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The relationship between student cognitive functioning and curriculum diversification and ethnic culture differences

Keywords: learning strategies , diversification , differentiation , curriculum and instruction , ethnicity , foreign language learning

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Abstract:

This study examines the relationship between student cognitive functioning and curriculum diversification, Arabic-speaking students’ patterns of strategy use, and how Arab learners differ from other ethnic groups in their learning strategy use. The study made use of survey research (research strategy), standardized questionnaires (data collection method), and MANOVA (Lambda) and ANOVA (Scheffé) (data analysis techniques). Working with college EFL students, the results indicate a relationship between course diversification and student use of compensation (but not memory, cognitive, metacognitive, affective, and social) strategies in favour of the scientific track of study. Arab learners were frequent users of metacognitive and social strategies but moderate users of memory, cognitive, compensation, and affective strategies. Disagreement about establishing a relationship between ethnic culture and patterns of strategy use continue. The study casts serious doubt on unmediated deterministic relationships between ethnic culture and cognitive functioning. It recommends more recognition of influential cognitive factors, including curriculum designs, instructional strategies, strategy training, and individual differences as more decisive in learning strategy use than ethnicity. Clear identification of effective cognitive strategies can guide classroom-level and school-level curriculum developments and facilitate curriculum implementation.

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