Kate Tzu-Ching Chen, Poyi Hung

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Successful language learning depends on the understanding and manipulation of each individual learner’s learning strategy needs according to their learning style, personality, cognitive type and aptitude (Wenden & Rubin, 1987; Yang, 1999). Due to these aspects, an English learner’s learning style has a significant influence on their selection of learning strategies, which further affects their learning outcomes (Ehrman & Oxford, 1989, 1990; Oxford & Ehrman, 1988). Consequently, armed with such relevant understanding, teachers would be able to assist an individual learner’s needs if the role of their preferred learning style was precisely determined. Therefore, this research was conducted to identify the learning style preferences of students in Taiwan who are undertaking ESP (English for Specific Purposes) courses at university level. The link between their learning style and individual attributes, such as gender, high school background, class, and language learning experience, was also explored. Statistics were obtained through a 30-item survey consisting of Reid’s Perceptual Learning-Style Preference Questionnaire (1984) and a further eight items to ascertain the participants’ background information. A stratified sample of 1,105 ESP learners from 10 schools at undergraduate level in Taiwan was used in this survey. The results indicated that ESP university students in Taiwan preferred kinesthetic and auditory learning styles. The findings revealed that learning style preferences were impacted by certain attributes, particularly gender, class and length of time spent practicing English. Furthermore, pedagogical recommendations and implications regarding learners’ learning style preferences were also presented.

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