Exploring relationships with grade level, gender and language proficiency in the foreign language learning strategy use of children and early adolescents

2015 IJRSLL – Volume 4 Issue 1


Platsidou, Maria*
University of Macedonia, Greece (platsidou@uom.edu.gr)

Sipitanou, Athena
University of Macedonia, Greece (asipi@uom.gr)


Given that most of the existing studies of strategy use in learning EFL concerned adult learners, this study focused on elementary and middle school students. Having tested a significant number of children and early adolescents (N = 1302) from a wide range of school grades (4th to 9th), this study explored the differentiation of learning strategies use and preferences across grade and age (9 to 16 years), gender and perceived proficiency in learning EFL. It has found that, in general, the frequency of use declined as students grow older but their strategy preferences remained the same. Only the use of compensation strategies was reported to increase with proceeding age. Also, no differentiation in frequency of the compensation strategies use was noticed between genders, as was found in the other five strategy categories. Regarding the interaction of age with gender, females consistently outperformed males in the reported strategy use, in all grade levels and categories except for the social. Students’ most preferred category of strategies was the metacognitive and least preferred was the memory. Finally, a significant relationship between strategy use and perceived level of English language proficiency was found, with high-level students using strategies more frequently than intermediate and low-level students.

Keywords: learning strategy preferences; EFL; Greek; SILL; perceived English proficiency


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2014.778

*Corresponding Author