Strategies used by successful ESL high school students in Puerto Rico in acquiring oral communicative proficiency in English

Aida A Andino Pratts, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to identify the cognitive and metacognitive strategies used by successful science and mathematics ESL high school students in Puerto Rico in acquiring oral proficiency in English. A second purpose of this study was to establish the relationship among students' strategies, their level of oral proficiency in English, and their self-esteem level. The study was conducted between two levels of oral proficiency in English and two levels of self-esteem with students who had lived all their lives in Puerto Rico in a Spanish-speaking environment. The subjects responded to five questions on their use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies to acquire English oral proficiency in a totally Spanish-speaking environment. Questionnaires were used to identify the students' oral proficiency level in English and their self-esteem level. Data were analyzed using frequency distributions and percentages. These were used to determine the frequency with which the strategies were used, the relationship between self-esteem and the strategies used, and the relationship between English oral proficiency and the strategies used. The results of this investigation indicated that students used a variety of strategies to learn a second language; however, only six strategies were used with more than a 10% frequency. These were repeating, receiving and sending messages, overviewing and linking with already known material, paying attention, self-monitoring, and self-evaluation. In relation to students' self-esteem, the study also indicated that students with low self-esteem had a higher frequency of both cognitive and metacognitive strategies. As for the students' proficiency level, students identified as being limited English proficient indicated a higher frequency than those classified as English proficient. Authority research has indicated that students with high self-esteem make use of more strategies than those with low self-esteem; however, in this study it was the opposite. A possible explanation for this is that this study was conducted with students who were successful in science and mathematics. It is recommended that this study be replicated with an average population.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Curricula|Teaching|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Andino Pratts, Aida A, "Strategies used by successful ESL high school students in Puerto Rico in acquiring oral communicative proficiency in English" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9530940.