Article

Decoding Ability in French as a Foreign Language and Language Learning Motivation

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Abstract

This study examined the relationships between decoding ability (the ability to relate graphemes to phonemes) in French as a foreign language, self-reported use of such decoding, and dimensions of motivation, specifically self-efficacy and attribution, among young-beginner learners in England. It investigated whether these factors were related to a desire to continue studying the language beyond the compulsory learning age of 14. Previous research has found low levels of motivation for learning the language after only a few years of instruction and a number of authors have called for research to discover why this should be. With a large stratified sample of participants aged 11-14, decoding ability was elicited via written rhyme and word segmentation tests. Self-efficacy, attribution, perceptions of learning French and use of decoding were elicited via self-reported statements. Findings suggest that, after 3 years of studying French, students were unable to decode accurately even though they claimed to use decoding regularly in a range of language learning tasks. At all stages of learning, students' ability to decode, together with their belief that they could do it, appeared to contribute to the likelihood of their continuing with French study. They attributed inability to decode not to the teacher or teaching method but to the "strangeness" of French. Given the potential generalizability of these results, important implications for teaching and for curriculum review are drawn.

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... Self-related beliefs have now started attracting attention of researchers in the domain of language learning although such interest has been limited (Mercer, 2011a) and mainly related to self-efficacy (e.g. Cochran, McCallum, & Bell, 2010;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Hsieh & Kang, 2010;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). Despite similarities, self-concept and self-efficacy refer to different constructs (Bong & Skaalvik, 2003). ...
... Although research into attributions is not new, publications in this line of inquiry in second language acquisition seem only to have gathered momentum relatively recently (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Gobel & Mori, 2007;Gobel, Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Peacock, 2009;Ushioda, 2001;Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004). Studies have shifted from early pure descriptive studies (e.g. ...
... What is worth noting in these studies is that many of the attributions reported for varying levels of achievement appear to be what Weiner (1992Weiner ( , 2010 terms uncontrollable, regardless of locus of control. Often reported attributions such as competence/ability, attitudes, distraction by other students (Williams & Burden, 1999), assistance from others, poor teaching methods, and strangeness/difficulty of the language (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Williams et al., 2001) all seem to be relatively more uncontrollable. More controllable attribution factors for achievement were also reported in the forms of effort and seeing listening to language (Williams & Burden, 1999). ...
Article
This study explores the relationship between academic self-concept, classroom test performance, and causal attribution for achievement among Turkish students. 267 Year 6 students from six different cities in Turkey participated in the study. Academic self-concept was measured by means of the Myself-As-a-Learner Scale (MALS) while attributions were elicited through a specifically designed attribution questionnaire. Achievement was measured by course achievement tests. Analysis of the data revealed that teacher was the most frequent attribution for test scores followed by ability, interest, and long term effort. Academic self-concept (high vs. low) and test performance (good vs. poor) exerted a main effect but yielded together no interaction effect on attributions. Multiple regression analysis showed that a set of ability attribution, academic self-concept, interest attribution, and teacher attribution were the best predictors of test performance. As the most frequent attributions and predictors of test performance were found to be mainly uncontrollable and stable, this study concludes that knowledge of student attributions and academic self-concept can provide useful information to teachers of English both at the level of prediction and intervention beyond the level of language instruction.
... Research into causal attributions in learning a foreign language is relatively new and limited in the field. The field witnessed an emergence of descriptive studies that attempted to identify common attributions (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Gobel & Mori, 2007;Gobel, Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Peacock, 2009;Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004). Early descriptive studies revealed that firstly learners often appear to attribute their achievement to internal factors while they frequently adhere to external causes for their failure (e.g. ...
... internal vs. external), many of the attributions appear to be uncontrollable (Erten & Burden, 2014). Examples of uncontrollable attributions include competence/ability, attitudes, distraction by other students (Williams & Burden, 1999), assistance from others, poor teaching methods, and strangeness/difficulty of the language (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Williams et al., 2001). ...
... Recent research into causal attributions tried to identify causal links between attributions and achievement through more developed inferential statistical procedures (Cochran, McCallum, & Bell, 2010;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Erten & Burden, 2014;Hashemi & Zahibi, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). Such research has identified strong causal links between achievement and attributions produced by language learners as reasons for their performance in language learning/tests. ...
Chapter
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This study aims to discuss the authenticity of dialogues in locally produced ELT textbooks used in the secondary schools in Turkey. Turkey, like many countries, takes the initiative to produce and use locally written coursebooks approved by the Ministry of Education rather than those by international publishing houses, and these coursebooks are used in state schools. It is a possible drawback, however, that most of the government-issued coursebooks may fail to introduce natural, appropriate and correct use of language. This study attempts to explore whether the spoken discourse presented in dialogues in locally produced ELT coursebooks are authentic and genuine. Accordingly, a number of coursebooks are used to collect core language teaching texts to be evaluated via the corpus and the views of native speakers of English. The coursebook dialogues are compared with their authentic equivalents so as to collect, classify and exemplify the main and significant differences. Acknowledging the advantages of national coursebook projects, the study highlights the importance of effective use of the corpus and editing by native speakers for textbook writers particularly in English as a foreign language contexts.
... Although interest into personal attributions to one's performance is not new, the topic has only recently started to attract some attention in the field of second language learning and teaching (e.g. Williams & Burden, 1999: Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001Ushioda, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004;Gobel & Mori, 2007;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Peacock, 2009;Gobel & Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Erler & Macaro, 2011, Erten & Burden, 2014. ...
... Descriptive studies report that learners generally tend to attribute internal attributions for success and external attributions for failure. Internal attributions for success often include effort while failure is attributed to lack of effort, distraction from others, or difficulty of the language (Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams et al., 2001;Erler & Macaro, 2011). However, such a tendency does not seem to be universal. ...
... More recently, studies adopting inferential research methodologies appear to have established a link between attributions and language learning achievement (Cochran, McCallum, Bell, 2010;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011;Hashemi & Zabihi, 2011;Erten and Burden, 2014) as well as learners' willingness to continue learning a foreign language (Erler and Macaro, 2011). In such studies, the controllability dimension often appears to be closely linked to achievement as those factors that seemed to predict achievement were more than often uncontrollable attributes such as ability (Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Erten & Burden, 2014), luck, mood, and task difficulty (Hashemi & Zabihi, 2011;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011;Erten & Burden, 2014), although effort as a controllable attribution was also reported to be a predictor of success (Hashemi & Zabihi, 2011;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). ...
... Research into causal attributions in learning a foreign language is relatively new and limited in the field. The field witnessed an emergence of descriptive studies that attempted to identify common attributions (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Gobel & Mori, 2007;Gobel, Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Peacock, 2009;Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004). Early descriptive studies revealed that firstly learners often appear to attribute their achievement to internal factors while they frequently adhere to external causes for their failure (e.g. ...
... internal vs. external), many of the attributions appear to be uncontrollable (Erten & Burden, 2014). Examples of uncontrollable attributions include competence/ability, attitudes, distraction by other students (Williams & Burden, 1999), assistance from others, poor teaching methods, and strangeness/difficulty of the language (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Williams et al., 2001). ...
... Recent research into causal attributions tried to identify causal links between attributions and achievement through more developed inferential statistical procedures (Cochran, McCallum, & Bell, 2010;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Erten & Burden, 2014;Hashemi & Zahibi, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). Such research has identified strong causal links between achievement and attributions produced by language learners as reasons for their performance in language learning/tests. ...
Chapter
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Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) has been used widely in research within the field of applied linguistics; however, the unidimensionality of this scale within the context of Iran has not been tested so far. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the validity and psychometric properties of a new Persian adaptation of the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale. The scale was translated into Persian and administered to 330 undergraduate students studying general English (232 females, 98 males). Rasch rating scale model analysis on the original 33 items of the scale revealed only 26 items fit the model. Furthermore, principal components analysis identified that that the infit items of Rasch analysis had either factor loadings less than .40 or cross-loaded on another factor. Finally, the findings of the confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the 26 items loaded on the first factor showed a good fit index. Therefore, the unidemsionality of FLCAS was robust with 26 items within the context of Iran.
... It has been strongly advocated by people such as Lynn Erler (2004), following her seminal research in this area, and Rachel Hawkes via her popular language pedagogy website 2 . We also know that in the absence of explicit phonics instruction, many Key Stage 3 MFL students are poor at phonological decoding in French (they are error-prone and unconfident when reading aloud) and make little or no progress in this area, even over a period of years (Erler & Macaro, 2012;Woore, 2009Woore, , 2016. They do not seem to pick up French decoding incidentally, simply through exposure to the spoken and written language. ...
... 36-37). On the other hand, Erler and Macaro (2012) did find that a majority of MFL students in their large-scale national survey at Key Stage 3 said that they sounded out French words that they did not recognize when reading -although how successfully, we do not know. Further, evidence is beginning to emerge that accurate phonological decoding is linked to motivation for language learning more broadly (Erler & Macaro, 2012) and that it helps foreign language learners in the allimportant task of vocabulary acquisition, both intentional and incidental (e.g. ...
