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Language learning strategies are tools to facilitate language learning that should be adapted to suit the needs of each individual.

There aren't a set of language learning strategies that makes you a perfect language learner, each student learns differently. However, there are some guidelines on the strategies others have found successful that can be provided to students to help them make more effective use of their time studying.  It's important that students understand how they learn and what strategies are more effective than others.

Rebecca Oxford produces a fantastic book on Language Learning Strategies 'Language Learning Strategies, What every teacher should know.' She outlines a huge variety of language learning strategies and groups them under 'direct' and 'indirect' strategies. Direct strategies are those directly involved in the target languages e.g. memory or compensation strategies and indirect strategies are those that involve the business of language learning e.g. metacognitive or social language learning strategies.

It's important to highlight each language learning strategy you are teaching,  ask the learners to try to see if it works for them and not to get overwhelmed with the huge variety available. Focusing on a few specific language learning strategies that are likely to work for the learner. This is a language learning strategy in itself.

Here's a short questionnaire to support learners who are reflecting on the kinds of language learning strategies they might use (see link below).

It's useful to deliver a lesson or series of lessons on the types of language learning strategies available. We need to be explicit about the possible language learning strategy options available to learners and ensure that they have a go before committing to new ones.


Oxford, R (1990) Language Learning Strategies, What every teacher should know, Heinle & Heinle

Further learning - Blog

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School closures, however your school has approached these, have had a huge impact on learner engagement. Even the most prepared schools have struggled to engage learners to the same extent as when learning in the classroom.

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Created: Thu 29th Aug 2019

“Scaffolding is the process a teacher uses to model or demonstrate how to solve a problem (in the case of language learning, to support learners with using the language needed to articulate themselves). After modelling, they step back, offering support as needed.”
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