Established choice of a definition of foreign language learning strategies

Mendive. Journal on Education,april-june 2021; 19(2): 627-640

Translated from the original in Spanish

Established choice of a definition of foreign language learning strategies

 

Elección fundamentada de una definición de estrategias de aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras

 

Escolha Informada de uma Definição de Estratégias de Aprendizagem de Línguas Estrangeiras

 

Xu Kong1 http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9122-8171
Vilma María Pérez Viñas2 http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3041-096X
José Juan Puentes Hernández2 http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5658-1754
Rosa Adela Leyva Mariño1 http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4604-6533

1University of Linyi. China rosaadela2016@yahoo.com
2University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca". Cuba. vilma.perez@upr.edu.cu jose.hernandez@upr.edu.cu

 

Received: April 21st, 2021.
Accepted: May 20th, 2021.

 


ABSTRACT

Among The most remarkable Disagreements in the area of foreign and second language learning strategies are the definition of the term and the Characteristics that typify it. However, research on learning strategies, like all serious research, requires a solid definition of its constructs based consistently. This need can be seen in the development of studies shared among researchers from the Department of Spanish of the Linyi University, from China, and the Center of Studies of Sciences of Education (CECEPRI) of the University of Pinar del Río "Hnos Saíz Montes de Oca ", Cuba. In this sense, this article aims to support the informed choice of a definition of language learning strategies through the theoretical discussion of its components. Documentary analysis, content analysis, historical-logical method, analysis-synthesis, deduction-induction and comparative education were used to carry out the study. The most influential definitions were found to be concentrated around two concepts: conscious thoughts and actions and conscious activities. The results obtained allowed the researchers to assume the definition by Oxford & Gkonou (2018), to carry out the theoretical discussion of its components, as well as to identify future lines of research focused on the self-regulated and self-directed nature of language learning strategies, the use of learning strategies to learn the culture of the target language, and the influence of the cultural context on students ´ behavior and strategic choice.

Key words: theoretical bases; definitions; language learning strategies.


RESUMEN

Entre los desacuerdos más notables existentes en el área de las estrategias de aprendizaje de lenguas extrajeras y segundas lenguas están la definición del término y las características que lo tipifican. Sin embargo, las investigaciones sobre estrategias de aprendizaje, como toda investigación seria, requieren de una sólida definición de sus constructos, fundamentada coherentemente; necesidad que se aprecia en el desarrollo de los estudios compartidos entre investigadores del Departamento de Español de la Universidad de Linyi de China y del Centro de Estudios de Ciencias de la Educación (CECEPRI) de la Universidad de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca", de Cuba. En tal sentido, este artículo se propone fundamentar la elección informada de una definición de estrategias de aprendizaje de lenguas mediante la discusión teórica de sus componentes. Para la realización del estudio se emplearon: el análisis documental, el análisis de contenido, el método histórico-lógico, análisis-síntesis, inducción-deducción y educación comparada. Se encontró que las definiciones más influyentes se concentran en torno a dos conceptos: pensamientos y acciones conscientes y actividades conscientes. Los resultados obtenidos permitieron a los investigadores asumir la definición de Oxford y Gkonou (2018), realizar la discusión teórica de los componentes, así como identificar futuras líneas de investigación centradas en el carácter autorregulado y autodirigido de las estrategias de aprendizaje de lenguas, el empleo de estrategias de aprendizaje para aprender la cultura de la lengua que se estudia y la influencia del contexto cultural en la conducta y selección estratégica de los estudiantes.

Palabras clave: bases teóricas; definiciones; estrategias de aprendizaje de lenguas.