... On the other hand, Erler and Macaro (2012) did find that a majority of MFL students in their large-scale national survey at Key Stage 3 said that they sounded out French words that they did not recognize when reading -although how successfully, we do not know. Further, evidence is beginning to emerge that accurate phonological decoding is linked to motivation for language learning more broadly (Erler & Macaro, 2012) and that it helps foreign language learners in the allimportant task of vocabulary acquisition, both intentional and incidental (e.g. Hamada & Koda, 2008. ...
... Research in achievement attributions in the field of SLA has only recently gained proliferation (e.g. Erler & Macaro, 2011;Erten and Burden, 2014;Gobel & Mori, 2007; ELT Research Journal Gobel & Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Peacock, 2009;Ushioa, 2001;Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004 ). ...
... Distraction by other students, difficulty of language learning, poor teaching, and not concentrating were perceived causes of not doing so well. Erler and Macaro (2011) identified strangeness of French and not making efforts as the main causes for not doing well. In another study, Williams, Burden, and Al-Baharna (2001) inform us that their 25 participants learning English also manifested that their success was due to their effort (practice), help from others (family and teachers), seeing and listening to the language, and having a positive attitude, while the causes of failure were seen as poor teaching methods, lack of support from others, poor comprehension and negative attitude. ...
... More recently, studies employing more robust inferential techniques of statistical analysis identified causal relationships between attributions and achievement in foreign language learning (Cochran et al., 2010;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Erten & Burden, 2014;Hashemi & Zahibi, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). Despite the fact that earlier descriptive studies reported attributions by language learners to more controllable/internal/unstable factors (see above), unexpectedly recent studies often reported the fact that only uncontrollable/stable attribution factors such as ability (Hsieh & Schallert, 2008); luck and mood (Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011), task difficulty (Hashemi & Zahibi, 2011), and ability, interest, and teacher (Erten & Burden, 2014) appear to be explaining significant unique variance in learner's achievement measures, highlighting a causal relationship between these attribution factors and achievement, and a self-critical tendency in oriental cultures. ...
Article
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This study sought to elucidate how female and male learners of English tend to explain their achievement in their English classes. The study also investigated whether age exerts an impact on to what achievement in English is ascribed. To do this, a composite instrument was administered to a total of 578 learners (Mean age = 14.33, SD = 2.08) of English across five cities in Turkey. A total of 262 students were from the 6 th grade while 313 were studying English at the 10 th grade. Of participants, 336 were female while 238 were male. The composite instrument elicited participants' achievement attributions after the release of their latest English exam results. An analysis of the data revealed that both groups identified the teacher input as the most important attribution for their achievement although the 10 th graders reported a much lower mean value for the teacher factor. A further multivariate analysis of variance revealed significant main and interaction effects of both gender and age (class) on majority of attributions manifested for the test performance. The results suggest that when there is a change in attributions, the change may be related mostly to changes in attributions of female participants from 6th Grade to 10th grade, implying a much stronger puberty effect on female learners of English. The results are discussed and suggestions are made in relation to current literature.
... These two causal attributions produce very different results. If a failure is explained through a 'maladaptive' or negative attribution like low-ability -a factor which the individual cannot control -future achievement behaviour is thwarted because the person feels he/she has no means to improve it; on the other hand, if a failure is explained by means of a positive or 'adaptive' attribution such as effort -which is a factor that the individual can control -future successful behaviour is highly encouraged because the person feels he/she is in position to take control of the learning process with the possibility of improving achievement (Erler, Macaro 2011). Attributions can be linked to the theory of self-efficacy, developed by Bandura (as quoted in Erler, Macaro 2011). ...
... If a failure is explained through a 'maladaptive' or negative attribution like low-ability -a factor which the individual cannot control -future achievement behaviour is thwarted because the person feels he/she has no means to improve it; on the other hand, if a failure is explained by means of a positive or 'adaptive' attribution such as effort -which is a factor that the individual can control -future successful behaviour is highly encouraged because the person feels he/she is in position to take control of the learning process with the possibility of improving achievement (Erler, Macaro 2011). Attributions can be linked to the theory of self-efficacy, developed by Bandura (as quoted in Erler, Macaro 2011). Bandura claims that «efficacy beliefs are the foundation of human agency» (as quoted in Dörnyei, Ushioda 2011, p. 16). ...
... Bandura claims that «efficacy beliefs are the foundation of human agency» (as quoted in Dörnyei, Ushioda 2011, p. 16). The concept of self-efficacy refers to the learner's judgement of his/her competence or ability to fulfil a specific task and, as a consequence, his/her perceived sense of efficacy will not only guide the selection of activities attempted, but also regulate the effort and persistence devoted in proportion to the results he/she is expecting from the enterprise (Dörnyei, Ushioda 2011;Erler, Macaro 2011). 1.4 The L2 Motivational Self System Dörnyei (2005) and Dörnyei (2005a, 2005b) introduced the new construct of the L2 Motivational Self System as a reconceptualization of Gardner's integrative motive. ...
Article
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An investigation was carried out on pupils who attend classes in rural secondary middle schools in the north of the province of Pordenone in order to determine their motivation in language learning. It was a mixed-method research, since quantitative questionnaires and qualitative interviews have been adopted in order to collect the data. The research is interpretative in nature because the data have been interpreted only through the use of descriptive statistical methods. Four aspects have emerged from the study. First, lack of interest in the English course seems to be the main problem regarding the pupils’ language learning motivation. Second, pupils are not exposed to English sufficiently in their everyday lives. Third, the position of Second Year pupils, who represent a sort of grey area, would appear to be the most critical of the Middle School pupils. Lastly, the position of the female pupils who, in general, tend to be more demanding than the male pupils.
... Another category within linguistics that is particularly imperative to SLA, but often considered secondary, is phonetics. Several researchers (Erler, 2004;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Woore, 2009) have suggested that implicit teaching of phonetics and phonology does not work. This is especially so where an English L1 is attempting to learn French L2, two phonologically "deep" Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPC, otherwise known as Phonological Awareness [PA]) systems (Erler, & Macaro, 2011). ...
... Several researchers (Erler, 2004;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Woore, 2009) have suggested that implicit teaching of phonetics and phonology does not work. This is especially so where an English L1 is attempting to learn French L2, two phonologically "deep" Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPC, otherwise known as Phonological Awareness [PA]) systems (Erler, & Macaro, 2011). ...
... This could be because of the tendency to rely on students gaining this information implicitly, as Woore suggested thus, he recommended explicitly teaching phonological decoding. Lynn Erler (2004;Erler & Macaro, 2011) had found similar results and concluded that decoding required firm knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondence (PA) gained through explicit teaching of this. Additionally the studies pointed to two surprising outcomes linked to poor decoding ability in learning French as an L2 or foreign language: Motivation, and self-efficacy in the language were significantly affected by it. ...
Article
Textbooks are a common resource for teachers in a variety of content areas, as such it is important that teachers know whether or not textbooks are aligned to standards and current research. This study investigates if common textbooks, reported to be in use in schools across Connecticut, are aligned to recent second language acquisition and French linguistics studies.
... Research into causal attributions in learning a foreign language is relatively new and limited in the field. The field witnessed an emergence of descriptive studies that attempted to identify common attributions (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Gobel & Mori, 2007;Gobel, Mori, Thang, Kan, & Lee, 2011;Peacock, 2009;Williams & Burden, 1999;Williams, Burden, & Al-Baharna, 2001;Williams, Burden, Poulet, & Maun, 2004). Early descriptive studies revealed that firstly learners often appear to attribute their achievement to internal factors while they frequently adhere to external causes for their failure (e.g. ...
... internal vs. external), many of the attributions appear to be uncontrollable (Erten & Burden, 2014). Examples of uncontrollable attributions include competence/ability, attitudes, distraction by other students (Williams & Burden, 1999), assistance from others, poor teaching methods, and strangeness/difficulty of the language (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Williams et al., 2001). ...
... Recent research into causal attributions tried to identify causal links between attributions and achievement through more developed inferential statistical procedures (Cochran, McCallum, & Bell, 2010;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Erten & Burden, 2014;Hashemi & Zahibi, 2011;Hsieh & Schallert, 2008;Pishghadam & Zabihi, 2011). Such research has identified strong causal links between achievement and attributions produced by language learners as reasons for their performance in language learning/tests. ...
... Les 330 heures d'enseignement de FLE dispensées sur plus de quatre ans de scolarité ne permettent pas aux apprenants de maîtriser les CPG en FLE par une méthode communicative. Or les méthodes actuelles d'enseignement en langues étrangères postulent que les CPG seraient implicitement acquises lors d'activités communicatives développées avec un support écrit (Erler & Macaro, 2011). La présente étude semble indiquer au contraire que cette acquisition est laborieuse et difficile, en particulier pour les élèves avec moins de capacité d'apprentissage car la probabilité de faire des erreurs est significativement différente entre les niveaux de classe pour les apprenants de FLE. ...
