The value of strategy instruction to promote autonomous learning in the EFL classroom is yet to be established. Moreover, among the few intervention studies on strategy instruction, the focus is invariably on the effect of the teaching on learners' use of the strategies targeted for teaching. Little attention, however, has been given to investigating the 'wash over' effects on learners' use of strategies which are not targeted for teaching but are pre¬existing strategies employed by the learners. To address this research gap, the present study involved a treatment class and a comparison class in the EFL oral classroom in Hong Kong. A quasi-experimental design was adopted in which the treatment class received metacognitive strategy instruction to enhance students' ability to manage English group discussion tasks. A data collection method comprising observations and stimulated recall interviews that aimed to tap respectively overt strategy use and covert strategic thoughts was employed. The findings indicate that, for the treatment class, while there seemed to be no 'wash over' effect from target to non-target strategies in the frequency of use of the whole sample of non-target strategies over time, there were increases in the frequency of use of individual, non-target strategies that were pertinent to the specific nature of small group discussion tasks. The findings are discussed with respect to the differential and desirable effects of the strategy teaching and to the relationship between task type and strategy choice. Implications for strategy instruction to promote autonomous learning will also be drawn.
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2010|