RESUMO

Entre as divergências mais notáveis na área das estratégias de aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras e de segunda língua estão a definição do termo e as características que o tipificam. Contudo, a investigação sobre estratégias de aprendizagem, como toda a investigação séria, requer uma definição sólida das suas construções, coerentemente baseada, uma necessidade que pode ser vista no desenvolvimento de estudos partilhados entre investigadores do Departamento Espanhol da Universidade de Linyi na China e do Centro de Estudos de Ciências da Educação (CECEPRI) da Universidade de Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca", em Cuba. Neste sentido, este artigo visa apoiar a escolha informada de uma definição de estratégias de aprendizagem de línguas através de uma discussão teórica dos seus componentes. Análise documental, análise de conteúdo, método histórico-lógico, análise-síntese, indução-dedução e educação comparativa foram utilizados para realizar o estudo. Verificou-se que as definições mais influentes estão concentradas em torno de dois conceitos: pensamentos e ações conscientes e atividades conscientes. Os resultados obtidos permitiram aos investigadores assumir a definição de Oxford e Gkonou (2018), realizar a discussão teórica dos componentes, bem como identificar futuras linhas de investigação centradas na natureza autorregulada e autodirigida das estratégias de aprendizagem de línguas, na utilização de estratégias de aprendizagem para aprender a cultura da língua em estudo, e na influência do contexto cultural no comportamento dos aprendentes e na seleção estratégica.

Palavras-chave: bases teóricas; definições; estratégias de aprendizagem de línguas.

 

INTRODUCTION

The XXI century is witness to a renewed interest in strategies of learning of languages, particularly in the field of foreign languages and second languages (EAL) with important works such as Griffiths (2013), Griffiths & Cansiz (2015), Griffiths  (2016), Oxford (2017), Oxford & Gkonou (2018) and Amerstorfer (2020), among others.

In the Chinese context, the universities have not been oblivious to the interest in language learning strategies to optimize the teaching - learning processes associated with the training of professionals. The most recent literature reports an increasingly growing number of studies on this subject; including those of Feng and Iriarte (2018) on learning Strategies in the university Chinese speakers learning Spanish at the University and Tao & Gao (2017), about the relationship dependency / autonomy of Chinese college students.

While there has been no lack of studies at the international level, even those that mark milestones (see Oxford, 2017), there has been no lack of controversy either. Among the most notable disagreements are the   definition of strategies of language learning and the prototypical characteristics of the EAL, which have caused critical such as Dörnyei & Skehan (2003) and Dörnyei & Ryan (2015), to whom we must thank the Excellent book of Rebeca Oxford (2017) result of a thorough study from which we learn, not only about the EAL, but about how to argue from scientific ethics.

However, research on learning strategies, like all serious, require a solid definition of its constructs based cohesively, need to be seen in the development of the studies shared between researchers from the Department of Spanish at the University of Linyi China and the Center for the Study of Educational Sciences (CECEPRI) of the University of Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca", Cuba.

In this regard, this article proposes to establish the informed choice of a definition of language learning strategies by the theoretical discussion of its components.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The following methods were used to carry out the study:

-  Documentary Analysis: to the study and selection of the literature on language learning strategies, taking into account the most significant references in this area.         

As a criterion selection there were considered:

a) The belonging of the definitions to the area of foreign languages or second languages.      

b) The high degree of recognition of the authors by the scientific community in this area.      

- Analysis content: to establish the internal structure of the information from the inference, that is to say, the deduction data in this research are not quantifiable, which allowed the examination of some of the definitions of the most influential languages learning strategies in the last 10 years and the theoretical bases that support them.         

- Historical-logical method: for the ordering and contextualization of the analyzed definitions.         

- As complementary methods, the following were used: analysis-synthesis, for the decomposition and integration of the components, particularly of the assumed definition; the deduction-induction, for the deepening in the study of the definitions of language learning strategies, from the particularities to the general contexts and vice versa; and the compared education, to compare (establish similarities) and contrast (differentiate) both from the theoretical and contextual point of view.         

 

RESULTS

About the terminological diversity and the most influential definitions

In this section it was found that:

- Dörnyei & Skehan (2003, p 610) proposed to   substitute the term EAL by auto regulation.         

The most common terms to refer to EALs are:

- Activities (Griffiths, 2013, 2014).         

- Thoughts and actions (Oxford, 2017; Oxford & Pawlak, 2018; Oxford & Gkonou, 2018).         

- Actions (Griffiths & Canciz, 2015).         

Definitions appear in two formats:

Compacted

- Griffiths (2013, p. 36):"Activities consciously selected by learners in order to regulate their own language learning".         

