Self-access Strategy Instruction for Academic Writing Vocabulary: What Learners Actually Do

Isobel Kai-Hui Wang & Andrew D Cohen
Applied Linguistics, 2022-09-22


This paper describes a close-up investigation of four advanced language learners’ engagement with strategy instruction (SI) materials specially designed to enhance efforts to fine-tune comprehension and production of academic vocabulary. The learners first completed a measure of learning style, and then provided introspective and retrospective verbal report data and log entries during and after each interactive session with the SI materials over an eight-week period. The results showed that the learners’ engagement in these sessions heightened their awareness of strategies for fine-tuning their comprehension and production of vocabulary. Issues also arose during their efforts at vocabulary fine-tuning—such as their doubting the results, their experiencing fatigue, and their perceived failure to strategize effectively. The study provided a look at the complex interplay of variables when the learners were attempting to extract insights from the SI materials. In particular, the data illustrated how style preferences related to the selection of strategies in academic writing. The implications for individualized approaches to the implementation of SI and for teachers’ support of L2 learners’ strategic performance are discussed.
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