... Par conséquent, deux postulats de la didactique communicative devraient être remis en question. Premièrement, ils semblent que les CPG ne s'acquièrent pas facilement en L2 lorsqu'elles ne sont pas enseignées (Erler & Macaro, 2011) contrairement aux présupposés des didactiques communicatives. La présente étude confirme ces résultats. ...
Conference Paper
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Cette étude vise à mesurer l’acquisition des relations phono-graphémiques chez des apprenants de français langue étrangère (=FLE) en contexte scolaire et à identifier d’éventuelles interférences entre la langue des apprenants (allemand) et la langue en cours d’acquisition (français). En effet, la recherche a montré que l’activation des systèmes phonologiques relatifs aux langues de l’apprenant n’était pas spécifique. Cette co-activation peut produire des interférences pouvant limiter l’apprentissage des correspondances phono-graphémiques de la langue étrangère. 45 ado-lescents francophones et 45 germanophones ont participé à cette étude. Ils devaient identifier la forme graphémique d’un stimulus oral dans une tâche de dictée composée de 47 pseudo-mots susceptibles de générer des interfé-rences cross-linguistiques. Les résultats analysés par une étude descriptive et des modèles statistiques multiniveaux ont montré qu’après 330 heures de leçons de français les apprenants germanophones identifient correctement 50% des formes écrites, que leur probabilité de se tromper est toujours si-gnificativement supérieure à celle d’un francophone, que les voyelles nasa-les du français sont les phonèmes dont les CPG sont les plus difficiles à identifier pour des germanophones et les plus faciles pour des francopho-nes, et que les erreurs commises lors de l’écriture des voyelles nasales sont principalement des erreurs phonologiques. Ces résultats semblent indiquer qu’il existe des interférences fortes entre les deux langues des apprenants qui limitent l’acquisition implicite des correspondances phono-graphémiques. Les implications de ces résultats sont mises en perspective pour la didactique du FLE en milieu scolaire.
... Furthermore, several graphemes might represent one vowel, and one vowel grapheme might represent several vowels. In foreign language learning contexts, English pupils learning French show difficulties in vowel decoding (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Woore, 2014). Regarding real word decoding, a high variety of spellings for the representation of one vowel was observed. ...
... Taken together, the results confirm that a wide range of solutions are decoded and produced in L2 vowel spelling, that a number of errors occur due to transfer of the WL1, and that these difficulties persist over several years of foreign language teaching (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Woore, 2014). Our results also confirm the Orthographic Distance Effect (Koda, 2005), as spelling patterns of vowels with phonological and/or orthographic overlap in the respective languages differ. ...
Article
Cross-language transfer in vowel spelling is difficult to detect because the relation between a vowel and its grapheme is often ambiguous within a writing system and the interpretation of transfer complex. This study examined French spelling patterns of German fourth graders with French as Foreign language cross-linguistically by applying a fine-grained measure to the differences in spelling, tested with a dictation. The study differentiated between phonologically and graphematically joint vs. unshared vowel graphemes in French and German and the contribution of each category to transfer. Instead of testing orthographic knowledge as in applying the orthographic norm correctly, it used the model of the ‘graphematic solution space' [Neef, M. (2015). Writing systems as modular objects: Proposals for theory design in grapholinguistics. Open Linguistics, 1(1), 708–721.] that takes into account spelling that is graphematically licensed within the involved writing system. The analysis distinguished between poor and good German spellers to get insights on the relation of the pupils’ competence in the German and French spelling. Results showed an influence of the phonological and graphematic overlap in the spelling patterns, but also inconsistencies with both writing systems. The findings challenge statistical learning in multilingual contexts as the produced graphotactic patterns are rather French-like than French.
... Focused strategy instruction in L2 listening (Graham & Macaro 2008), L2 writing (Mills & Peron 2009), L2 reading (Matsumoto et al. 2013), shown to promote learners' self-efficacy. Also see Erler & Macaro (2011). Attribution theory (Weiner 1986) The reasons (attributions) learners give for their failures and successes can determine how motivated they will be to continue study. ...
... No intervention studies are known in L2 education, but a large-scale 3-year cross-sectional study (Erler & Macaro 2011) shows poor decoding ability in French is associated with maladaptive attributions and low self-efficacy in UK school pupils. ...
Article
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Motivation is recognised as a vital component in successful second language learning, and has been the subject of intensive research in recent decades. This review focuses on a growing branch of this research effort, that which examines the motivational effects of language teaching. This is pertinent because, despite enhanced mobility and expanding access to foreign languages online, most learners’ early encounters with the L2 still take place in classrooms, and these encounters may shape attitudes and determine their willingness to invest further in the L2. Four main types of research are reviewed: first, that which deliberately seeks to identify and evaluate strategies to motivate L2 learners; second, that which has tested the validity of psychological theories of motivation by applying their precepts in L2 classrooms; third, that which assesses the motivational effects of a pedagogical innovation or intervention; fourth, research on what has been too often the unintended outcome of language education, namely learner demotivation. The review highlights the complexity of the relationship between teaching and learner motivation, but an attempt is made to articulate some emerging verities, and to point towards the most promising avenues for future research.
... Learners' disaffection in England has also been attributed to the low 'value' or importance they attach to language study (Blenkinsop et al. 2006) and to the perceived difficulty they associate with it (Erler and Macaro 2011;Graham 2004). These two factors correspond to what one might call both halves of expectancy-value models of motivation (as outlined, for example, in Wigfield and Eccles 2000): expectations of success, alongside perceived value in achieving such success, with value not restricted to its instrumental sense but including interest and enjoyment. ...
Article
This article considers the issue of low levels of motivation for foreign language learning in England by exploring how language learning is conceptualised by different key voices in that country through the examination of written data: policy documents and reports on the UK's language needs, curriculum documents and press articles. The extent to which this conceptualisation has changed over time is explored, through the consideration of documents from two time points, before and after a change in government in the UK. The study uses corpus analysis methods in this exploration. The picture that emerges is a complex one regarding how the ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ surrounding language learning in that context are presented in public discourse. This, we conclude, has implications for the likely success of measures adopted to increase language learning uptake in that context.
... By Year 6 (age 11) the number had decreased to 74.6%. Some learners considered lessons 'boring' and became frustrated with repeating the same content and making 'baby steps' of progress, a finding which mirrors Erler and Macaro's (2011) assertion that a lack of a sense of progress undermines motivation in early secondary school. Gender is also related to issues of motivation. ...
Article
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The present longitudinal study examines the interaction of learner variables (gender, motivation, self-efficacy, and first language literacy) and their influence on second language learning outcomes. The study follows English learners of French from Year 5 in primary school (aged 9–10) to the first year in secondary school (Year 7; aged 11–12). Language outcomes were measured by two oral production tasks, a sentence repetition task and a photo description task, both of which were administered at three time points. Longitudinal data on learner attitudes and motivation were collected via questionnaires. Teacher assessment data for general first language literacy attainment were also provided. The results show a great deal of variation in learner attitudes and outcomes and that there is a complex relationship between first language literacy, self-efficacy, gender, and attainment. For example, in general, girls held more positive attitudes to boys and were more successful. However, the inclusion of first language ability, which explained 29–39 per cent of variation, shows that gender differences in attitudes and outcomes are likely mediated by first language literacy and prior learning experience.
... Indeed, studies of older secondary school language learners in England (i.e. 12-16 years of age) suggest that finding languages difficult and low self-efficacy regarding future success are key aspects of learners' decision to give up language study (Graham, 2004;Erler & Macaro, 2011). These factors seem to exert greater influence on learners' decision-making than any doubt in their minds about the 'importance' of language learning, contrary to popular views and those expressed in the UK media (Graham & Santos, 2015). ...
Article
The transition from primary to secondary school is an area of concern across a range of curriculum subjects and this is no less so for foreign language learning. Indeed problems with transition have been identified in England as an important barrier to the introduction of language learning to the primary school curriculum, with implications for learners’ longer-term motivation for the subject. This longitudinal study investigated, through a questionnaire, the development of 233 learners’ motivation for learning French in England, during the transition from primary to secondary schooling. It also explored whether levels and patterns of motivation differed according to the type of language teaching experienced, comparing a largely oracy-focused approach with one with greater emphasis on literacy activities. Learners showed high and increasing levels of motivation across transition, placing particular value on learning French for travel. Being taught through an oracy or a literacy-focused approach had less impact on learners’ motivation than broader classroom experiences, with the development of a sense of progress and feeling that instruction met their learning needs being especially important. A growing disjuncture emerged between valuing the learning of French for travel/communication and learners’ low levels of self-efficacy for communication with native speakers, together with a desire for more communication-based activities. By the end of the first year of secondary school less positive attitudes towards learning French and less optimism about the possibility of future progress were beginning to emerge. The paper concludes by outlining the implications of the study for classroom practice in language learning.
