Language Learning Strategies: A Theoretical Backdrop

  • Olga Trendak
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


The 1970s saw a certain change in the attitude toward language teaching and toward the learner. Stress was laid on the communicative aspect of teaching a language but also on the learner and their contribution to learning the target language. This approach was clearly visible in a study conducted by Rubin (1975) who wanted to investigate the strategies deployed by the Good Language Learner (GLL). The results of her project engendered great interest in strategies applied by learners. Researchers started to perceive the learner as a very valuable source of information that could reveal a great deal about the processes involved in learning a language. Thus, within the last few decades one could observe an upsurge of interest in learner autonomy and in the good language learner and language learning strategies. The first tendency is believed to have originated in Europe, whereas the second one in the USA. The strong interest in the area of LLS and their role in second language acquisition, as some researchers believe, stems from the need to identify the features of an effective learner (O’Malley and Chamot 1990). Researchers wanted to know what better learners did and what learning behaviours they engaged in that helped them surpass weaker learners (Rubin 1975, 1981; Naiman et al. 1978; Reiss 1983, 1985; Gillette 1987; Lennon 1989). Initially, though, it was believed that analyzing the teaching methods would be enough to find out why some learners are better than others. However, research into the teaching methods failed to point at the best method and the one that would ensure success when learning another language (Droździał-Szelest 1997).


Learning Strategy Foreign Language Language Learning Target Language Learning Style 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga Trendak
    • 1
  1. 1.Zakład Języka Angielskiego i Językoznawstwa Stosowanego Wydział Filologiczny UŁUniversity of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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