Vol. 5,No. 8, August 2015

Author(s): Pegah Skandari, Fatemeh Behjat, Ali Asghar Kargar

Abstract: Speaking, as one of the four macro-skills, fulfills the communicative function of language in both EFL and ESL settings. It is a tool for expressing thoughts and feelings and a way of linking to the society. Despite its importance and frequent use, speaking has remained the least studied and accessible skill for students to learn and for teachers to teach, and it has raised many questions for researchers to answer. Due to the shift from teacher- to student-centered learning environments, students need to be helped in becoming strategic language learners in the long run. This study investigated the use of speaking strategies by Iranian EFL university students. Thirty-five female and 25 male students participated in the study. An Oxford Proficiency Test was administered to determine the students’ proficiency level. Accordingly, they were assigned to the three groups of high, intermediate, and low proficiency levels. The main instrument was a 38-item strategy questionnaire which was developed based on Likert-Scale answers. A t-test and a one-way ANOVA were run to compare the mean scores of the four factors and see if there are any significant differences between males and females, on the one hand, and high, intermediate, and low groups, on the other, with regard to different strategies. The result indicated that sex and proficiency level had significant roles in the using metacognitive strategies, with females showing greater favor over this factor than males. Also, high proficient students revealed more interest in the same factor than intermediate and low level students. For compensation strategies, sex showed to have a significant influence on strategic choice, with males having more preference for this factor than females. For other factors including cognitive and memory, and social/affective strategies, no significant differences were found among the variables of the study.

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