign language teachers”, Language Teaching Research, 10, pp. 3-31.
Boyle, J. (1987). “Sex differences in listening vocabulary”, Language Learning, 37, pp. 273-284.
Carson, J. G. and Longhini, A. (2002). “Focusing on learning styles and strategies: A diary study in an immersion setting”, Language Learning, 52(2), pp. 401-438.
Chamot, A. U. (2005). “Language learning strategy instruction: Current issues and research”, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 25, pp. 112-130.
Cowie, N. (2004). “What do Japanese university ESL students feel about their learning experiences?”, IATEFL Research News, 15,pp. 27-32.
Dewaele, J. M. (2005). “Investigating the psychological and emotional dimensions in instructed language learning”, The Modern Language Journal, 89,pp. 367-380. 
Dörnyei, Z. (2003). “Attitudes, orientations and motivation in language learning: Advances in theory, research and application”, Language Learning, 53, pp. 3-32.
Dornyei, Z. and Skehan, P. (2003). “Individual differences in second language learning”, in C. J. Doughty and M. H. Long (eds.), The Handbook of SecondLanguage Acqusition, UK: Blackwell Publishing LTD, pp. 589-630.
Ehrman, M. and Oxford, R. (1989). “Effects of gender differences, career choice, and psychology type on adult language learning strategies”, The ModernLanguage Journal, 72(3), pp. 1-13.
Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gardner, A. C. (1985). Social Psychology and Language Learning: The Role of Attitudes and Motivation, London: Edward Arnold.
Gob, C., and Foong, K. P. (1997). “Chinese ESL students’ learning strategies: A look at frequency, proficiency, and gender”, Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2,pp. 39-53.
Green, J. M., and Oxford, R. (1995). “A closer look at learning strategies, L2 proficiency and gender”, TESOL Quarterly, 29, pp. 36-72.
Harris, M. (1997). “Self-assessment of language learning in formal settings”, ELTJournal, 51, pp. 12-20.
Hyland, K. (1993). “Culture and learning: A study of learning style preferences of Japanese students”, RELC Journal, 24 (2), pp. 69-87.
Kristmanson, P. (2000). Affect in the second language classrooms: how to create an emotional climate, Reflexions, 19, Retrieved October 7, 2007 from http://www.caslt.org/research/affect.htm
Lafford, B. A. (2004). “The effect of the context of learning on the use of communication strategies by learners of Spanish as a second language”, SSLA, 26, pp. 201-225.
Marefat, F. (2002). “The impact of diary analysis on teaching/learning writing”, RELC Journal, 33,pp. 101-121.
O’ Malley, J., Chamot, A., Stewner-Manzanares, G., Kupper, L. and Russo, R. (1985). “Learning strategies used by beginning and intermediate ESL students”, Language Learning, 35 (1), pp. 21-46.
Nyikos, M. (1990). “Sex related differences in adult language learning: Socialization and memory factors”, Modern Language Journal, 3, pp.273-287.
Nunan, D. (1989). “Hidden agenda: the role of the learner in programme implementation”, in R. K. Johnson (ed.), The Second Language Curriculum, Cambridge: CUP, pp. 176-186.
Oxford, R. L., and Burry-Stock, J. A. (1995). “Assessing the use of language learning strategies worldwide with the ESL/EFL version of the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL)”,System, 23(1), pp. 1-23.
Oxford, R. L., and Nyikos, M. (1989). “Variables affecting choice of language learning strategies by university students”, The Modern Language Journal, 73(3), pp. 291-300.
Pawlak, M. (2005). “Investigating the effectiveness of training students in the use of communicative strategies: Results of a study”, IATEFL Research News,    pp. 46-50.
Riazi, A. M. and Khodadadi, F. (2007). “The effects of EFL students’ level of proficiency and gender on their use of speaking strategies”, TELL, 1,               pp. 99-116.
Rossiter, M. J. (2003). “The effects of affective strategy training in the ESL classroom”, TESL-EJ, 7, pp. 1-20.
Spolsky, B. (1989). Conditions for Second Language Learning, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tannen, D. (1996). “Researching gender related patterns in classroom discourse”, TESOL Quarterly, 30, pp. 341-344.
Tarone, E. (1997). “Communication strategies, foreigner talk, and repair in interlanguage”, Language Learning, 30, pp. 417-431.
Thanasoulas, D. (2002). “Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom”, The Internet TESL Journal, 8 (6), retrieved October 7, 2007 from http://www.englishclub.com/tefl-articles/motivation-motivating-efl.htm
Yule, G. and Tarone, E. (1997). “Investigating communication strategies in L2 reference: pros and cons”, in G. Kasper and E. Kellerman (eds.), Communication Strategies: Psycholinguistics and Sociolinguistics Perspective, London: Longman, pp. 136-146.