... A frequently quoted pessimistic report by Burstall (1974) is just one historical example of such tendentious expectations in the UK-based context, when the disparaging evaluation of pupils' attainment in a foreign language (French) led to a gradual abandonment of foreign language education in the primary curriculum in British schools. As there have been efforts to reinstate languages at school, expectations of attainment of language fluency persist, which is shown by later studies and policy documents in the United Kingdom (DfE, 2013;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Graham, Courtney, Tonkyn, & Marinis, 2016;McLachlan, 2009;Mitchell, 2003;Scottish Government, 2010. ...
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In this paper, I offer a critical reflection on the thesis of the general educational value of foreign languages developed by Russian linguist Lev Vladimirovich Shcherba. I do so against the background of current debates on the positioning of foreign languages in the school curriculum in the United Kingdom (UK). I argue that Shcherba's thesis, which was developed almost a century ago, retains its currency and can make an important contribution to the on-going discussion on the value of foreign languages in UK schools. The paper outlines Shcherba's scholarly explorations in general linguistics which underpin his arguments in favour of the inclusion of foreign languages in the basic school curriculum. The conception of language as a system immanently positioned in social experience assigns the foundational role to language in the literacy project. The conscious analytic processing of language phenomena is viewed as an essential pre-condition of literacy, and foreign languages are shown to be instrumental in developing such an analytic capacity of mind. Shcherba's argumentation reflects a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, both to foreign language education and to curriculum matters, and merits the attention of language practitioners, educationalists and policy-makers alike.
... Integrating local or Javanese culture into TISOL learning can also be used to bridge the need for cultural identification and to improve communication skills for foreign students in TISOL programs at universities based on Javanese culture and language [6]. The systematic and planned Javanese language learning makes foreign students ready and able to accept lectures thoroughly [7]. Instructional materials used in TISOL learning accompanied by recording some Javanese cultural events to provide early knowledge to foreign students. ...
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Teaching Indonesian to Speakers of Other Languages (TISOL) program is increasingly in demand by people in various parts of the world. Foreign students learn a lot of Indonesian language in major cities in Indonesia. The purpose of this study is to explain the cultural and social changes of foreign students in Indonesia, especially in Java, which is following TISOL program. This study focused on the influence of Javanese culture on foreign students studying Indonesian in Java. Research method used is descriptive qualitative with ethnography approach. This research was conducted in TISOL program organized by in Central Java, East Java, and Yogyakarta. Sources of data used are documents and informants. The sampling technique used is purposive sampling. Purposive sampling is considered more capable to obtain complete data in the face of various realities. Data collection techniques are done by reviewing documents or records using content analysis techniques. Other techniques used are interview techniques with some students and lecturers to get data about the factors that affect the cultural and social changes of foreign students in Indonesia. Also, interviews were also conducted with teachers to request a different process in TISOL. The most common way used to improve validity in qualitative research is the triangulation technique. In this study used triangulation theory, triangulation method, and review of informants. The results show that using Javanese culture is very influential in the cultural and social changes of foreign students in Indonesia. Students become more enthusiastic and active in responding to learning in TISOL that is influenced by Javanese culture. The change comes from internal and external students. This change helps foreign students to understand Indonesian language and culture more comprehensively.
... Bandura (2006, 307) defines perceived self-efficacy as people's beliefs in their capabilities and explains how these beliefs are connected to different realms of functioning that will organize specific actions to produce given attainments. In language learning, these beliefs can be those related to what students think about things such as their ability to understand the L2, to get good grades, or to deal with situations in the target language (Erler and Macaro 2011). ...
Article
The connections between music and language are still to be clarified in educational terms; despite the great deal of literature on the common mechanisms underlying their working in learning, memory, and some other related factors, there is not robust research on their combined potential. Educational bilingualism and musical instruction have been shown to facilitate reading in a foreign language. Our study intends to throw light on their potential for reading in a second language and the relationship they keep to self-efficacy, a key factor in such a complex realm as learning a foreign language. The silent reading of 252 Spanish secondary school students was examined to show if bilingual instruction, music training, and self-efficacy influenced second language silent reading fluency (L2 SRF). Our ANOVA analysis shows bilingual instruction having the strongest influence of the three groups analysed, followed by the music training and the standard group. Self-efficacy was also included in the MANOVA model as a covariate and was shown to have an influence on L2 SRF. The study also revealed a significant influence of bilingual and musical instruction on self-efficacy, which may partially account for their effect on L2 SRF.
... Also common to those contexts are relatively low levels of motivation for and persistence with foreign language learning; for example, in England, fewer than 50% of high-school learners choose to continue with language study beyond the compulsory phase (13-14 years of age). According to some researchers, learners' lack of persistence in pursuing language study in England is attributable, at least in part, to low levels of self-efficacy and a poor sense of progress in language learning (e.g., Erler & Macaro, 2011), even among those whose level of achievement is high when measured by national examination results (Graham, 2004). This last point suggests that a focus on raising learning outcomes alone is not sufficient to encourage learners to continue language study. ...
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Reading in a foreign language has value for learners as a potentially rich source of input as well as enjoyment. It requires persistence, however. Within models of self-regulated learning, persistence relates to learners’ self-efficacy and use of strategies to aid task completion and regulation of engagement. Yet the relationship between self-efficacy and self-regulatory strategies is underexplored for L2 reading, despite some intervention studies finding that instruction aimed at improving strategy use positively influences self-efficacy. The current study investigated the relationship between what we called text engagement regulatory reading strategies (TERRS) and reading self-efficacy among 529 beginner learners of French. It also explored whether different learner profiles exist with respect to that relationship, and how far learners of different profiles benefited in respect of reading self-efficacy from three instructional approaches: phonics instruction plus the use of challenging texts; strategy-based instruction, using the same texts; and using the texts only (no explicit phonics or strategy instruction). The use of TERRS was an important predictor of reading self-efficacy and central to three distinct learner profile clusters. Increases in reading self-efficacy were significantly greater for learners of certain profiles who received strategy-based instruction, with implications for theories of self-regulated language learning and classroom practice.<br/
... Hernández (2010) The relationship among motivation, interaction, and the development of second language oral proficiency in a study-abroad context 28. Erler and Macaro (2011) Decoding ability and motivation in French 29. Ambivalence about communicating in a L2 30. ...
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This study attempts to synthesise the scholarship on second language (L2) motivation and systematically examines the theoretical approaches, methods, research instruments, and learning contexts found in recent research published between 2010 and 2019. Following a comprehensive survey of six influential, high-impact journals in the field, 100 motivation studies were identified that met our eligibility criteria. The publications were coded for the samples, research paradigms, methodological approaches, frameworks, data collection methods, and reporting practices (e.g. piloting, reliability estimates). Frequencies and percentages of publication characteristics were then calculated. Among other results (e.g. the need to look at motivation from the Global South perspectives, development of different theoretical approaches, the rise of qualitative research), the study revealed that the vast majority of publications employ the L2 Motivational Self System model as an analytical framework and this orientation relates to its adaptability to different applied contexts. Methodologically, although studies in this domain differ in reporting of instrumentation, real improvements in terms of methodological quality and transparency in reporting practices, particularly regarding effect sizes, are recommended. In addition, although the motivational publications most often employ quantitative methods to collect data, future explorations need to embrace innovative research methods (such as idiodynamics, Q methodology, retrodictive qualitative modelling) in order to investigate motivational dynamics. The study concludes with useful directions for future motivation research.
... 34) and public opinion, in general, is indifferent to language learning. While Erler and Macaro (2011) estimate that 'motivation for L2 learning in England, particularly among young adolescents, is low' (p. 496), Ellis (2008) acknowledges motivation as 'the major determining success in L2 learning' (p. ...
... In the present study, learners with high scores of ideal L2 self attribute their performance to the teacher, which contrasts the internal nature of having a clear ideal L2 self. That is, learners who cling on uncontrollable reasons, such as teacher, might be inclined to abandon improving their language skills in the future (Erler & Macaro, 2011). In fact, those developing a clear vision are expected to hold more onto controllable and unstable reasons. ...
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This study examines whether learners’ (high vs. low) ‘ideal L2 self’ exerts an effect on causal attributions and which of these causal attributions could predict future L2 achievement. To this end, 1006 EFL students were invited from a state university in Ankara, Turkey. The data were collected with an attribution scale composed of 29 questions and with a questionnaire containing 10 items measuring learners’ ideal L2 self. The researchers also collected the students’ achievement scores to measure the predictive power of causal attributions. The impact of high and low ideal L2 self on causal attributions was analyzed through MANOVA and the prediction power of these attributions for achievement was measured through regression analysis using SPSS 23. It was found that learners’ ideal L2 self (high vs. low) influenced causal attributions, including ability, school system, teacher, family and classroom environment. It was also found that the attribution to effort, luck and ability are the best predictors of future exam scores of learners. These predictors could provide insightful implications for EFL teachers with regard to the actions they can take in order to diagnose motivationally at risk students and to boost their motivation through effective designs of interventions embedded into the curriculum.
