Strategic Classrooms: learning communities which nurture the development of learners strategies

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the role which the social context of learning plays in the development of learner strategies. It is based on longitudinal foreign language classroom research in state comprehensive schools in the UK. It is built on the premise that the development of learner strategies is linked to the type of learning context in which they are situated. If one accepts that learning contexts are co-constructed by students and teachers themselves, then ‘classroom culture’ can be seen as pivotal in determining the effectiveness of learner strategies. This study highlights three components of classrooms where the context for learning impacts on the development of learner strategies: classroom culture, scaffolded learning, and the creation of learning opportunities. In this study, it is the collaborative action research process itself, mediated by technology, which contributes to the classroom becoming a learning community. It encourages the teacher to develop and articulate her own theory of practice, which in turn helps to clarify strategic development in learners. The findings suggest that an alternative starting point for exploring learner strategy development is to focus on the macro-level: a learning environment which enables teachers and learners to be more aware of the context-embedded strategies that will inform and support individual learner strategies. Evidence is presented which suggests that learner strategies can be conceptualized as ‘by-products’ of mediation and social activity in a learning community. The conclusion drawn is not one of ‘cause and effect’ but rather that a combined approach to learner strategies at both macro- (learning context) and micro- (individual) levels has powerful potential which merits further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages12
JournalThe Language Learning Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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