- Griffiths & Canciz (2015, 476 p.): "Selected Actions (either deliberately or automatically) with the purpose of learning or regular language learning".         

- Oxford and Pawlak (2018. P 187):"The language learning strategies are conscious thoughts and, teachable, intentional actions and self-regulated used for language learning".         

Expanded or exhaustive

- Griffiths (2014, p p 36. -37): "Activity selected by learners in order to learn the language". Definition, the result of a review of the literature on the subject, which is accompanied by a theoretical discussion:         

a) Strategies are active, expressed in actions (verbs), which distinguishes them from styles, more general and expressed in adjectives;

b) Strategies are selected by learners, it is not possible to force a student to use strategies; selection that operates on a continuum between deliberates and automatic, more convenient than the conscious / unconscious dichotomy, which continues to be problematic;

c) The strategies are intentional and directed to an objective, the occasional actions, without a specific purpose, are not strategic. It is precisely the objective that helps to distinguish EAL from other terms with which they are frequently confused, for example: skills;

d) EALs are for learning the language, which makes it possible to differentiate them from other strategies such as communicative ones.

- Oxford (2017) performed a content analysis of numerous semantically related definitions, terms and phrases; compiled, analyzed, and coded 33 definitions, from which it derived a list of 19 categories in eight topics, based on frequency of occurrence and relevance. Hence, it states that:         

Language learning strategies (second/foreign) are complex, dynamic thoughts and actions, selected and used by learners with some degree of awareness in specific contexts, to regulate multiple aspects of themselves (such as cognitive, emotional, social) for the purpose of a) completing language learning tasks; b) improve the performance or use of the language; and/or c) improve long-term competition. The strategies are mentally guided, but can have observable physical manifestations. Learners often use flexibly and creatively strategies; they combine them in various ways, such as groups or chains of strategies; and orchestrate them to meet learning needs. The strategies are teachable. Students in their contexts decide which strategies to use. The suitability of the strategies depends on multiple personal and contextual factors (p. 48).

The definition of EAL that is assumed

Oxford and Gkonou (2018, p. 407):

The language learning strategies:

a) They are conscious thoughts and actions, teachable, intentional, self-selected and self - regulated for learning the language and culture;      

b) They have several intertwined purposes: improve performance, the development of immediate tasks, specific skills and improving autonomy and competition in the long term;      

c) They sustain cognitive, emotional (affective), social, motivational and meta strategic regulation (: plan, organize, monitor and evaluate) of learning (Oxford, 2017); Y      

d) They are flexibly and creatively combined into groups of strategies (strategies used simultaneously) and strategy chains (strategies used in sequences) to meet learning needs and adjust to context and task.      

On the theoretical bases of research on language learning strategies

Great eclecticism that Griffiths & Inceçay (2016) summarize from the following theories were found:

- Cognitive theories. The EAL are basically cognitive, as they rely on students to perform mental processes in order to learn.         

- The theory of complexity. The strategies can be used to bring order to a complex system and, sometimes unpredictable, as the language can be         

- The theory of schemes. It refers to existing knowledge structures that help students select strategies to achieve specific learning objectives.         

- Sociocultural theories. In response to the character of communicative and learning strategies , which depend on the interaction with others and in mediation with others more knowledgeable for their effectiveness ; In this way , the use of tools, in this case, strategies, mediate between the subject (the learner) and the objective (learning the language).         

 

DISCUSSION

If there has been an agreement on EALs, it is precisely the lack of consensus around basic issues (Dörnyei & Skehan, 2003; Griffiths, 2013; Oxford, 2017, among others). Griffiths & Inceçay (2016, p. 25) describe it like this:

The term strategy has been controversial since it was first introduced in the area of language learning mid of 70s (...) Even today, although much work has been done, it has not reached consensus on basic topics such as the definition, the classification, the theoretical pillar , the relationship between strategies and successful learning, the learning context, learning objectives, strategies and the relationship between variables of the learner, or the best way to conduct research on strategies.

The theoretical discussion of the results presented shows the prevalence of such issues.

