Analysis on Metacognitive Strategies in Reading and Writing Among by dfsiopmhy6


									European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

      Analysis on Metacognitive Strategies in Reading and
   Writing Among Malaysian ESL Learners in Four Education

                                   Mohd Sahandri Gani Hamzah
                                    University Putra Malaysia

                                   Saifuddin Kumar Abdullah
                          Jabatan Pengajian Politeknik dan Kolej Komuniti
                              Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia

     This study deal with analyze of meta cognitive strategies (MS) in reading and writing
     among 400 Malaysia ESL learners in polytechnic, teacher training institute, form six and
     matriculation colleges. The sample was selected based on non-random sampling and were
     categorized in two category there is more successful learners and less successful learners.
     The six types of learning strategies are memory, cognitive, compensation, meta cognitive,
     effective, and social strategies. Both of MSL and LSL perform high mean score of meta
     cognitive strategies compare with other strategies. Result of One Way ANOVA among four
     groups of Malaysian ESL learners ranking of meta cognitive strategies shows that teacher
     training institution and polytechnic students view significant different and better than
     matriculation and form six students. This result is proven that teachers training institution
     and polytechnic practice and apply meta cognitive strategies during their six months
     training. Whereas, matriculation and form six students learn English only for the purpose of

     Keywords: Metacognitive, Strategies, Reading, Writing, ESL.

1.0. Background of the Study
The title of the study Analysis of Metacognitive Strategies in reading and writing among Malaysian
ESL learners in Institutions of Higher Learning. The venue of the study was in the East Coast region of
Peninsular Malaysia. The respondents were from four selected Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL),
namely Polytechnic, Teacher Training Institute, Form Six and Matriculation College.
        There were 400 respondents between 18 and 19 years of age. Although these students came
from various institutions, they had a common goal which were at all pre-university levels of study and
preparing to further their studies in University where English is used extensively in learning and
teaching. All of them have to sit for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) before applying
for admission in university locally and TOFEL for aboard. For this purpose, there is a need for the
students to effectively learn the English Language and to be proficient in order to pass the MUET and
TOFEL with a satisfactory grade.
        This study is an attempt to address the shortcomings in ESL learning the local context. It hopes
to provide some information to the authorities involved at the decision making and implementing
levels in Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education.

                                    European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

1.1. Malaysian ESL Learners in the Selected Institutions of Higher Learning
After having received the SPM examination results, the qualified students may move on to study in
various IHL. There are numerous options for them at this level. They can go to university or they can
choose to enroll themselves in Form Six class, Matriculation College, Teacher Training Institute,
Polytechnic or Community College. English is also emphasized as this level as a means of preparing
students for the MUET which is a requirement for the pre-university students who wish to enroll in the
university programmers. For example, English is taught in the Teacher Training Institutes to enhance
students’ competency in English in a variety of context and to facilitate them in their studies (Teacher
Education Division, Ministry of Education, 2006).
        The role of English at this level is an important tool for learning especially in dealing with
terminologies in various field of studies. English is also needed for obtaining and expanding
knowledge through the Internet, and understanding the reference materials, as many references books
are written in English (Teacher Education Division, Ministry of Education, 2006). English is also
taught in Matriculation colleges, to help students become effective and efficient English language user
in social and academic contexts and to prepare them for the MUET and TOFEL exam. (Ministry of
Education Malaysia, 2006).

1.2. Statement of the Problem
One of the possible reasons that the majority of the Malaysian ESL learners are incompetent user of
English because they do not learn the language effectively. They did not know the effective learning
strategies exists as they were not taught any strategy training, that is, on how to use the learning
strategies (O’Malley & Chamot, 1989) in language activities particularly in reading and writing tasks.
Through short interviews of local students and instructors, the researcher discovered that neither the
students nor the instructors were aware of the use of MS.
        Another problem is that the majority of Malaysian ESL learners are ‘ at risk students’ because,
according to McKeachie (1988), when they enter the high levels of education without proper learning
strategies, they are handicapped in achieving success in mastering English and other disciplines as
well. This appear to be true when Zuridah (2008) conducted a study of the English language
proficiency of 405 students at six Malaysian public university in 2006 and found that 54.6% of
students were under limited and very limited users of English. Surprisingly, only 1.4% were good user
of English. This shows that the majority of the students are handicapped and need help. They need to
be trained on how to use MS in their ESL learning.
        Next, problem is the lack of exposure through a brief discussion with instructors, the researcher
found that the instructors do not know that the use of MS in reading or writing tasks is linked to
motivation and self- efficacy, and that the more students are aware of their thinking processes as they
learn to complete their tasks, the more they can control and manage their ESL learning. This seems to
be true when Marzano, Brand, Hughes, Jones, Presseisen, Rankin,and Suhor (1988) point out that
neither the lectures nor the students perceive that self-awareness promotes self-regulation. According
to Marzano, (1988), if the students are aware of how committed they are to reaching goals, of
how strong their disposition is to persist, and of how focused their attention is to a thinking, reading or
writing tasks, they can regulate their commitment, disposition, and attention (marzano,et,1988). Thus
they have to become users of MS.

