The effect of teaching methods (deductive-inductive) on learners' cognitive style (field dependence-independence)
Stalker, James C.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between a learner s cognitive style (field dependence-independence) and the teaching method (deductive—induetive) used. The hypothesis was that subjects identified as field independent would score significantly higher than those identified as field dependent on tests after having deductive lessons and subjects identified as field dependent would score significantly higher than those who were field independent on tests after having inductive lessons- It was further hypothesized that there would be significant differences between field dependent and field independent participants in their scores on two different types of tests, multiple-choice and cloze tests, after having deductive or inductive teaching. A number of studies, which examined the relationship between cognitive style and second language test performance, revealed that a field independent cognitive style is significantly related to a higher level of achievement on different types of tests. In almost all studies a significant relationship was found between field independence and success on multiple-choice tests. In addition, many studies found a relationship between field independence and cloze tests, However, although many studies found the same relationship between field independence and cloze tests, in a few studies, no significant relationship was found between field independG-nce and succesB on cloze tests- Therefore, this study aimed to explore the influence of field dependent-independent cognitive styles on second language test performance, especially as it relates to performance on a discrete-point type of measure, a multiple-choice test, and an integrative type of measure, the cloze test. Thus, in an attempt to address the issue of possible cognitive style bias in second language learning, this study compares the achievement patterns of students on two measures; a multiple choice test and a cloze test. Because many studies support the advantage of field-independence on second language test performance, this study also aimed to investigate whether a particular teaching method best suits a student with a particular cognitive style. The data in this study indicate several controversial findings. The most important finding is that the hypothesis that cognitive style is an important factor in second language learning was not validated when the sample was taken as a whole or when it was analyzed within the groups. However, when the data were analyzed within or across the groups, by taking the type of the tests into account, a cognitive style bias for field independence was found in the multiple-choice test, but not in the cloze test and no cognitive style bias for field dependence was found in either test-The central hypothesis of this study, which claims that field independent learners would achieve higher test scores in grammar lessons taught deductively, and field dependent learners would achieve higher test scores in lessons taught inductively, was rejected, since the findings did not indicate any interaction between the methods and the cognitive style: That is, as hypothesized, field independent learners in the deductive group performed better than field dependent learners on both tests, but field dependent learners in the inductive group did not perform better than the field independent learners in the same group- Instead, field independent learners performed better in this group as well. The findings validate the null hypothesis that claims that there is no relationship between the learners' cognitive style and the teaching methods. Furthermore, the study confirms the findings of research that field independent learners are better language learners.