About the most influential EAL definitions

Learning strategies and self-regulation

Even when close relationship between the terms learning strategies and self-regulation is appreciated, the recommendation of Dörnyei & Skehan (2003, p. 610) to abandon the term strategy and instead talk about self - regulation,  more versatile according to them, it is not shared. In reality, it was not well received and according to Griffiths & Cansiz (2015), the idea of replacing the term learning strategies with self-regulation was never a viable option (p. 474), since strategies and self-regulation are mutually interdependent. Oxford (2017) also demonstrates the folly of Dornyei & Skehan's position.

In 2015, Dörnyei & Ryan recognize that neither self nor learning strategies have to become victims of a dispute in the cross several arguments (fire Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015, p. 169).

Prevailing terms

In terms of terminology, in the last decade, in general, the results demonstrate the concentration of the most influential definitions of EAL around two concepts: conscious thoughts and actions and conscious activities, as opposed to the predominant terminological diversity until this moment. However, the simplicity is only apparent, since the interpretation depends on the theories that support such terms.

For Griffiths (2013, 2014) strategies are activities. However, the use of this term is given by the intention of emphasizing the active nature of the strategies. Griffiths (2014) explains that the active dimension (typically expressed in verbs) helps to distinguish the strategies of styles, a term which are often confused (typically adjectivally expressed).

Shortly after, Griffiths & Canciz (2015) clarify that:

The use of the term activity (…), however, invites confusion with the way in which the term is used in Leontiev's theory of activity, where it has a specific meaning that includes a subject, an object, actions, conditions and operations. For this reason, it may be better to use the term actions when defining strategies, as it is a term that can be used to describe what a person is doing, both physically and mentally (p.475).

The attempt of Griffiths & Canciz (2015) to explain the use of the term actions in the definition offering, fails, however, the desired purpose. On the one hand, Leontiev's theory of activity establishes a complex relationship between activity - actions - operations, so  that the substitution of one term for another does not solve a possible confusion. Moreover, it is broad recognition of activity theory as theoretical support ALD (see Oxford, 2017), which Griffiths & Inceçay (2016) recorded at analyzing the theoretical basis of ALD and refer to the Theory of the Activity has to do with the use of tools (in this case, strategies) which mediate between the subject (the learner) and the objective (in this case, language learning).

This article shares the vision of ALS as conscious thoughts and actions (Oxford, 2017; Oxford & Pawlak, 2018; Oxford & Gkonou, 2018), being consistent with the choices made, which will be deepened later.

Typology of definitions

In our opinion, the complexity of the subject and the controversy that has characterized it makes it unlikely to accept in a generalized way a definition of EAL compacted in a sentence. The authors who have done so have felt the need to expand each of the terms and characteristics (see Griffiths, 2008; 2013, taken up and explained in Griffiths & Inceçay, 2016), a position that coincides with Amerstorfer (2020, p. 23). Hence expanded definitions resulting deep content analysis (Oxford, 2017; Oxford & Gkonou, 2018) are logically greater degree to approval.

About definition it is assumed by EAL

It is an adaptation of Oxford (2017) that marks an important milestone in the design and assessment of strategies language learning , to equal the book in which it appears and on which Thomas & Rose (2018) claim that it is a new, comprehensive and highly inclusive definition, an opinion that is shared.  However, The definition assumed by Oxford and Gkonou (2018) contains the essential elements of the previous (Oxford, 2017) and adds another fundamental to the context of learning foreign languages, as is the culture of the language being learns and management of cultural contexts, as well as improvements in writing.

In the 2017 definition, which it takes up in the one analyzed, Oxford contributes to unraveling central issues associated with the use of strategies, insofar as "(…) explicitly emphasizes dynamism, flexibility, complexity and emphasizes the importance of the context involved in the selection and strategic application" (Amerstorfer, 2020, p.23).

An analysis of the differences between the two definitions allows us to consider that:

- Although it is not alluded, explicitly :         

a) To the dynamic nature and the orchestration of the EAL, it is affirmed that they are used in a flexible and creative way and combined in groups or chains of strategies adjusted to the context and the task;      

b) That they are  mentally guided, it arises that may have observable physical manifestations and is defined as thoughts and actions, implying that are mental and actions can have physical manifestations  (observable).      