European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

1.3. Objectives of the Study
   a. to compare between MSL and LSL based on learning strategies.
   b. to determine the similarities and differences MSL against other learning strategies among SML
      and LSL.
   c. to distinguish metacognitive strategies performance among Malaysian ESL in 4 institution.

1.4. The Concept of Metacognitive Strategies
Research such as O’Neil (1978), Oxford (1990), and Allami & Salmani-Nadoushan (2006), define MS
in different ways. However, MS may be summarised as ‘higher order executive skills which enable
students to approach learning in a systematic, efficient and effective way by using the elements of
planning, monitoring and evaluating’. Therefore, MS involve for example, planning for learning on
reading and writing, monitoring of own progress in reading and writing task or self-evaluating of
learning after the language activity (reading or writing task is completed. This concept is graphically
represented in Figure 1.

                             Figure 1: MS in Reading and Writing Processes

                                        Metacognitive strategies

                                          Learning Processes

                Planning for                 Monitoring of             Evaluation of
                own learning                 own learning              own learning

                                                Lead to
                                           Learning Tasks


      According to figure 1 there are 3 component of learning processes in metacognitive strategies
such as planning, monitoring and evaluation in Learning English as second language. This 3
component of learning process lead to learning tasks reading and writing component.

                                   European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)
                               Figure 2: Conceptual Framework of the Study

                 INPUT                      PROCESSES                         PRODUCT

               ESL ability                 Use of MS in
                 of the                     Reading and
                learners                  Writing in ESL                      Proficiency
                                          Learning MUET                       in English

                 More                        Planning

                 Groups                     Monitoring

               Successful                   Evaluating
                                                                                Exams e.g.
                                                                                MUET and
                                                                                 Forms of
                                                                                s (MUET)

        In the above framework Input refer to ability of ESL learners which divided into two groups
more successful and less successful learners. Along the metacognitive process the strategies that
involve in writing and reading are self planning, monitoring and evaluation among ESL learners. At
the end of the study both ESL groups performance and assessment be refer to their metacognitive
        The whole process which is mirrored in the study is based on Bandura’s (1986) Social Learning
Theory which advanced a view of human functioning that records a central role to cognitive, various,
self-regulatory, self-reflective processes in human adaptation and change. This is to say that the
Malaysian ESL learners may adapt to new learning strategies in order to succeed in their ESL learning.
        Bandura (1986) stresses on this theory, that is, people are viewed as self-organizing, pro-active,
self reflecting and self-regulating. For example, how people interpret the result of their own behavior
informs and alters their environments and the personal factors they possess which, in turn, inform and
alter subsequent behavior. In this context, the Malaysian ESL learners are viewed as self – organizing,

European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

pro-active, self-reflecting, and self-regulating individuals. They should be able to plan, monitor and
evaluate their own learning.
        According to Nussbaum and Kardash (2005), this the foundation of Bandura’s (1986) concept
which views (a) personal factors in the form of cognition, affect, and biological events; (b) behavior;
and (c) environmental influences which create interactions. Nussbaumn & Kardash (2005) states that
Bandura altered the label of his theory from social learning to social ‘cognitive’ both to distance it
from prevalent social learning theories of the day and to emphasizes that cognition plays a critical role
in people’s capability to construct reality, self-regulate, encode information, and perform behaviors.
        By using social cognitive theory as a framework, the instructor can work to improve their
student’s emotional states and to correct their faulty self-beliefs and habits of thinking (personal
factors), improve their academic skills and self regulatory practices (behavior), and alter the school and
classroom structures that may work to undermine student success (environmental factors)

