Learning strategies vs. learning styles:
* Broadly speaking, learning styles can be defined as general approaches to language learning, while learning strategies are specific ways learners choose to cope with language tasks in particular contexts.
* Learning strategies are the ways in which students learn, remember information and study for tests. They refer to the actions and behaviors students use to learn but learning styles refer to the general approaches that students use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject.
* The strategies a student uses to learn depend greatly on his/her own learning style.
Each student has his/her own style of learning. As a result we have different students with different learning styles inside the classroom as shown below:
1. Visual or spatial learners:
They need to see things to fully understand them. They learn best from visual objects such as diagrams, charts, etc. They prefer to write things down.
2. Auditory or musical learners:
They learn mainly through listening so they learn best through discussions and talking. They benefit most from reading texts aloud and using a tape recorder.
3. Physical or kinesthetic or tactile learners:
They learn through using their body, hands and sense of touch. They tend to use their muscles so they can be used well in playing, tidying, cleaning the board, collecting activity books, etc. They learn best through using their hands making things, fitting things together or taking them apart so hands-on activities are ideal to help those students learn best.
4. Social or interpersonal learners:
They prefer to learn in groups or with other people. They have the ability to understand others’ feelings and intentions.
5. Solitary or intrapersonal learners:
They prefer to work alone and use self-study. They have the ability to understand well their feelings, strengths and weaknesses. They tend to write personal diary, achieve independent projects, discuss feelings about certain topics, express likes and dislikes, etc.
6. Verbal or linguistic learners:
They prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
7. Logical or mathematical:
They prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
Many students use learning strategies automatically without any awareness of them. The role of teachers here is to:
* recognize their students’ learning strategies,
* make them explicit to students, bring them to their attention and talk about them.
* encourage students to use them in the classroom
* make them more effective to the learning process,
* base teaching process and techniques on these strategies.
Students use the following learning strategies most often when learning a language:
1. Cognitive strategies which enable the learner to manipulate the language material in direct ways, e.g. through reasoning, analysis, note-taking, and synthesizing
2. Metacognitive strategies which are used to manage the learning process overall, e.g. identifying preferences and the need for planning, monitoring mistakes, and evaluating task success.
3. Memory-related strategies which help learners link one item or concept with another but do not necessarily involve deep understanding, e.g. using acronyms, sound similarities, images, key words.
4. Compensatory strategies which help make up for missing knowledge, e.g. using gestures, miming or guessing the meaning from the context.
5. Affective strategies which help learners manage their emotions, such as identifying one’s mood and anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding oneself, and using deep breathing or positive self-talk.
6. Social strategies which enable the learner to learn via interaction with others and understand the target culture, e.g. asking questions, asking for clarification, asking for conversation help, talking with a native-speaking partner, and exploring cultural and social norms.
To be able to use the suitable strategies for you, you should know first your learning style BUT What is your learning style? Click and take a few minutes to do a quiz to be aware of your learning style.