- It is recognized the use of EAL learning the culture of the language, you learn and the management of cultural contexts, students, and the target language, an important contribution that revalues and redefines the importance of culture and cultural contexts in learning foreign languages.         

The theoretical discussion of the main components of the definition by Oxford & Gkonou (2018) justifies the choice made by the authors of this article:

Strategies are thoughts and actions. There are implicit and explicit consensus about the active strategies (Griffiths, 2013, p 36;. 2014; Griffiths and Canciz, 2015, p.476) and it is recognized that some strategies are unobservable and other gross, but always guided by mental action. In this regard, Oxford (2017) specifies that the strategies are stored in the mental structures through which the student organizes the information (schemata). And he categorically states, "(…) strategies always operate mentally or are mentally guided, but sometimes, additionally, they have visible manifestations" (Oxford, 2017, p. 25).         

- They have a conscious and intentional character. Even when it is one of the most controversial issues, it is understood as the necessary condition to consider a behavior as strategic. Amerstorfer (2020) states that the conscious component by definition distinguishes strategic from non-strategic processes. In this regard, Oxford (2017) states that the usual strategic selection "no longer reflects the attention, consciousness, intention or cognitive effort of the student" (p. 40) and adds "(…) the strategies, by definition, reflect a purpose and (…) The purpose implies some conscience (…)" (p. 39); something that Griffiths (2014) agrees with when he says that random actions, without a particular purpose, are not strategic.         

- The EALs are selected and self-regulated by the students. On this point there is a relative consensus. Griffiths & Canciz (2015) state that: "Clearly, the actions that are dictated by others (eg the teacher) are not strategic and it is unlikely that they will be used beyond the immediate task" (p. 475), position This contradicts other models that seek to explain and put self-regulation versus regulation by others in context, which from the perspective of the authors of this article is considered more appropriate to the diversity of situations in which students use learning strategies.         

As Thomas and Rose (2018) point out, not all students are autonomous and self-regulated, some are regulated by others, inactive and / or dependent on others to select, teach, form a scaffolding or monitor the use of strategies; but, despite this, they deploy them and must be seen as strategic learners. Tao and Gao (2017) confirm these considerations when describing large percentage of college Chinese students highly dependent on their teachers, who are independent and competitive nature of college counterintuitive to their autonomy.

The model offered by Thomas & Rose (2018) harmonizes theories and practices. As they claim, see the EAL in both cases , regulated by other and self-regulated, not only allows comprises  better the relationship between the strategies and the  students as active agents. Another advantage is associated with strategic trainings aimed at moving students along the continuum to become more self-regulated in their strategic behaviors (Thomas & Rose, 2018).

Finally, the opinion regarding the continuum also illustrates   to become a strategic learner is a transformative process in which others play a vital role (Thomas & Rose, 2018) is consistent with the historical - cultural vision of learning, with appropriation processes, the zone of proximal development, regulation- self- regulation and mediation, in their various types.

- EALs are used associated with specific contexts. Griffiths & Inceçay (2016) emphasize the role of context in the use of strategies. Griffiths (2014) raises the need to build contextual questionnaires is culturally appropriate. For Oxford (2017, p.105), the value of a strategy depends on the context; A strategy is said to be "good" if it relates well to the learning style and helps to achieve personally relevant learning objectives in an authentic context.         

- The strategies regulate multiple aspects. In the opinion of Thomas and Rose (2018 ), Oxford (2017) responds to the claim of Dörnyei and Ryan (2015) regarding the link between language learning strategies and self-regulation, the latter is seen as "a dynamic construct that connects strategic capacity, purpose and strategic behavior with the self-regulated learner "(p. 169). At this point, it is also convenient to take into account the Regulated Continuum of Language Learning Strategies (Thomas & Rose 2018) that makes the regulatory nature of EAL more flexible, very suitable for contexts such as Chinese, in which this research is carried out.  Thomas & Rose say that (2018) many students are externally regulated even at the end of their studies and others remain perpetually dependent, but employ complex learning strategies, even if they are not self - directed.         