1.5. Research Methodology
1.5.1. Respondents
A total of 400 students, ranging in age from 18 to 19 years, participated in this study. They were from
Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) located in East Coast region of West Malaysia. The method of
selection was based on no-random sampling or purposive sampling. The respondents were categorized
into two categories: More Successful Learners (MSL) and Less Successful Learners (LSL).
         The Think aloud Protocols were conducted one month after Stage 2. The respondents were
briefed on how the Think-aloud session would be conducted. Each respondent verbalized the process
and the English language teacher, instructor or lecture recoded it using a tape recorder. The teacher or
lecture prompted the respondent if it was necessary. The whole procedure took a total of two weeks to

1.5.2. Analyses and Interpretation of Data
The data analyses were accordingly performed to yield answers to the various research question using
the Statistical Package of Social Science (SPSS) programmers. The analyses employed descriptive
statistics and inferential statistics for qualitative data as described below:
         The six types of learning strategies on Strategy Inventory For Language Learning (SILL) are
memory strategies, cognitive strategies, compensation strategies, metacognitive strategies, affective
strategies and social strategies (Oxford, 1990).

1.5.3. The ranking of Metacogntive Strategies against Other Learning Strategies on SILL Based
      on Frequency of Use among MSL and LSL.

Table 1:   Compares the number of the MSL and LSL who rated the various learning strategies in terms of
           frequency of use.

                                           MSL                                      LSL
 Types of Learning
                              Mean score        Category of use        Mean score       Category of Use
 Metacognitive strategies       3.69           High                      3.18          Medium
 Social strategies              3.63           High                      3.31          Medium
 Cognitive strategies           3.47           Medium                    3.09          Medium
 Compensation strategies        3.35           Medium                    3.07          Medium
 Affective strategies           2.96           Medium                    2.90          Medium
 Memory strategies              2.96           Medium                    2.84          Medium

                                    European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

         Statistical analysis in Table 1 shows that the three highest-ranked learning strategies used in
ESL learning are not similar for MSL and LSL. Thus, MSL in general, used MS (mean = 3.69) more
than other learning strategies on SILL. On the other hand, the LSL ranked social strategies highest
(mean = 3.31).
         The result from table 1 also show that memory strategies (mean = 2.96, mean = 2.84) ranked
lowest for both groups of Malaysian ESL learners. This suggest that the Malaysian ESL learners in
general do not rely much on memorization in their ESL learning. The differences in the ranking can
also observed among the two groups of learners. First, it can be seen that MS (Mean = 3.69) was the
highest – ranked type of strategy for MSL, while social strategies (Mean = 3.31) was highest for the
         This data indicate that among the Malaysian ESL learners, the MSL utilized more of the MS
such as planning, monitoring and evaluating in their own ESL learning and performance. The result
indicate that the LSL placed more importance on Social Strategies, for example, asking question such
as asking for clarification or verification and asking for correction, cooperating with others such as
cooperating with peers and cooperating with the proficient users of the new language or empathizing
with others such as becoming aware of others’ thoughts and feelings (Oxford, 1990) to help them to
cope with their learning. In addition, the MSL indicated a ‘high use’ rate of metacognitive and social
strategies while the other four learning strategies on SILL, that is, cognitive, compensation, affective
and memory strategies were rated ‘medium use’. In contrast, the LSL indicated a ‘medium use’ rating
for all six types of learning strategies, including the highest – ranked social strategies. This difference
suggest that, on the whole, the MSL seem to utilize strategies more, particularly metacognitive and
social strategies.
         The t- test were used to find significant differences between the MSL and the LSL in their use
of the various learning strategies in their ESL learning. The result are presented in Table 2.

