Identifying language learning strategies to develop oral skills
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Álvarez Rodríguez, Adriana Patricia
Due to the difficulties EFL students in the third level (pre-intermediate) of Extramural language courses at Universidad del Atlántico presented to produce ideas in oral class activities ; this investigation has initially centered the attention on how students learn to speak and what kind of language learning strategies (LLS) they use to overcome their difficulties when developing their oral skills in class. In order to answer the previous questions, a small scale and exploratory research paper has been carried out intending: to identify the LLS used by the students to develop their oral proficiency and to describe how useful are these LLS to overcome difficulties in speaking. After building a theoretical framework based on LLS, clarifying the definitions and categories of LLS and establishing relevant LLS to develop speaking according to Oxford (1990) ; case study was chosen as a qualitative method in which two data-collection techniques were used: a semi-structured interview and the observation. The data was analyzed in a descriptive way, information obtained from the interview and the transcriptions of oral activities observed in class were used to finally identify a group of LLS that were frequently used by the students to improve their speaking skills and overcome their difficulties in developing oral activities, many of the strategies identified were used by the students unconsciously as they do not know about the existence of LLS ; according to that it was finally concluded that students should know how to LLS to improve their abilities in the target language, so they can use them in conscious and more effective ways.