- The EAL are flexible, and creatively combined in groups or chains. For a strategy to be effective in promoting learning or improving performance it must be combined with others, either simultaneously or in a sequence; the groups of strategies depend on the nature of the task. Cohen (2014) refers to groups strategies include and are evaluated by a metacognitive strategy or set of metacognitive strategies that monitor and evaluated them. In this definition, as already stated Oxford & Gkonou (2018) does not mention as a feature orchestrating strategies, but it rises that they are combined flexibly and creatively in groups or chains to meet learning needs. Select and use learning strategies, so that work well in a combination with others, to obtain positive results in learning is what it is called orchestration of strategies (Griffiths, 2014). It is a complex operation, difficult to teach as it is highly individual and depends on multiple factors. Griffiths (2014) also maintains that it is contextual, the same student may not use the same strategies in a different environment, which has implications for teaching, "… it is not possible to provide a pre-established formula for an effective orchestration. Each student needs to experience for themselves the same to determine which produce the best results dad to the unique blend of individual, Situational variables and achieve objectives to reach  "(Griffiths, 2013, pp. 166-167).         

- The strategies are teachable. Although with some controversy due to the fact that the results of strategic teaching have been partially successful, many authors promote the teaching of language learning strategies. Griffiths (2014) argues that the teacher's role includes imparting knowledge and facilitating learning, raising awareness about strategic options, as well as fostering opportunities for internships, so that students can be helped in the goal of managing their own learning and transfer its knowledge to other situations by teaching both explicit and implicit (Griffiths, 2013). For its part, Chamot (2018) recommends differentiating strategic teaching considering cultural diversity and educational origin, factors related to personality, motivation, disposition, the level of competence in the language being learned and the strategic level. In this regard, Oxford & Gkonou (2018) state that "The best way of teaching strategies includes the integration of strategic teaching with authentic culture and language learning tasks" (p. 416).         

- Strategies are used to learn language and culture. This component marks an important difference from all previous definitions and the approaches that teaching and learning strategy has addressed; while it is not only about "(…) improving performance in the development of immediate tasks, specific skills and the improvement of long-term autonomy and competence" (Oxford & Gkonou, 2018, p. 407). The interesting metaphors that these authors propose show the inseparable relationship between these concepts: "a) culture, language and strategies combined like the nucleus of a cell; b) learning strategies as the bridge for cultural and linguistic understanding (…)" (Oxford & Gkonou, 2018, p. 4 21).         

This definition contains the essential elements, the prototypical characteristics, the scope, purpose and usage of the EAL, as well as offering routes and methods for the investigation of learning and strategic teaching in specific cultural contexts, such as the strategic learning of Spanish by students of ULY, from China, in which this research is developed.

On the theoretical bases of the EAL

Definitions of EAL reflect various theories from which they have been seen over the years. By way of example, Griffiths states that the definition he offered in 2013 is one of the simplest and touches the heart of the matter. However, it can be as controversial as others. This is for experts in this area manifest the diverse fields from which they come and analyze the EAL, so that explains some differences in approaches and perspectives.

It is worth highlighting the influence of the historical- cultural approach of LS Vigotsky and his collaborators, also called the socio- constructivist, which is clearly explicitly assumed. Oxford (2017) highlights the usefulness of this approach to explain the role of learning strategies. In relation to the theory of activity, strategies are seen as actions to advance the goal of learning and self - regulation; it is a result of mediation in a specific sociocultural context. "As for Vigotsky the sociocultural context includes cultural and linguistic materials and means to provide support for mediation" (Oxford, 2017, p. 66). In the same way, it analyzes the appropriation processes, the zone of proximal development and the knowledge distributed through social and cultural practices and tools.

For its part, Griffiths & Inceçay (2016) states n that sociocultural theory also contributes to the theory of strategies and the use of these depends on the interaction and mediation with others more knowledgeable, for their effectiveness.

