Successful language learners are more strategic than less effective language
learners. By "strategic," we mean that they are better able to figure out the
task requirements and are flexible in their approach to solving any problems
they encounter while working on the task. Unsuccessful language learners, on the
other hand, while not necessarily unaware of strategies, have difficulty in
choosing the best strategy for a specific task, and often have a limited variety
of strategies in their repertoire.
Students who think and work strategically are more motivated to learn (Paris,
1988) and have a higher sense of self-efficacy, or confidence in their own
learning ability (Zimmerman, 1990; Zimmerman & Pons, 1986). That is,
strategic students perceive themselves as more able to succeed academically than
students who do not know how to use strategies effectively. With this positive
attitude toward language learning, students are also able to lower their anxiety
level while working with a foreign language. Instructing students in strategies
that lower anxiety can help all students gain the confidence they need to
perform their best, especially in the classroom (Khaldieh, 2000). Students who
expect to be successful at a learning task generally are successful, and each
successful learning experience increases motivation.
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