Cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies used by adult learners of Arabic as a foreign language
The purpose of this study was to investigate the cognitive and metacognitive strategies used by learners of Arabic as a foreign language (AFL) guided by three research questions: 1) What cognitive and metacognitive strategies do learners of Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL) use?; 2) Do male and female learners of AFL use similar or different cognitive and metacognitive strategies?~ and 3) What is the relationship between the levels of Arabic proficiency and the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies?
Six classes of students (N=82) learning AFL were selected from an institution in the metropolitan Washington. DC area. The independent variable was the strategy used and the dependent variables were gender and levels of proficiency. To account for the missing advanced female learners. the researcher has dropped the advanced male learners in order to have equal cells for questions 2 and 3.
Oxford's (1989) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) was used as instrument to collect the data. SILL is a questionnaire developed to assess the frequency of various strategies used by learners of foreign languages and is an 80-item. likert-scaled, self-report instrument. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data for question 1. An analysis of variance was conducted for questions 2 and 3. It is hypothesized that learners of Arabic as a foreign language use a variety of cognitive and metacognitive strategies in learning language. It is also hypothesized that there is a difference between male and female learners of AFL in use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Finally, it is hypothesized that there is a relationship between proficiency level of the learners and their use of learning strategies.
Results showed that learners of AFL use cognitive and metacognitive strategies in the medium range (M =3.2, SD= 0.65 and M = 3.3. SD= 0.90 respectively). There were no significant differences between men and women in using either cognitive or metacognitive strategies. although certain strategies were used more often by men. There were no significant differences regarding various levels of proficiency.