The relationship between students' perceptual learning style preferences, language learning strategies and English language vocabulary size
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This study investigated the relationship between students’ perceptual learning style preferences, language learning strategies and English language vocabulary size. It is very important for teachers to be aware of students’ preferences in learning to help them be more successful and to avoid conflicts when there is a mismatch between learning and teaching styles. Language learning strategies are special techniques, which learners employ to learn a target language faster. Vocabulary is essential in learning a foreign or second language. Therefore, it is very important to know whether students with different learning style preferences use different language learning strategies in learning, and if yes, what they were. The study was based on the assumption that there might be a relationship between students’ preferences in perceptual learning styles and the strategies they used and their vocabulary knowledge. Second year students from English and American Literature Departments, Bilkent University, Turkey, and from Foreign Philology Department, Ferghana State University participated in the study. They completed a background questionnaire. Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire, Strategy Inventory for Language Learning and the Revised I.S.P. Nation’s 2000 Word Level and University Word Level Tests. The data were analyzed by using frequencies, means, chi-square and Pearson Product Moment correlation. The results showed that kinesthetic learners constituted the most numerous group among the learners whereas group learning style was the least preferred. Negative correlation was found between visual and individual learning style preferences and the results of the vocabulary tests. Affective strategy and the scores of the vocabulary tests correlated negatively too. The most preferred strategies among all perceptual learning style groups were compensation, metacognitive and cognitive strategies. Memory strategy was reported to be the least preferred. Finally, it was found that kinesthetic learners made up the majority of good vocabulary learners whereas visual learners constituted the majority of poor vocabulary learners. Group learners were the minority of both groups. Memory strategy turned out to be the least preferred among all the groups. This result can be interpreted to mean that teachers don’t pay much attention to teaching students how to use this kind of strategies (e.g. creating linkages, using imagery or keyword method), though they are considered helpful for vocabulary learning. The results of the study may allow to draw some pedagogical implications. Individual learning style preference was negatively correlated with the vocabulary tests’ scores. It might suggest that instead of working individually, working in groups should be more encouraged. Working in cooperation with peers a student has a chance to hear, see and produce vocabulary.