Relative cultural contributions of religion and ethnicity to the language learning strategy choices of ESL students in Sri Lankan and Japanese high schools
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Ethnicity and religion have been shown to be significantly associated with the use of metacognitive, cognitive, and social-affective strategies by Sri Lankan high school students learning English as a second language (Liyanage, 2004) In order to further examine the role of ethnicity and religion in determining the Language Learning Strategies (LLS) of ESL students, survey responses from a sample of Japanese high school students visiting an Australian school was added to those from the Sri Lankan sample. The composite sample comprised four ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Tamil, Sri Lankan Muslim, and Japanese. Sinhalese and Japanese participants were Buddhists, and Tamil and Muslim participants were Hindus and Islamists respectively. The choices of learning strategies across these four groups appeared to be associated with religious rather than ethnic identity. The notion that language learning strategies are cultural in nature needs to be carefully reviewed to allow for specific preferences associated with learners' ethnoreligious affiliations. Further study is needed to investigate the advantages of capitalising on instruction based on natural preferences compared to the culturally broadening educational advantages of exposing children to nonpreferred strategies.
Asian EFL Journal
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English as a Second Language
Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education