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Volume 2 Number 4, Winter 2005, Pages 1-140   

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Is Strategic Competence Teachable?

    Wendy Y.K. Lam

Research into the teaching and learning of speaking in the ESL context is relatively neglected. There have been only a few studies that addressed the need to incorporate the development of strategic competence into the L2 oral classroom (e.g., Cohen, 1998; Dornyei, 1995; Konishi & Tarone, 2004). This paper will report findings from a strategy interventionist study conducted in the secondary English oral classroom in Hong Kong. Based on a psycholinguistic model of speech processing, eight strategies were identified and introduced to the treatment class in the study. A data collection method comprising stimulated recall interviews and observations that aimed to investigate respectively the learning process (i.e., covert thoughts) and the learning product (i.e., overt speech) was employed. A comparison of the findings between the treatment class and the control class which was not exposed to any strategies-based instruction supports the view that not all strategies are equal and that some are more teachable than the others. Specifically, 'Resourcing' seems to function as a 'bedrock strategy' for young L2 speakers. Possible implications for strategy instruction are made with a view to enhancing the development of strategic competence in the L2 classroom.