games in which one student has to talk to a partner in order to solve a puzzle , draw a picture , put things in the right order or find similarities and differences between pictures” ( Harmer, 2011, p.349).
Discussion ranges from highly formal , whole formal staged events to informal small – group interaction. It has some sub – categories such as, Buzz groups, Instant comments, formal debates. Buzz group can be used for a whole range of discussion and students are asked to predict the content of a reading text, or to talk about their reactions to it after they have read it. Another way in which we can train students to respond fluently and immediately is to insert instant comments, mini – activities into lessons; besides, in formal debates, students are asked to prepare arguments in favour or against various propositions (Harmer , 2011).
2.6 Research in Speaking Skill
In the field of speaking skill many studies have been carried out . The impact of extensive listening on the speaking ability about elementary EFL learners was done by Hasheminezhad ( 2000). Moreover, Moazzami (2000) carried out a study on effect of topic interest on EFL learners speaking ability study. In addition, the impact of intensive language program on Iranian EFL adult learners speaking ability was conducted by Mir (2005), and also Abd EL Fattah Torky (2006) conducted the effectiveness of a task- based instruction program in developing the English language speaking skills of secondary stage students study. Abd El Fattah’s study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of tackling communicative tasks in the light of the cognitive approach principles throughout a proposed program in developing the speaking skills of 1st year secondary students. The results of his study showed that the program designed according to task- based instruction proved to be effective in improving first year secondary students’ speaking skills. Furthermore ,’ Methods of Enhasing Speaking Skills of Elementary Level Students was done by Morozova (2013). Morozova’s study was devoted to the research of issue of speaking skills of students and to the existing methods of enhancing speaking skills of elementary level students. It is also related to discovering the reasons of unwillingness to communicate and the ways to overcome the language barriers.
2.7 Learners Characteristics
There are some factors might affect learners’ learning. Knowing learners’ ethics, linguistic, religious heritage , their native languages , level of education and socioeconomic characteristics may influence on both teaching and learning process. Besides, it is important to identify what their intellectual capacities, abilities, and strengths and weaknesses are. And how teachers, would describe the personality of any given learner. Therefore , these and other questions focus attention on some of crucial variables affecting both learners’ success in acquiring and learning a foreign language and teachers’ capacities to enable learners to achieve that acquisition and learning ( Brown, 2007).
Without any doubt, personality is the most important individual characteristic of a human being and the main themes in psychology. Therefore, it is appropriate to start with the definition of personality ( Dornyei, 2008). According to Collins Conbuild Dictionary, personality defines as one’s whole character and nature. (cited in,Dornyei , 2008, p.11). Five main components of Big Five construct are as follows:
Openness to experience: High scores are imaginative , curious , flexible , creative , moved by art , novelty seeking , original , and untraditional ; low scores are conservative , conventional , down to – earth , unartistic ,and practical.
Coscientiousness: High scores are systematic, meticulous , efficient , organized , reliable , responsible , hard – working , preserving and self – discipline ; low scores are un reliable , aimless , careless , disorganized , late , lazy .
Extraversion – Introversion :High scores are sociable, gregarious , active , assertive , and talkative , low scores are passive quiet , reserved , aloof , sober.
Agreeableness : High scores are friendly , good – natured , likeable , kind , forgiving , trusting , modest , low scores are cold , cynical , rude , Neuroticism – Emotional stability : High scores are worrying , anxious , insecure , depressed , self – conscious , moody , emotional , and unstable , low scores are , calm , relaxed , unemotional , comfortable ” (Dornyei , 2008, p.15 ).
The concept of language aptitude is related to the broader concept of human abilities, covering a variety of cognitive – based learner differences. But discussion about some basic conceptual issues is important. This is because the terms ability , aptitude , and intelligence are commonly used , therefore , their meaning may mix up with their scientific definition. Since mental abilities reflect cognitive process and skills, describing such processes and skills, put experts and non – specialists in trouble and they use these terms instead of each other such as ability, aptitude, and intelligence (Dornyei, 2008). How do these differ from each other?
