Gender differences and reading proficiency in relation to learning styles of Chinese undergraduate EFL students
Keywords:Perceptual learning style preferences, gender, English reading proficiency, EFL students, PLSPQ
Students’ learning styles may influence their language learning. The purpose of this study was to explore the distribution of first-year Chinese undergraduate EFL students’ perceptual learning style preferences, and further identify whether their learning styles were impacted by gender and levels of English reading proficiency. Participants were 245 (170 females and 75 males) non-English major undergraduate students learning English as a foreign language (EFL). They were divided into high, moderate and low English reading proficiency groups according to their scores in an English reading comprehension test. Data were collected from a 30-item Perceptual Learning Style Preferences Questionnaire (PLSPQ) (Reid, 1984, 1995). The PLSPQ consists of six style modalities: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Tactile, Group and Individual. Descriptive statistical analyses showed that the participants’ favored styles were Kinesthetic and Tactile, while Group style was the least favored. An independent Samples t-test indicated that male participants differed from female participants in Group style. One-Way ANOVA revealed that there was a significant difference in Group style between high English reading proficiency participants and low English reading proficiency participants. Discussions of the study’s findings are presented. It is recommended that educators take learning styles into consideration when designing learning activities. Limitations of the study as well as recommendations for further research are presented.
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