An exploratory study for factorial validity of cognitive styles among Japanese adult EFL learners: from educational and cultural perspectives
Exploratory factor analysis
Japanese adult EFL learners
Educational and cultural backgrounds
Special aspects of education
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AbstractAbstract One of the major issues in L2 learning and cognitive styles is the ambiguity of these concepts. A solution to this issue should involve the following two aspects. First, studies of factorial validity should be conducted with empirical data, and with an appropriate analysis using a theoretically well-developed scale. Second, such studies should focus on a particular group of learners, as the learning and cognitive styles could be affected by learners’ cultural and educational backgrounds. This study, focusing particularly on cognitive styles, aims (1) to explore whether the concept of cognitive styles represented in the Ehrman and Leaver Learning Style Questionnaire (Ehrman & Leaver, Ehrman and Leaver Learning Style Questionnaire, 2002) show factorial validity for Japanese adult EFL learners and (2) if it does not, to explain the new factor structure, particularly in terms of Japanese educational and cultural backgrounds. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted for the dataset comprising 362 Japanese adult EFL learners, and the frequency distribution of each extracted factor was also investigated. (1) The result did not support the factorial validity as it extracted three factors different from the original questionnaire: impulsive – reflective (access to actual behavior), active – passive (cognitive engagement), and global – particular (cognitive focus); and (2) the new factor structure is discussed in terms of Japanese backgrounds such as cautious behavior, on which a certain value is often placed in Japanese culture, and the influences of university entrance examinations in the Japanese education system. The last part of the paper describes some pedagogical implications for effective use of the questionnaire in practical situations.