University of Leicester
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The English language learning strategies of senior secondary school students in Hong Kong

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:43 authored by Henry. Hepburn
In Hong Kong, the demand for school leavers with effective English skills has been exceeding supply for some time. Attempts to redress the problem by schools have been hampered by the lack of research evidence which would help produce more students with the required/relevant skills, hence recommendations e.g. Education Report No. 4 (1987) that more research should be undertaken into effective English learning strategies.;This study seeks to extend, within a Hong Kong context, the research devoted to factors involved in successful language learning. It investigates the relationship between attitude/motivation, language learning strategies and achievement in English of Form 7 students in nine Hong Kong senior secondary schools (N = 476), selected from Bands 1 /2 and 4/5.;Several instruments were used: a questionnaire; a language competence rating scale; interviews with 13 teachers and 42 students, identified by their teachers as high/low achievers (HA/LA); plus student think-aloud tasks.;The quantitative data were analysed by a variety of multi-variate techniques while the transcribed interview data were analysed for representative statements to illuminate the research questions. The analyses identified the language learning strategies significantly associated with competence and also indicated several problems: lack of exposure to English, the learning demands of an exam culture and the lack of adequate facilities in the classroom.;Clear differences emerged between the HA's and the LA's in attitude, motivation and choice of language learning strategies. The HA's were more active and ready to see problems as challenges whereas the LA's were more passive and gave up quickly when a problem surfaced. The factors that make for a successful learning plus a language learner profile, which may remain specific to Hong Kong, are outlined and indicate the role of attitude, motivational orientation and language learning strategies adopted to cope with the vicissitudes of language learning.


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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

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  • EdD



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