Age Differences in the Use of Language Learning Strategies

  •  Mei-Ling Chen    


The purpose of the study was to investigate language learning strategies used by English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners at different educational levels and explored the influence of age on the use of language learning strategies. A total of 1,023 students participated in the study. Out of the participants, there were 250 primary students (aged 10-12), 245 junior high school students (aged 13-15), 249 senior high school students (aged 16-18), and 279 tertiary students (aged 20-22). The instrument for data collection was the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). Results showed that statistically significant relationships existed between different age groups and the use of memory strategies, compensation strategies, metacognitive strategies, and affective strategies. Specifically, secondary and tertiary students reported using compensation strategies more frequently than primary students (p = .000). Tertiary students used social and affective strategies more frequently than did other age groups. The result indicated that age increase is likely to encourage learners to use strategies with more emphasis on the social and functional strategies. Implications are that it is critical for teachers to be more aware of the differences in their students and adjust their teaching practices to meet the developmental needs of students.

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