... Another crucial factor impacting the success of vocabulary acquisition is learners' intrinsic motivation to acquire the second language (Laufer & Hulstijn, 2001). Low motivation for and uptake of language learning have been linked to low levels of proficiency, self-efficacy, L2 confidence and enjoyment of learning the second language (Erler & Macaro, 2011;Graham, 2004). Indeed, there is evidence that learners who choose to pursue a language post-16 cite an intrinsic interest in the language and its culture for making that choice (Fisher 2001;Graham, 2004). ...
Article
This paper presents the rationale for Linguistic Creativity in Language Learning, a classroom-based research project. The project investigates the impact of using literary texts on learners’ second language literacy, motivation and linguistic and non-linguistic creativity. It also explores how different teaching approaches (‘creative’ versus ‘functional’) may modulate the effects of exposure to texts. The participants in the study are learners of French and German in English secondary schools in Year 9 (age 14). The initial pilot study results presented in this paper suggest that learners view language learning as difficult but generally worthwhile, and express an interest in experiencing ‘real-life’ applications of the second language. The project aims to address this need by generating practical advice for novel teaching methods using authentic text materials in the second language classroom.
... Examination of pedagogic orientations (oracy-led -Mitchell & Myles, 2019; oracy versus oracy plus literacy - Graham et al., 2017;literacy -Porter, 2019) have demonstrated potential short-term outcomes across all four skills, with Graham's study noting that an oracy plus literacy approach did not enhance linguistic (oral) outcomes. Those exploring specific pedagogic tools (phonics/reading strategies - Macaro & Mutton, 2009;Macaro & Erler, 2011;Woore et al., 2018) have found that they positively influence learner self-efficacy and language learning motivation. Results confirm that specific teacher factors (linguistic confidence/proficiency) and the learning experience (curriculum time, age-appropriate pedagogic tools, learner autonomy) affect outcomes and learner attitudes and motivation ). ...
Article
Foreign language (FL) learning in English primary schools, statutory provision for most schools since 2014, has been characterised by distinct challenges. The first issue, peculiar to Anglophone settings, concerns how language learning is valued when ubiquitous English learning rationales of economic and social capital are unhelpful. Other challenges, shared globally, relate to provision and practice such as: the importance of progression, motivation, age-appropriate pedagogy and contextual factors. Successful policy implementation in England remains elusive and continues to be characterised by a lack of cohesion, coordination and forward planning. Provision and practice are problematic and linked to deficits in curriculum time, teacher linguistic expertise, planning and progression. This article will explore how both language and broader education policy in England have created conflicting forces for the sustainability of the foreign languages initiative in primary schools. It will examine how networks of researchers, teachers, educationalists and policy makers are supporting implementation through national and local education stakeholder engagement. Through collaboration and co-construction, research-informed practical suggestions are promoted, coupled with the development of solution-focused research agendas.
... Yet the dichotomy of motivation has long been criticized as insufficient for people who might have never got the opportunity to enter an English-speaking environment, thus incapable of explaining the motivational phenomenon observed of those people. Therefore, the extension of the exploration of motivation to education was initiated, which identifies three important elements in motivation: the learner, the subject and the learning environment (Bandura, 1993;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Pintrich & Schunk, 1996;Weiner, 1986). Meanwhile, Dörnyei (1994) found that motivation for language learning is not so clear-cut as to fall within the split of integrative and instrumental orientation. ...
Chapter
A lot of research has been conducted about the development of ESP over the past 50 years. From register analysis to genre analysis passing by needs analysis and the learner-centered approach, researchers have come up with many theories that inform about the field, and that ESP practitioners can use to meet their learners’ specific needs and expectations. Nevertheless, researchers agree that one of the most constraining factors to the progress of ESP as a component of ELT is the lack of specialized teacher training. Teaching ESP requires special competencies different from those needed in General English; however, few university language curricula take ESP education into consideration, and separate departments for ESP teacher training have not yet been created. This study builds on the works of Bhatia (1999) and Mahapatra (2011) to highlight the need and significance of ESP teacher training in Senegal, West Africa. A review of the literature showed that ESP practitioners face similar challenges in developing countries and the results of the survey revealed a need to prepare Senegalese instructors working in content-specific areas to teach ESP effectively in order to produce graduates that meet the labor market’s requirements and expectations.
... Yet the dichotomy of motivation has long been criticized as insufficient for people who might have never got the opportunity to enter an English-speaking environment, thus incapable of explaining the motivational phenomenon observed of those people. Therefore, the extension of the exploration of motivation to education was initiated, which identifies three important elements in motivation: the learner, the subject and the learning environment (Bandura, 1993;Erler & Macaro, 2011;Pintrich & Schunk, 1996;Weiner, 1986). Meanwhile, Dörnyei (1994) found that motivation for language learning is not so clear-cut as to fall within the split of integrative and instrumental orientation. ...
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This edited book focuses on current practices, challenges and innovations in the emerging field of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). By combining diverse, empirically-proven and innovative ESP practices from all over the world with inspiring theoretical input and reflections from experienced practitioners, the authors in this volume examine both best-practice examples and ESP programmes which by various metrics are deemed to have failed. This book will be of interest to practitioners, teacher educators and researchers working in the field of ESP, as well as readers interested in language education and curriculum development more broadly. Nalan Kenny is a language teacher specialising in English as an Additional Language at King’s Leadership Academy in Liverpool, UK. She is Vice President of the International ESP Teachers’ Association (IESPTA). Elvan Eda Işık-Taş is an applied linguist who teaches in the TEFL and Modern Languages programmes at Middle East Technical University (METU), Cyprus. She is President of the International ESP Teachers’ Association (IESPTA). Huang Jian is an applied linguist and Associate Professor at the School of Foreign Studies, Central University of Finance and Economics, China. His academic interests lie in material development for language and translation instruction and assessment, ESP teacher development and Qualitative Research.
... However, little is known about the efficacy of particular approaches to teaching literacy in FL school settings such as in the UK. Research has found that reading strategy instruction supported reading comprehension and FL motivation in English secondary schools (Macaro & Erler, 2008) and reading comprehension in English primary schools (Macaro & Mutton, 2009). A recent, large--scale project in secondary schools examined to what extent three different pedagogic approaches-phonics instruction, strategy instruction, or text experience without explicit instruction-could contribute to FL (French) linguistic and non--linguistic outcomes. ...
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Two classes (n=45) of 9-11 year old children in different English primary schools experienced weekly French phonics instruction as part of a 23-week foreign language (FL) learning programme. The underpinning rationale of the phonics instruction was that systematic and explicit FL phonics could contribute to the development of FL phonological decoding operationalised as reading aloud individual word cards. The study explored progression in learning French sound/spelling links over this period with data from a sub-sample (n=23) taken from both classes. Additional variables such as FL general proficiency and FL literacy, as well as L1 reading age, spelling age and teacher assessed literacy levels were collected to explore relationships with the development of French phonological decoding. This study found that French sound/spelling links developed slowly but showed significant gains between mid- and post-test and that learning appeared resistant to attrition evidenced by delayed post-test scores. Successful phonological decoders were likely to be successful FL learners generally and proficient in L1 literacy (160 words).
... The third most common reason given for studying French at university is that participants enjoyed learning it at school. Prior findings very often point to low levels of motivation in secondary school (from 11 to 16 years old) modern languages classrooms due to a range of issues (Mitchell, 2003;Erler and Macaro, 2012), and so this might be surprising. It could be that their enjoyment was found mostly after the compulsory age of learning languages, that is beyond 14, as some like UG308 state that "I really enjoyed studying French at school especially at A-level and I did not want to stop". ...
Thesis
Growing a vocabulary of thousands of words is an essential part of foreign language learning (Milton, 2008: 236) and it is widely acknowledged that vocabulary size “plays a crucial role for L2 learners’ communicative competence” (Stæhr, 2008: 139). And improving communicative competence itself is often what motivates L2 learners to persist with language learning to an advanced level. Therefore it is important to understand not only the trajectory of lexical development among advanced learners, but also its evolving relationship with overall proficiency and L2 motivation. Whereas across the whole of Europe the teaching of foreign languages is increasing, particularly the teaching and learning of English, in the UK, foreign language learning is decreasing (Busse and Walter, 2013: 435). It is in this particular linguistic context, where learning a language other than English (LOTE) is not always considered useful, that the present study aims at investigating the lexical development of advanced L2 French learners at university, a language and an educational setting that are still seldom the focus of SLA studies. To determine the lexical development of first, second and final year undergraduate students, receptive and productive vocabulary tests were given to forty participants at the beginning and at the end of the academic year. The relationship between their L2 French lexical development on one hand and motivation, L2 proficiency and L2 exposure on the other was further investigated through the use of a motivation questionnaire, an Elicited Imitation test and a language learning background questionnaire. Based on these empirical data, this cross-sectional study presents some of the key findings on vocabulary development over the 3 years of the undergraduate degree, examining this development with reference to vocabulary known at different levels of frequency in French and the extent to which motivation, L2 proficiency and L2 exposure might explain L2 vocabulary variation. Findings from the study reveal that the development of receptive vocabulary is closely related to the development of overall L2 proficiency. L2 vocabulary development does display a frequency pattern, with increases in low frequency bands as proficiency develops. However, the lack of statistically significant difference at the end of the academic year between the year groups’ receptive vocabulary size suggests that it is the quality rather than the size of vocabulary that improves over time. A period of one year living in a French-speaking country boosts overall proficiency and reduces intra-group variation. Factors positively influencing L2 vocabulary development were identified and include instrumental-prevention motivation and input frequency and quality. The study also reveals an imbalance in incidental activities undertaken by participants in the home setting, with little meaning focused output (writing and speaking) and fluency activities overall. The results of the study contribute to an understanding of L2 vocabulary development amongst L2 French advanced learners in relation to proficiency, motivation and input. Practical suggestions for pedagogy and future research were also identified.
