Rosa M. Manchón
October 27, 2008
One of the main claims of the research on language learner strategies is that the ultimate aim of the empirical work conducted in this area is to develop knowledge that can be useful in improving language learning and teaching in second and foreign language classrooms. Yet, attempts at making strategy instruction a central component of instructed language learning remain at the level of isolated initiatives rather than being part of mainstream pedagogical recommendations and practices. The central question that this paper addresses is why, despite the growth over the years in scholarly concern with strategies, advances in the field have not made their way into mainstream foreign language pedagogical thinking. In order to answer this question, I first account for the rationale behind strategy instruction as an approach to language teaching. I then review some of the main concerns that were raised up to the end of the 90's regarding the extrapolation of strategy research findings to the language classroom. This takes me to an analysis of some current developments in strategy theory and research with a view to ascertain their pedagogical relevance. My conclusion is that some headway has been made in the conceptualization of strategies and also in the manner in which the purported benefits of strategy instruction have been put to empirical test. It is also my view that future progress is dependent upon grounding theoretical and empirical work in the field more firmly in current developments in second language acquisition research.