• The wholist–analytic dimension
Field dependence– independence
Individual dependence on a perceptual field when analyzing a structure or form which is part of the field. Leveling–sharpening A tendency to assimilate detail rapidly and lose detail or emphasize detail and changes in new information.
Tendency for a quick vs. deliberate response.
Converging– diverging thinking
Narrow, focused, logical, deductive thinking rather than broad, open-ended, associational thinking to solve problems.
The tendency to work through learning tasks or problem solving incrementally or globally and assimilate detail.
Concrete sequential/ concrete random/ abstract sequential/ abstract random
The tendency to learn through concrete experience and abstraction either randomly or sequentially.
Individual preferences for seeking familiarity or novelty in the process of problem-solving and creativity.
Adaptors prefer conventional, established procedures whereas innovators favor restructuring or new perspectives , in problem solving.
Preference for developing understanding through reasoning or by spontaneity/insight and learning activities which allow active participation or passive reflection.
• The verbal–imagery dimension
Abstract versus concrete thinker
Preferred level and capacity of abstraction.
Verbalizer– visualize:The extent to which verbal or visual strategies are used in thinking and to represent knowledge.
2.7.5 Learning Strategies
According to Hsiao and Oxford’s (2002) belief “learning strategies constitute a useful tool kit for active and conscious learning, and that these strategies pave the way toward greater proficiency, learner autonomy, and self-regulation” (Dornyei, 2008, p.195).Thus, the strategy systems proposed by Oxford (1990) and O’Malley and Chamot (1990) are as follows:
126.96.36.199Cognitive strategies, involving the manipulation or transformation of the learning materials/input (e.g., repetition, summarizing, using images). 188.8.131.52 Metacognitive strategies, involving higher-order strategies aimed at analyzing, monitoring, evaluating, planning, and organizing one’s own
184.108.40.206 Social strategies, involving interpersonal behaviors aimed at increasing the amount of L2 communication and practice the learner undertakes(e.g., initiating interaction with native speakers, cooperating with peers).
220.127.116.11 Affective strategies, involving taking control of the emotional (affective) conditions and experiences that shape one’s subjective involvement in learning (Dornyei, 2008, p.165).
2.8 Language Learning
It is important to any teacher to seek ideas about how languages are learned. So knowing four areas of investigations and debating among English teachers and researchers are very valuable ( Dornyei, 2008).
2.8.1 The Nature of Input
Comprehensible input hypothesis is a significant idea that has emerged in recent years. Krashen’s (1985 ) input hypothesis points that “language is picked up or acquired , when learners receive input from ‘ message ‘ which contain language a little above their existing understanding and from which they can infer meaning ” (Hedge, 2000, p.10). Based on this hypothesis there is a distinction between acquiring and learning a language. Actually the acquisition process often called a creative construction process , is parallel to that of a called learning its first language . Besides, acquisition is subconscious, natural, unteachable, unintentional ,and syntax comes late, moreover, occurs through the feelings and brings us fluently. On the other hand, learning is conscious, artificial, teachable, intentional, and syntax conventionally comes early,besides, happens through rules, focuses on forms and brings us accuracy. Moreover, there is a view originating in Chomsky’s seminal work in linguistics (1965), that is Universal language properties ( i.e. a set of principles which apply to all languages) and the knowledge is inheretent in the human mind. So, this account tends to oversimpilify a complex process and second language researchers keep on debating the ways by which acquisition and learning are connected to eachother and the ways in which both might function in language classroom (Hedge, 2000).
2.8.2 The Process of Intake
Intake refers to the ways in which “learners process input and assimilate language to their interlanguage system . Learners will not process all the input available to them , some of what they hear or read may not be understood , and some of them will receive more attention ” (Hedge, 2000, p. 12 ).
2.8.3 The Role of Interaction in the Classroom
The related notion to input is output. According to Swain (1987) learners need to practice in producing output and using all the resources they have already acquired. Getting feedback from the teachers and students in the class enables students to test hypotheses and refine their developing knowledge of the language system (Hedge, 2000).
2.8.4 The Role of Error
With the view of language as a creative construction process comes the view that error is an inevitable and positive part of that process. “Errors are now seen as reflections of a learner’s stage of interlanguage development ” (Hedge, 2000. P.15 ).
2.9 Research in Language Learners’ Characteristics
Eventually, a lot of studies have been conducted in learner characteristics. Philip and Ruth (1989) conducted an integrative / aptitude – treatment interactive approach to skill acquisition. According to Kanfer and Ackerman(1989), two central constructs of applied psychology, motivation and cognitive ability, are integrated within an information-processing (IPR) framework. IPR framework simultaneously considers individual differences in cognitive abilities, self-regulatory processes of motivation, and IPR demands. Moreover, Edward and Richard (2000) worked on self – determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation , social development and well – being study. Edward and Richard ‘s (2000) results showed that human beings can be proactive and engaged or alternatively passive and alienated largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. An investigation into Iranian EFL Learners’ Use of Language Learning Strategies was conducted by Kashefian , Salehi and Sheikhnezami (2011). The result of Kashefian , Salehi and Sheikhnezami’s (2011) study showed that the use of effective language learning strategies is a major characteristic of successful language learners.
2.10 Learner Autonomy
2.10.1What is Autonomy?
In fact the terms of autonomy and independence are sometimes used interchangeably, while many educationalists use them to denote different concepts( KalenBock, 2001).As emphasized by Broady and Kenning (1996) and Little (1994) , learner autonomy is often incorrectly equated with terms such as self- study, independent learning or self- instruction. Since all these terms are closely related to the concept of autonomy, they are restricted in nature in that just they refer to a learning situation that does not need the presence of a teacher (cited in KaltenBock, 2001, p. 182).
Broady and Kenning (1996) define autonomy as a trait which includes not only the dimension of working without a teacher but also a responsibility and a choice dimension (cited in KaltenBock, 2000, p.183).The central feature of learner autonomy is taking the responsibility for one’s own learning. This responsibility transfer from the teacher to the learner which involves decision making of learner themselves in the learning process and evaluating one’s own progress(KaltenBock, 2001).
According to Brody and Kenning (1996), “to become autonomous, the learner requires a number of learning management skills, which in turn presuppose certain type of awareness” (KaltenBock, 2000, p.183). There are two types of awareness according to Brody and Kenning (1996) in their model of learning autonomy in language learning. They are metalinguistic awareness and metacognitive awareness so, metalinguistic awareness is insight into how language is used and organized and metacognitive awareness is insight into one’s own learning style(KaltenBock,2001).
Rather obviously, relating skill acquisition to cognitive variables is not a new trend, but incorporation of TBLT as a predictor of skill acquisition, autonomous and creativity thinking requires in depth evaluation, though this study, in turn, tries to shed light on their certain areas.
Furthermore, McGarry (1995) pointed that
Students who are encouraged to take responsibility for their own work by being given some control over what , how and when they learn, are more likely to be able to set realistic goals, plan programs of work, develop strategies for coping with new and unforeseen situation, evaluate and assess their own work and generally to learn how to learn from their own success and failure in ways which will help them to be more efficient learners in the future (cited in Yaakub, Megat Abdul Rahim, 2004, p.23).
2.10.2. An Autonomous Learner Model
“The Autonomous Learner Model developed by George T. Betts and Jolene K. Kercher(1991), was created initially for gifted and talented students. The aim of the method is to meet the diversified cognitive, emotional, and social needs of all students”( Ahmad &Yaakub, 2004, p. 3).
The five parts of the model are:
➢ Orientation: This is a foundation setting part of the program where the process of