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THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN LEARNER ACTIVATION OF LANGUAGE LEARNING STRATEGIES PART I. THE AGE FACTOR: AN OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH

Since the early 1970s, it has been clear that there is neither a single, universal method of foreign language teaching/learning nor a single, unified set of techniques that could guarantee all learners’ successful accomplishment of the complex task of language learning. Learners are different and, therefore, even the most thoroughly planned and well designed syllabuses or learning agendas cannot prove fully effective if we ignore the crucial issue of individual learner differences. Apart from the age factor, which determines human cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development, there are many other individual variables which seem to influence the learning process and its outcomes. These comprise the learner’s cognitive/learning styles and personality traits as well as his/her repertoire of strategies for language learning and use. In this series of three articles, the author presents an overview of research studies which show correlations between selected cognitive as well as affective factors and the learner’s individual choice and use of learning strategies. She also discusses implications for foreign language teaching/learning, focusing on the idea of learner strategy training.



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