Article
Research demonstrates strong associations between psychosocial factors (motivation, attitudes, beliefs), outside of class behavior, and second language (L2) learning, particularly reading achievement [Briggs and Walter 2016 Briggs, J. G., and C. Walter. 2016. Read On! Extensive Reading and Young Second Language Learners’ Motivation and Attitudes. [Google Scholar]. Read On! Extensive Reading and Young Second Language Learners’ Motivation and Attitudes; Masgoret and Gardner 2003 Masgoret, A. M., and R. C. Gardner. 2003. “Attitudes, Motivation, and Second Language Learning: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Conducted by Gardner and Associates.” Language Learning 53 (S1): 167–210.[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]. “Attitudes, Motivation, and Second Language Learning: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Conducted by Gardner and Associates.” Language Learning 53 (S1): 167–210]. Fewer studies have explored the attitudes of students studying a heritage language (HL). Mandarin Chinese is the second most commonly spoken home language among dual language learner children in the U.S. [Park, Zong, and Batalova 2018 Park, M., J. Zong, and J. Batalova. 2018. Growing Superdiversity among Young US Dual Language Learners and its Implications. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute. [Google Scholar]. Growing Superdiversity among Young US Dual Language Learners and its Implications. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute] and increasing numbers of children receive explicit Chinese instruction. Comparatively less is known, however, regarding their attitudes toward Chinese maintenance and reading or the impact on intended effort. The current study addressed language learning attitudes and motivations, language specific reading attitudes, and out-of-school language use in physical and digital environments, among 58 children ages 10–18 enrolled in Chinese school. Findings revealed that ideal self accounted for significant variance in school effort (12%), but less than previously found in other contexts. L1/L2 reading attitudes had a significant negative relationship; the more enjoyable reading in English, the less enjoyable reading in Chinese. Chinese reading activity in digital environments uniquely accounted for significant variance in school effort. Results expand our understanding of motivation variability and underscore the importance of digital environments for young learners.
Article
This study investigated the systematic and principled teaching of foreign language (FL) literacy in two young learner classrooms in England. Over the course of 23 weeks, two classes of 9–11 year olds (N = 45) learned spoken and written language through an integrated pedagogy. The underpinning rationale was to explore principled ways of teaching FL literacy to young beginner learners. The study also set out to document the nature of linguistic progression and potential attrition in primary school foreign language classrooms through measuring a range of FL outcomes: receptive vocabulary and elicited imitation (general proficiency); reading aloud and reading comprehension (literacy). It was found that 45 the participants made slow but statistically significant and long-term progress, the latter evidenced by limited attrition, across both FL general proficiency and FL literacy constructs. Qualitative data showed that children enjoyed aspects of literacy instruction and opportunities to experiment with FL use. Findings have the potential to inform young FL learning empirical and pedagogic evidence, particularly relating to the teaching and learning of FL literacy in primary school settings.
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Britain's already poor record for language learning might be exacerbated by the Global English phenomenon, in that utilitarian reasons for learning languages other than English are increasingly undermined (Lanvers, 2014; Lo Bianco, 2014). This article offers a state-of-the-art review of UK research on second language (L2) learning motivation and attitude. The introduction is dedicated to a review of language education policy and numerical evidence on the decline in language learning. Part I reviews UK motivational literature under the headings Primary school; Secondary school; University and beyond; Teachers, parents, milieu. The evaluation of the literature reveals some striking lacunae, as well as a misfit between common explanations of the UK's language learning crisis and the social divide between those who choose to learn languages and those who do not. A motivation-in-context understanding of UK language learning needs to account for the many contradictory Other influences impacting on learner motivation. Therefore, Part II presents a new motivational model, based on Higgins's Self-Discrepancy Theory, a model which includes multifaceted Others as well as Own selves, including that of resistance/rebellion against Others.
Article
Research into second language (L2) print-to-sound decoding has consistently underlined the importance of L1-to-L2 transfer. Facilitation has been reported where the L1 and L2 writing systems are typologically similar (e.g., English and French) rather than distant (e.g., English and Chinese). However, other studies have found that young beginner learners of French, whose L1 is English, have poor L2 decoding proficiency and make little progress in this area, despite the similarities between these writing systems. To explore this apparent contradiction, 76 young L1 English speakers learning French as their L2 completed a French decoding test at two time points: at the end of their first and third trimesters of learning French in secondary school. Rather than simply being judged correct or incorrect, as in previous studies, their oral productions were transcribed and analysed at the level of individual grapheme-phoneme correspondences. Participants were found to make very little progress in L2 decoding, as measured by the number of grapheme tokens realised acceptably. Detailed analysis of their realisations of two vowel graphemes further showed that their decoding was often consistent with L1 symbol-sound mappings; and that it appeared to involve orthographic units larger than the individual grapheme, as is required in order to decode some graphemes accurately in English. However, not all attested realisations were explainable on the basis of English symbol-sound mappings, perhaps because the L2 vowels sometimes occurred in unfamiliar spelling bodies which did not readily trigger L1 symbol-sound associations. Viewed from a cognitive processing perspective, these findings suggest that the similarities between the English and French writing systems—whilst being facilitative in some respects—may also pose particular difficulties for the L2 learner.
Chapter
This chapter proposes that the relation between attributions and mindsets in psychology can usefully be extended to better explain motivation in second-language acquisition (SLA). It reviews the attributional literature in SLA in light of the proposed relation between attributions and mindsets in SLA, so as to provide directions for future research and practice. Both attribution and mindset theory have been extended to the field of SLA to help understand language learning motivation. In the SLA context, second language (L2) learners with a fixed mindset and L2 learners with a growth mindset disagree on whether L2 learning aptitude is stable. In contrast, L2 learners with a growth mindset may attribute L2 learning outcomes more to their L2 learning efforts, an unstable cause, and be more likely to work hard to improve their L2 learning through their own effort. L2 teachers will need to focus on ensuring their learners do indeed have some control over their learning.
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Three experiments on a total of 44 college students showed that "exception" words like have, with irregular spelling-to-sound correspondences, take longer to read aloud than words like haze, with regular correspondences. "Exception pseudowords" like tave, which resemble irregular words, suffer a similar penalty in pronunciation latency compared to "regular pseudowords" like taze, which resemble regular words. "Regular but inconsistent" words like wave, which have regular spelling-to-sound structure but resemble exception words, take longer to pronounce than "regular and consistent" words like wade. These results refute current claims that words are read aloud by retrieving a single pronunciation from memory and that pseudowords are pronounced by using abstract spelling-to-sound rules. Instead, it appears that words and pseudowords are pronounced using similar kinds of orthographic and phonological knowledge. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper reports a pilot study which shows that British 14 year olds only have one third to one half of the foreign language vocabulary knowledge of equivalent Greek and German learners. British syllabus objectives and the hours available for formal study are commensurately smaller. It is questioned whether the British GCSE syllabus can meet its own objective to teach communicative ability in a foreign language. The syllabus appears to be particularly disadvantageous to the most and least able learners.
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This article reports on part of a larger study of the impact of strategy training in listening on learners of French, aged 16 to 17. One aim of the project was to investigate whether such training might have a positive effect on the self-efficacy of learners, by helping them see the relationship between the strategies they employed and what they achieved. One group of learners, as well as receiving strategy training, also received detailed feedback on their listening strategy use and on the reflective diaries they were asked to keep, in order to draw their attention to the relationship between strategies and learning outcomes. Another group received strategy training without feedback or reflective diaries, while a comparison group received neither strategy training nor feedback. As a result of the training, there was some evidence that students who had received feedback had made the biggest gains in certain aspects of self-efficacy for listening; although their gains as compared to the non-feedback group were not as great as had been anticipated. Reasons for this are discussed. The article concludes by suggesting changes in how teachers approach listening comprehension that may improve learners' view of themselves as listeners.
