Learning how to learn pragmatics
Application of self-directed strategies to pragmatics learning in L2 Chinese and Japanese
Keywords:L2 pragmatics, learning strategies, strategy instruction, Chinese, Japanese
Learning strategies are self-generated actions taken to make learning more efficient,productive, and transferable to new settings (Oxford, 1990, 2011). We can teach students how to use learning strategies efficiently, helping them gain autonomy and control of their own learning process. This study applied strategy instruction to pragmatics learning in a second language (L2). Adapting Oxford's (2011) taxonomy, we taught L2 learners various cognitive and metacognitive strategies, including how to pay attention to select pragmatic features, and how to monitor and evaluate their learning of the features. Four L2 Chinese learners and six L2 Japanese learners in a US university received strategy instruction on targeted pragmatic features (i.e., conversation opening/closing; indirect meaning). The instruction was followed by a two-week period in which students kept a daily journal recording their experiences with the targeted features. Interviews were conducted at the end to gauge students' reflections of the strategy applications. Results showed that students noticed targeted pragmatic features in available resources, but there was imbalance in the degree of noticing and types of strategies used.
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