Other point that is interesting to discuss here is the theory of the   Complex Dynamic Systems (TSDC), which in the opinion of Amerstorfer (2020) takes a comprehensive approach to individual aspects  of learners of foreign languages (eg: emotions, beliefs ); learning processes (eg: the use of strategies, taking turns) learning contexts (eg: teaching materials, educational policies) . To which he adds: "A holistic perspective is valid and vital because foreign language classrooms rarely display simple incidents of cause and effect with predictable results; on the contrary, they exhibit complex situations, interrelated and constantly changeable"(Amerstorfer, 2020, p. 25).

Thus, complexity theory allows researchers to analyze a multitude of interconnected influences in contextualized strategic learning situations; Beyond exploring isolated characteristics of a phenomenon, it combines dynamic factors that affect each other (Amerstorfer, 2020, p. 38). As it is presented as an interesting theory to be combined with the historical - Cultural approach in the research about EAL in the Chinese context.

At conclusion, it can be argued that the investigations about   language learning  strategies and its influence on the effectiveness of learning and performance of the most successful students has been plagued by disagreements and criticisms concerning the definition and description of EAL (Dörnyei & Skehan, 2003; Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015), among other aspects .

However, recently, complex investigations have generated exhaustive definitions and descriptions (Griffiths & Inceçay, 2016; Oxford, 2017; Oxford & Gkonou, 2018) that clarify the panorama around this issue. In this article, the authors adhere to the definition of Oxford & Gkonou (2018), as it has been explained.

In the theoretical foundation of the EAL, a predominance of cognitive theories, the historical-cultural approach, the theory of complexity and the theory of schemes can be seen.

It corresponds to researchers to navigate electively and intelligently in this sea of theories to support the results they achieve on a topic, whose controversy is not closed and is increasingly interesting.

For now, for research developed jointly by the Department of Spanish at the University of Linyi of China and the Center for the Study of Educational Sciences (CECEPRI) at the University of Pinar de Rio "Hermanos Saiz Montes de Oca", it  is suggests considering as future themes:

- The relationship between teaching, strategy and learning outcomes.         

- The self-regulated and self-conducted character of the   language learning strategies.         

- The use of learning strategies to learn the culture of the language being studied and manage learning in specific cultural contexts.         

- The influence of the cultural context on the behavior and strategic selection of students.         

 

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Conflict of interests:

The authors declare not to have any interest conflicts.

 

Authors' contribution:

Xu Kong: conception of the idea (50%), general advice on the topic addressed (10%), coordinator of authorship, literature search and review (60%), translation of terms or information obtained (100%), preparation of instruments (40%), application of instruments (30%), compilation of information resulting from the applied instruments (30%), preparation of database (30%), drafting of the original (first version) (40%), review and final version of the article (30%), correction of the article (30%), revision of the applied bibliographic norm (40%).

Vilma María Pérez Viñas: conception of the idea (20%), general advice on the topic addressed (60%), coordinator of authorship, literature search and review (20%), preparation of instruments (20%), application of instruments (30%), compilation of information resulting from the applied instruments (30%), preparation of database (30%), drafting of the original (first version) (20%), review and final version of the article (70%), correction of the article (30%), revision of the applied bibliographic norm (30%).

José Juan Puentes Hernández: conception of the idea (15%), general advice on the topic addressed (20%), coordinator of authorship, literature search and review (10%), preparation of instruments (20%), application of instruments (20%), compilation of information resulting from the applied instruments (20%), preparation of database (20%), drafting of the original (first version) (20%), review and final version of the article (10%), correction of the article (20%), revision of the applied bibliographic norm (15%).

Rosa Adela Leyva Mariño: conception of the idea (15%), general advice on the topic addressed (10%), coordinator of authorship, literature search and review (10%), preparation of instruments (20%), application of instruments (20%), compilation of information resulting from the applied instruments (20%), preparation of database (20%), drafting of the original (first version) (20%), review and final version of the article (10%), correction of the article (20%), revision of the applied bibliographic norm (15%).

 


This work is under a licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional
Copyright (c) Xu Kong, Vilma María Pérez Viñas
, José Juan Puentes Hernández, Rosa Adela Leyva Mariño