Table 2:   Result of t- test analysis for differences in strategies use between MSL and LSL on SILL

 Type of Learning Strategies                       t value                           Sig.p (2 tailed)
 MS                                                  7.67                                0.003*
 Social Strategies                                   4.58                                0.012*
 Cognitive Strategies                                6.92                                0.023*
 Compensation Strategies                             4.52                                0.005*
 Affective Strategies                                0.78                                 0120
 Memory Strategies                                   1.89                                 0.091
*Sig p<0.05

        The result in Table 2 show that out of six different types of learning strategies on SILL, there
are significant differences between the learner groups in the rating for four of the strategies:
metacognitive (t = 7.67), social (t = 4.58). cognitive (t = 6.92) and compensation (t = 4.52) at p<0.05.
These result reflect that the Malaysian ESL learners benefit from instruction or guidance in the use of
at least these four learning strategies, that is, metacognitive, social, cognitive and compensation

Table 3:   The Ranking of MS among Four Groups of the Malaysian ESL Learners in Four IHL
           Table 3 shows that results of One-Way ANOVA among four groups of the Malaysian ESL learners
           in Four IHL based on the way these learners ranked MS

 Source             Sum of Square            df           Mean Square             F                   Sig.p
 Between Groups          9.477               3               3.159              12.609                .000*
 Within Groups          99.205              396              .251
 Total                 108.682              399
*Sig p<0.05

European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

        One way ANOVA in table 3 shows that there are significant differences in the mean scores of
the four groups of the Malaysian ESL learners IHL ranking MS F=12.609, df = 3, 396; p<0.05.
Consequently, the result in Table 3 show the different groups of Malaysian ESL learners in IHL. The
result shows that there is little variation between individual learners within specific groups, but there is
greater variation between the groups. The results of the Tukey test in table 4 also show that there are
significant differences between specific groups.

Table 4:    Tukey test of metacognitive strategies ranking among four groups of Malaysian ESL learners in four

 Source                         Matriculation College   Form Six     Teacher Training Institute   Polytechnic
 N                                      100               100                  100                    100
 Mean                                   3.04              3.08                 3.41                  3.30
 SD                                     .458              .478                 .551                  .509
 Matriculation College                                                           *                     *
 Form Six                                                                        *                     *
 Teacher Training Institute               *                 *
 Polytechnic                              *                 *

        The result from Table 4 were ranked from the highest to the lowest in terms of the four groups
of the Malaysian ESL learners’ ranking MS. The result suggest that out of four groups of learners in
four IHL, the learners from the teacher training Teacher Training Institute and Polytechnic ranked MS
        The students in the Teacher Training Institute and Polytechnic again appear to most perceive
MS as important and thus ranked them highest. This consistency is reflected in the previous sections. It
could be due to the different approach in their syllabus specification which are not emphasized
explicitly in the other two groups of learners. Another possible reason could again be the nature of their
programmed in these two institutions in which the focus is on both components, that is, the theoretical
aspect and also the practical aspect of the course.
        Thus, this reflects that the students from Teacher Training Institute and the Polytechnic differ
from the other two groups in the way they perceived the importance of MS and ranked them highest.

1.6. Summary
In this research every Malaysian student given an equal opportunity to learn English Language in
school and at Higher Learning Institution such as Polytechnics, Teacher Training Institution, Form Six
and Matriculation Colleges. However, some students seem to learn rather easily, while some other
students apparently find learning English fraught with difficulty and are not competent in the language
even after many years of learning. Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) for metacognitive
is important in ESL learning because they are the higher order executive skills that may entail
planning, monitoring, and evaluating the successes of learning activities. In this study analysis of
metacognitive strategy in reading were more focused on categories that mention above. In higher
learning institution as shown in the conceptual framework.
         In general, the use of metacognitive among MSL (mean 3.69) and LSL (mean 3.18) compare
with other strategies. Furthermore, the result shows that significant between four groups of ESL
learners. The differences in meta cognitive among teacher trainee institution and matriculation,
teachers trainee institution and form six students, polytechnic and matriculation and form six with
matriculation. In the other word, we can conclude that teachers trainee institution and polytechnic
shows that highest performance in meta cognitive strategies in English. The reason these two
institutions have higher percentage is because the students have to apply their meta cognitive strategies
in teaching practice for six months at the school. Whereas, polytechnic ESL students go for industrial
training six months and apply the meta cognitive strategies in the working environment. In addition to
                                  European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 4 (2009)

that, different types of meta cognitive strategies as been implemented by students in both institutions
such as over viewing, paying attention, delivering speech production, find out about language learning,
organizing, setting goals and objectives, identifying the purpose of the language task, planning and
seeking the opportunity as well as self monitoring and self evaluating which the students make use of
in learning during their teaching practice and industrial training.

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