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The Influence of Level of Extroversion, Locus of Control and Gender on Listening and Reading Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition

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Magdalena Trinder

This book is an investigation into the correlation between level of extroversion, orientation of locus of control and gender. Level of extroversion and gender are widely recognised as key factors influencing the process of Second Language Acquisition, although there remains much debate as to the nature of this influence. Locus of Control has equally been identified as a key predictor of success in academic learning. Taking these points into consideration, the authors analyze the correlation between these three key factors and success in reading and listening on students of English at the university level. The investigation includes both a quantitative analysis and qualitative explanatory interviews.

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Chapter 2 The Individual Factors influencing SLA

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Writing in 1989, the educational researcher Peter Skehan (1989:1) stated that

‘It is striking that the main thrust of this research [into SLA] has been towards establishing how learners are similar, and what processes of learning are universal. Studies of universal grammar or of acquisitional sequences, or of error types, are good examples of this. Such studies are not misguided – in fact, it is research activities in areas such as those just mentioned which has brought about the increased impact of SLA research.’

Thus began the introduction to his book on the Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition, initiating a growing trend to examine the differences between learners, and exactly how those differences might influence the efficacy of the SLA process. In this section, attention will be devoted to these differences, the research which has been conducted to assess their influence on SLA, and the theoretical assumptions that might be made as a result. Owing to the complex nature of these interrelated influences, it was decided to include not just those areas which are of direct interest to the present study, but to investigate the whole spectrum of influences. Part of the reason for this is that, in order to ensure that the group under investigation is as homogenous as possible, it is necessary to be familiar with all the influences and how they interrelate.

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