Abstract: In a long time, sex had been omitted as a variable in research on language learning strategies. Females appear to use a far wider range of language learning strategies than do males and social strategies seem to be more popular among women than men. Following 4 studies reflect on the greater use of language learning strategies by females. #1-3 are conducted in university settings while #4 was conducted with a government agency.
Politzer, 90 undergraduate students in French, Spanish and German, questionnaire of relationship between learning behaviors or strategies and achievement (3 scales: classroom behaviors+ interaction or social behaviors, the general language learning behavior)
It was affected by the instructional environment(course level, teaching methods…)
Interaction behaviors favoring females
Variance due to sex of learner seems relatively minor, but does exist.
Relate to the fact that females generally display greater social orientation than males.
Interpersonal relationships; more cooperative and less competitive in pairs and triads compare males in dominant and aggressive, larger groups
Web V.S. Hierarchy
Nyikos, 135 first-semester students of German, research of associative memory strategies for learning noun clusters (4 conditions: one control, color, picture, color + picture)
Existence of clear sex-related differences
Men outscored women in color + picture
Women outscored Men in only picture and only color logical manner
Men are good at establish an associative bond between color and picture (visual, spatial) Men: logical manner---analytic, logical thinking V.S. Women: intuitive thinking
Women tend to use color as an overriding source of appeal more than men
Pictures in this study were very simple, influenced the result.
Nikos and Oxford, 1,200 university students in French, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian, self-report survey (the 5 strategies inventory for language learning) + questionnaire of background (motivation, proficiency, previous language experience..)
The most popular strategies were formal rule-related practice strategies while the least popular strategies were functional practice (authentic language use). Students concern more with grade-getting than developing communication skills
More motivated students use a greater range of language learning strategies.
Females showed greater strategy use than males for three of the five factors (general study strategies, formal rule-related practice, conversational/input elicitation strategies). Males show no greater strategy use than females on any factor
Females showed much more use of strategies in conversational elicitation strategies, which are all highly socially interacted.
Greater empathy, politeness and concern for others are displayed in women’s speech. Women tend to remember more conversation details, ask more questions and express greater uncertainty.
Women are easier to reach agreement through negotiation than through expressions of power or aggression. Encourage V.S. Discourage
Women’s demonstrated superiority in verbal ability Why?
Men’s influence is in the public sphere (assertive and direct)