The English and Foreign Languages University, India
Awareness of apt strategy use helps learners in the development of their English language skills. This study aims to explore the change in the understanding and consequent use of the metacognitive strategy of ‘brainstorming’ in the various stages of group discussions. Six female and twelve male first year students doing their Engineering in Kolkata, India participated in the study. The data was collected through four rounds of one on one semi- structured interviews, five rounds of group discussions, a questionnaire based on their use of the strategies, a strategy use sheet, and classroom observations. The data was analyzed qualitatively and through data triangulation it was found that students were using the strategy of ‘brainstorming’ to organize their arguments in the preparatory stage of the discussion. This is at variance with the meaning and understanding of the strategy as discussed in the literature available. Also, since this strategy was introduced to the learners towards the end of the training programme, it is imperative to determine what strategy the students used to organize their ideas in the earlier rounds of group discussion. This will help to identify the alternative strategies which can be used to address the issue of organization of arguments in group discussions. Other findings and the pedagogical implications of the study have been discussed as well.
Metacognitive strategies, ESL, language learning strategies, brainstorming, engineering students, Indian