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Suggests that a variety of sources of information are used to reach causal inferences in achievement-related contexts. The primary perceived causes of success and failure are ability and effort, but they also include a small number of salient factors such as home environment and the teacher. These causes can be grouped within 3 primary dimensions of causality: stability, locus, and control. There are also an undetermined number of subordinate causal dimensions that may include intentionality and globality. These primary dimensions are linked to expectancy changes, esteem-related affects, and interpersonal judgments, respectively. In addition, there are secondary linkages between the causal dimensions and psychological effects: Stability relates to depression-type affects, and control is associated with particular feeling states and behaviors. The dimension–consequence linkages influence motivated behaviors such as persistence and choice. The role of anxiety in this attributional theory of motivation and emotion is discussed in terms of anxiety as a causal antecedent; anxiety and perceived causality; and anxiety, expectancy, and affect. (71 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The central hypothesis of this study was that phonological mediation plays a critical role in the early development of reading and spelling in French. Therefore, the phonological structure of items, as opposed to their visual characteristics, was expected to be a significant determinant of performance. This hypothesis was tested in a short-term longitudinal study with a group of first graders (N = 57) who were administered a reading and a spelling task involving pseudowords of different syllabic structures. The first prediction was that there would be better performance on pseudowords with a simple structure (CVCVCV) than on pseudowords with a complex structure (CCVCVC or CVCCVC), and that errors on syllables with a complex structure would involve the deletion of codas or the simplification of complex onsets. We also predicted that errors would be consistent with a sonority hierarchy; for example, we expected more deletions of liquids than obstruents in clusters.
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Language learning motivation is a complex, composite construct, and although past research has identified a number of its key components, the interrelationship of these components has often been subject to debate. Similarly, the exact contribution of the various motivational components to learning behaviors and learning achievement has also been interpreted in different ways. The purpose of this study is to use structural equation modeling to evaluate a proposed theoretical model concerning the internal structure of the second language (L2) motivation complex and its impact on motivated behavior. The basis of the analysis is survey data collected in Hungary from 8,593 pupils, 13 to 14 years old, on two occasions, in 1993 and in 1999. Our main finding is that integrativeness appears to be the single most important factor, subsuming or mediating the effects of all the other responses to questions asked. In light of this finding, we analyze what motivational content this core component might represent in various settings.
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Recent studies suggest that performance attendant on visual word perception is affected not only by the “traditional” feedforward inconsistency (spelling → phonology) but also by its feedback inconsistency (phonology → spelling). The present study presents a statistical analysis of the bidirectional inconsistency for all French monosyllabic words. We show that French is relatively consistent from spelling to phonology but highly inconsistent from phonology to spelling. Appendixes B and C list prior and conditional probabilities for all inconsistent mappings and thus provide a valuable tool for controlling, selecting, and constructing stimulus materials for psycholinguistic and neuropsychological research. Such large-scale statistical analyses about a language’s structure are crucial for developing metrics of inconsistency, generating hypotheses for cross-linguistic research, and building computational models of reading.
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This paper reports on the findings of an investigation into the perceptions held by English students aged 16–18 years regarding listening comprehension in French and how they view the reasons behind their success or lack of it in this skill. The study suggests that listening comprehension is the skill in which students in the post-compulsory phase of education feel they have achieved the least success. The main problems highlighted by learners were dealing adequately with the speed of delivery of texts, making out individual words in a stream of spoken French, and making sense of any words identified. Furthermore, most learners attributed their difficulties in listening to their own supposed low ability in the skill and to the difficulty of the listening tasks and texts set, with little awareness shown regarding the role played by ineffective listening strategies or skill application. Suggestions are made for addressing problems regarding how students listen and their attitudes towards listening comprehension.prs.rt("abs_end");KeywordsListening comprehension; Beliefs; Learner strategies; French as a foreign languageFigures and tables from this article:Table 1. Numbers of respondents to questionnaire by year group and genderView Within ArticleTable 2a. Areas of most success, by year groupView Within ArticleTable 2b. Areas of least success, by year groupView Within ArticleTable 3a. Attributions for success in listening, by year group (I’ve been most successful in listening because…)
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This article reports on an investigation into the motivation of secondary school students in the South-west of England to learn foreign languages. A questionnaire was constructed based on a model derived from the motivation literature to examine students' responses on 16 constructs related to motivation. This was administered to 228 students in years 7, 8 and 9. The analysis revealed a decrease in motivation with age, and higher level of motivation among girls than boys. It also revealed a strikingly higher motivation to learn German than French, which was even more marked when the boys onl1, were considered. These findings were further investigated using interviews. Both girls and boys were able to provide clear explanations for differences between the genders, as well as for the language differences. These included such aspects as French being considered feminine, it not being `cool' for boys to be seen to make an effort at French, and the tendency for boys not to try at anything that appears to be tedious.
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The present study investigated the role of phonological and orthographic processing skills in adult second language reading. The subjects were 60 ESL graduate students; all were native speakers of Farsi. Three types of ESL reading measures were used as criterion variables: reading comprehension, silent reading rate, and the ability to recognize individual words. Data were analyzed using correlational and hierarchical multiple regression. Efficiency in phonological and orthographic processing contributed significantly to individual differences on the reading measures. In particular, efficiency in orthographic processing contributed to the reading measures independently of syntactic and semantic measures. The study suggests that it is useful to consider individual differences in ESL reading with respect to individual differences in lower level processes – particularly the efficiency with which readers process phonological and orthographic information.
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Most young Britons do not continue their foreign language study beyond the age of 14. The National Curriculum will require all pupils to continue to 16. A questionnaire given to those who opted out at an earlier stage of their education sought to establish reasons for their decisions. Pupils described their perceptions of the courses, and certain factors, such as preferred activities, apparent level of difficulty, relationships with teachers and position in option patterns, were cited. Particularly important in forming negative student attitudes were activities perceived as irrelevant, unhelpful career advice, negative impressions about progress, dislike of teachers and lack of opportunities for contact with the target country.
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A British study stressed the need for multiple language skills in a globalized world and concluded that national capacity is currently inadequate: 90% of children stop second language learning at age 16. There is a disparity between the number of adults stating they want to learn languages and the number actually engaged in it. (SK)
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Examines ways to motivate students who do not want to learn a foreign language. Questionnaires were completed by 191 year 9 pupils and 7 teachers. The responses of the teachers offered simple strategies that could be replicated without great addition to workload or financial outlay. Responses of a disgruntled minority of students are presented. (CK)
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Arguments about how to teach initial reading are once more in the news. Proponents of “synthetic phonics” argue that there is only one effective way to teach a child to read. In this anniversary issue, it is worth taking a step back from the polarisation of the “synthetic” versus “analytic” phonics debate, to consider the evidence base for reading acquisition across languages. Most children will eventually become competent, indeed skilled, readers of their languages, but in some languages this happens much faster than in others. There appear to be two key factors. One is the phonological complexity of the spoken language, and the other is the spelling consistency of the written language. A thorough understanding of cross‐language similarities and differences in the key developmental processes for literacy acquisition is required if teaching strategies are to be optimised in different languages.
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This article reports on a descriptive and exploratory study of near-beginner learners of French in English secondary schools, their cognitive and metacognitive strategies, and their general approaches to writing. There is virtually no research on foreign language writing at this level, conceived in this study as including the copying of words and sentences, as well as free-writing. 16 students took part in task-based interviews designed to elicit their writing strategies at two time points some seven months apart. An analysis of their writing behaviours shows that being able to write was associated with being able to read, that there was some variation in the extent to which students were concerned with meaning whilst copying, that in both copy-writing and free-writing students attempted to use grapheme – phoneme correspondences (GPC) but with little success, and that few students developed a capacity to write freely on a topic.
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This paper considers the attitudes of students in Years 11, 12 and 13 towards French and, in particular, how they view the reasons behind their level of achievement. It reports findings from a small-scale pilot study, conducted in four schools and colleges, involving 83 students in Year 11, 26 in Year 12 and 14 in Year 13. The findings indicate that French is perceived by many Year 11 students to be difficult and uninteresting. These students, furthermore, do not consider that French is of much benefit in terms of their future career. The data suggest that there is a tendency among students in all three year groups to attribute their lack of success in French to their own low ability and to the difficulty of tasks set, which, it is argued, may affect their levels of motivation in a negative way. Few students in the study have any insight into the importance of learning strategies in overcoming difficulties experienced in language learning. Students' attitudes are then discussed in relation to learning strategy training. It is argued that if learners are encouraged to explore the possibility that their achievement in French may be related to the efficacy of the learning strategies they use, rather than to factors such as low ability or task difficulty, their self-concept, motivation and language learning achievements can be enhanced. A brief outline is given of a planned research project which proposes to address these issues further.
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In this case study, we investigate three Chinese boys' self-efficacy beliefs learning English as a second language across English language learning tasks and home-based and school-based contexts. Participants reported higher self-efficacy to complete listening and speaking activities than during reading and writing activities. All participants claimed limited vocabulary and reported low self-efficacy for reading tasks that demanded advanced vocabulary. Our analyses provide descriptive evidence for associations between the participants' self-efficacy beliefs and various factors, such as content area expertise, English proficiency self-perceptions, task difficulty level, social persuasion, interest, attitude toward the English language and the English-speaking community, as well as the social and cultural context in which development is occurring.
