Enhancing the capabilities of Arabic learners : language learning strategies in the Arabic classroom
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Since Joan Rubin opened the discussion of the existence of techniques of memorization, recall, and production that marked the performance of successful learners of foreign languages, the study of Language Learning Strategies (LLS) has expanded into innumerable directions. Such studies have attempted to establish a link between LLS use and improved student performance in the classroom and beyond, determine what drives students to select particular strategies for use, and analyzed the effectiveness of LLS instruction. Few studies have examined the relationship between LLS and the study of Arabic as a foreign language. The present study identifies, among university-level students of Arabic, the LLS whose use is associated with student language success. Using a combination of survey response analysis and classroom observation, the study highlights the benefits of 17 separate strategies and recommends a phased introduction of those strategies to students in order to maximize their potential effect. The study then moves on to explore the role of the Arabic instructor in student strategy use, determining the effectiveness of current methods of strategy instruction and provides recommendations to the Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL) field that may improve the techniques used to impart strategic learning competence to students of the language. In the final section of analysis, the study turns toward the Arabic textbooks that most commonly used in American colleges and universities and examines the level of support that these texts provide to the development of strategic learning methods within students, providing advice to instructors and learning materials developers intended to enhance presentation of strategies. The ultimate goal of these suggestions is improving the overall strategic capability of students of Arabic so that they can become more independent learners, capable of continuing study of the language beyond the boundaries of the university classroom.