Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Understanding Language Acquisition Based on Research in Language Learning Styles

Petra Langerová, Masaryk University (Czech Republic)


The paper will present a current research project on language learning styles or preferences, as they are called nowadays, focusing on students of a technical university in Brno, the Czech Republic. The project aims at identifying students´ English learning styles in order to innovate and adapt English lessons to match them. The main goal of the project is to understand how students of a technical university acquire language, taking into consideration their primary orientation on technical subjects. The research will use Ehrman and Leaver Questionnaire (2003) which identifies language learning styles based on psychological and personality types and traits. The research consists of two phases. The first stage will use the Ehrman and Leaver questionnaire whose results will also help to identify, apart from the learning styles, students who show a strong preference for some style. These students will be given a second questionnaire where they will be asked how difficult it would be for them to change it. This second stage of the research is aimed to identify how rigid and flexible the students are in their learning preferences, which the author of the research believes to be crucial for understanding learning styles in general. It is obvious that flexible students do not have problems adapting to teaching styles that do not match their learning styles. On the contrary, students with rigid preferences have many more difficulties in language acquisition if the styles do not match. The author´s 14-year-long teaching experience suggests that there is a high percentage of students with rigid preferences among the technical students. The research will help to understand common features technical students share and the results will be reflected in an innovation of language education at the English Department. Thus, the project also hopes to raise students´ motivation in language learning and willingness to cooperate. 

Keywords: language learning styles, rigidity and flexibility.

[1] Ehrman & Leaver Construct (2003)
[2] Ehrman, M.E. (1996): Understanding Second Language Learning Difficulties. California, Sage Publications.
[3] Dörnyei, Z. (2005): The Psychology of the Language Learner: Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition. Mahwah, Erlbaum.

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