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‘Decoding’ – converting the written symbols (or graphemes) of an alphabetical writing system into the sounds (or phonemes) they represent, using knowledge of the language's symbol/sound correspondences – has been argued to be an important but neglected skill in the teaching of second language (L2) French in English secondary schools.Previous studies have found poor levels of L2 decoding proficiency among beginner learners of French. This, in turn, may impede other aspects of their French learning, such as vocabulary acquisition, reading comprehension and motivation. The current study provides further investigation of L2 French decoding proficiency among beginner learners in English classrooms. It addresses a gap in the research by providing a longitudinal measure of learners' progress in decoding during their second year of learning French.The sample comprises 85 pupils drawn randomly from five mixed-proficiency teaching groups in one English secondary school. Participants completed a Reading Aloud Test on two occasions: at the end of Year 7 and at the end of Year 8. Overall, the group made no discernible progress in French decoding during the year, suggesting that better ways may need to be found of developing learners' proficiency in this area of language learning.
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English-speaking children (N = 122) in French immersion classes participated in a 1-year longitudinal study of the relation between phonological awareness and reading achievement in both languages. Participants were administered measures of word decoding and of phonological awareness in French and in English as well as measures of cognitive ability, speeded naming, and pseudoword repetition in English only. The relation of phonological awareness in French to reading achievement in each of the languages was equivalent to that in English. These relations remained significant after partialing out the influences of speeded naming and pseudoword repetition. Phonological awareness in both languages was specifically associated with 1-year increments in decoding skill in French. These findings support the transfer of phonological awareness skills across alphabetic languages. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A correlational study examined relationships between motivational orientation, self-regulated learning, and classroom academic performance for 173 seventh graders from eight science and seven English classes. A self-report measure of student self-efficacy, intrinsic value, test anxiety, self-regulation, and use of learning strategies was administered, and performance data were obtained from work on classroom assignments. Self-efficacy and intrinsic value were positively related to cognitive engagement and performance. Regression analyses revealed that, depending on the outcome measure, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and test anxiety emerged as the best predictors of performance. Intrinsic value did not have a direct influence on performance but was strongly related to self-regulation and cognitive strategy use, regardless of prior achievement level. The implications of individual differences in motivational orientation for cognitive engagement and self-regulation in the classroom are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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One of the most popular and influential theories of word processing, dual-route theory, proposes that there are two functionally independent means of processing words, one involving access to lexical knowledge and the other involving nonlexical grapheme-to-phoneme conversion. Three topics germane to this theory are the processing of nonwords, spelling regularity effects, and the manner in which reading may be impaired following selective damage to either route. This paper evaluates evidence on these topics, and in each case the claims of the theory for an independent nonlexical processing route are called into question. This conclusion is further supported by a discussion of the linguistic constraints that limit any nonlexical grapheme—phoneme conversion process. Some alternative approaches to visual word processing, which share the assumption that lexical knowledge can guide the assembly of phonological information, are discussed. It is argued that these approaches should direct future research.
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The attitudes of 600 second-year and fifth-year grammar school pupils towards their school subjects were investigated using a repertory grid developed specifically for this purpose. Attitude dimensions of ‘interest,’ ‘difficulty,’ ‘freedom,’ and ‘social benefit’ were isolated. Rank orders of mean scores of pupils on these four scales were produced together with inter-correlations indicating the extent to which attitudes were specific to particular school subjects.
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This article reviews the proposition that achievement in a second language is related to attitudinal/motivational characteristics of the students. It uses as its starting point articles by Oller and Perkins, and demonstrates that their generalizations that such relationships are weak, and that they are due to the spurious effects of verbal intelligence and language proficiency are not founded in fact. Statistical, contextual, and conceptual issues relevant to their criticisms of this research area are reviewed, as are much more parsimonious interpretations of so-called “strange” findings. It is recommended that rather than argue over hypothetical relationships, we direct our research attention to unravelling the mysteries of second language acquisition, to the benefit of students and teachers alike.
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Second language listening has historically proved to be a difficult skill. Strategy instruction studies have sought to bring about improvements in subjects' listening but with mixed results. This lack of success might be due to the nature of listening strategy theory and its influence on conceptualizations of listening strategy instruction. The current study, based on an initial descriptive investigation of a specific population of learners, measured the effects of strategy instruction on both the listening performance and self-efficacy of 68 lower-intermediate learners of French in England, against a comparison group. Moreover, the effects of high- and low-scaffolded interventions were compared. Results suggest that the program improved listening proficiency and learners' confidence about listening. Implications for pedagogy and strategy theory are discussed.
Article
This article reports on the findings of an investigation into the attitudes of English students aged 16 to 19 years towards French and how they view the reasons behind their level of achievement. Those students who attributed success to effort, high ability, and effective learning strategies had higher levels of achievement, and students intending to continue French after age 16 were more likely than noncontinuers to attribute success to these factors. Low ability and task difficulty were the main reasons cited for lack of achievement in French, whereas the possible role of learning strategies tended to be overlooked by students. It is argued that learners' self-concept and motivation might be enhanced through approaches that encourage learners to explore the causal links between the strategies they employ and their academic performance, thereby changing the attributions they make for success or failure.
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Recent reviews by Crookes & Schmidt (1991), Dörnyei (1994), and Oxford and Shearin (1994) have suggested that research concerned with motivation in second language acquisition would benefit from a consideration of motivational constructs from other research areas. The present study addresses this issue by investigating the relation of a number of new measures of motivation such as persistence, attention, goal specificity, and causal attributions to each other, to existing measures of attitudes and motivation, and to indices of achievement in French courses. A sample of 75 students in a francophone secondary school completed various motivational and attitudinal measures, and subsequently wrote a French essay. Their final grades in the French course were later obtained from the school records. Support was found for a LISREL structural equation model linking different aspects of motivation with language attitudes, French language dominance, and French achievement. It was concluded that the new motivational measures add to our understanding of motivation in language learning.
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Although studies on self-efficacy and attribution have independently contributed to the motivation literature, these two constructs have rarely been considered together in the domain of foreign language learning. Here, 500 undergraduates in Spanish, German, and French courses were asked to report whether test scores represented a successful or unsuccessful outcome and to provide attribution and self-efficacy ratings upon receiving their grades. Representing an innovation over previous studies, attributions were measured in two ways, using dimensions of attributions and asking about actual reasons for a real outcome. In regressions predicting achievement, self-efficacy was the strongest predictor, supplemented by ability attributions. Students who attributed failure to lack of effort had higher self-efficacy than students not making effort attributions.
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This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Language Learning Journal © 2004 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Language Learning Journal is available online at http://www.informaworld.com Research into learners’ attributions for their successes and failures has received considerable attention. However very little has been carried out in the area of learning foreign languages. This study is timely in view of the current interest by the government in promoting foreign languages. The aims of the study were (1) to investigate secondary students’ attributions for their success and failures in learning foreign languages (2) to examine the ways in which these vary according to age, gender, perceived success and specific language studied. The sample consisted of 285 students between the ages of 11 and 16 studying French, German and Spanish in five secondary schools in the UK. A simple open questionnaire was administered by language teachers, consisting of a personal evaluation by students of their perceived level of success as learners of specific foreign languages and their attributions for success and failure in those domains. The resulting responses were analysed by means of a grounded theory approach allowing categories to emerge from the data. The resultant categories were then tabulated according to student age, gender, and language learnt, together with level of perceived success. Over one thousand attributional statements gave rise to 21 attributional categories for doing well and 16 categories for not doing well at language learning. A far wider range of attributions were identified than is generally shown in the research literature, six of which were most commonly called upon as reasons for both success and failure. Clear differences emerged between boys and girls, year groups, perceived success and language studied. These results and, in particular, the lack of clarity in the learners’ comments about strategy use and the lack of focus on metacognitive strategies, have important implications for policy makers and for teachers of foreign languages in UK schools. In addition there are important implications for future research in this area.
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The validity of the orthographic depth hypothesis (ODH) was examined in Hebrew by employing pointed (shallow) and unpointed (deep) print. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed larger frequency effects and larger semantic priming effects in naming with unpointed print than with pointed print. In Experiments 3 and 4, subjects were presented with Hebrew consonantal strings that were followed by vowel marks appearing at stimulus onset asynchronies ranging from 0 ms (simultaneous presentation) to 300 ms from the onset of consonant presentation. Subjects were inclined to wait for the vowel marks to appear even though the words could be named unequivocally using lexical phonology. These results suggested that prelexical phonology was the default strategy for readers in shallow orthographies, providing strong support for the ODH.
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One general issue in the domain of visual word recognition is to delineate the nature of readers' knowledge of the print-sound mapping. A more specific question is to determine whether multiple grapheme-phoneme associations are available and activated during the phonological transcoding of a letter string. Evidence for the activation of irregular associations during print-to-sound transcoding, independently from lexical influences, was assessed in a letter detection task by examining performance on target-absent pseudowords. We contrasted two types of pseudowords that could be considered homophone with a real word by application of either grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules or of multiple phonemic activation. Performance on both types of homophones was compared to nonhomophone control pseudowords, strictly equivalent in terms of orthographic similarity to the base words. The finding of a homophony disadvantage for the homophones by multiple activation was interpreted as evidence for multiple phonemic activation in the print-to-sound conversion system.