Although some scholars distinguish between ability and aptitude, in typical practice the two are used synonymously. Furthermore, in educational contexts such as second language learning, ability is often used to mean ‘learning ability,’ that is, the individual’s potential for acquiring new knowledge or skill Thus, ‘language aptitude’ means exactly the same as ‘language ability’ and is typically meant to denote ‘language learning ability.’ Intelligence is yet another synonym for ‘ability’ but when it is used on its own (i.e., not in a phrase such as ‘spatial intelligence or ‘verbal intelligence’) it usually has a broader meaning, referring to a general sort of aptitude that is not limited to a specific performance area but is transferable to many sorts of performance (Dornyei , 2008, p.32).
In fact, motivation is one the most important factors in SLA. It provides the primary stimulus to initiate L2 learning and later it is the driving force to maintain the long and often tedious learning process. Without sufficient motivation, even individuals with the most remarkable abilities cannot achieve long term goals. On the other hand, high motivation can make up for considerable deficiencies both in one’s language aptitude and learning conditions (Dornyei , 2008).
According to Gardner and Lambert (1972), there are two kinds of motivation, Integrative and Instrumental. Needing a language as an instrument to achieve other purposes such as doing a job effectively is called Instrumental motivation.On the other hand , studying successfully at an English – speaking instruction or wishing to integrate into the activities or culture of another group of people is called Integrative motivation ( Hedge, 2000).
2.7.4 Learning Styles and Learning Strategies
22.214.171.124 Learning Styles
According to the standard definition, learning styles refer to “an individual’s natural, habitual, and preferred way(s) of absorbing, processing, and retaining new information and skills” (Reid, 1995, cited in Dornyei , 2008 , p.121). Besides, “Learning styles are an appealing concept for educationalists because unlike abilities and aptitudes; they do not reflect innate endowment that automatically leads to success. That is, styles are not yet another metaphor for distinguishing the gifted from the untalented but rather they refer to personal preferences” (Dornyei, 2008, p.122).
126.96.36.199.1 Kolb’s and Riding’s Model of Learning Style
Based on the combination of the two style continuums four basic learner types, or learning style patterns were emerged:
Divergers (concrete & reflective) have received their label because they
Prefer to concrete situations that call for the generation of ideas, such as a brainstorming session. This does not mean they are abstract thinkers; just the opposite, they are down-to-earth people who learn best through concrete experience and like to look at concrete situations from many
points of view in a reflective manner.
Convergers (abstract & active) are abstract thinkers who generate ideas and theories. They are, however, not detached from reality as they are interested in active experimentation to find practical uses for their
schemes. They are good at solving specific problems, especially if the tasks are technical rather than interpersonal or social in nature
Assimilators (abstract & reflective) are also abstract thinkers but their
strength is not in dreaming up ideas and then actively trying to put them
into test, like that of the convergers, but rather, as the name suggests, assimilating disparate observations in a reflective manner, that is, understanding a wide range of information and putting it into a concise and logical form.
Accommodators (concrete & active) are the most hands-on learners:
They like concrete experience and active experimentation, and they are stimulated by challenging experiences even to the extent of taking risks.
They often follow their ‘gut’ feelings rather than logical analysis. No wonder that this learning style is effective in action-oriented careers such as marketing or sales (Dornyei, 2008, p.129).
188.8.131.52 Cognitive Styles
“Cognitive styles are usually defined as an individual’s preferred and habitual modes of perceiving, remembering, organizing, processing, and
representing information ” ( Dornyei, 2008, p.124).
Table 2.3. List of the major cognitive styles adapted from Dornyei
(2003) ‘Integrating intellectual capital and knowledge management’. Long Range Planning, 30(3), 399-405. 41) Uziene, J. C., (2010), Entrepreneurship and Growth: The Strategic Use of External Resources, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 4, PP: 133-147. 42) ادامه مطلب…