Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

English makes adolescents less motivated to learn a new language

03.04.2012
Swedish adolescents’ desire to learn a foreign language besides English, which they start learning relatively early, has been declining for a long time.
A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that one factor behind this trend may be that English is used as a resource when students learn French, Spanish and German.

Fewer and fewer adolescents study foreign languages in English-speaking countries such as the USA and the UK. They simply do not want to, since as a world language English can be used just about everywhere. In Sweden, the government has introduced incentives to learn foreign languages in addition to English in the school system.

Reduces motivation

In his study, Alastair Henry, doctoral student at the Department of Education and Special Education at the University of Gothenburg and a lecturer at University West , used questionnaires and interview material to explore the effect of using English as a resource language when learning French, Spanish and German.

While it is certainly the case that English can be useful when a student reads, listens to or writes texts in another foreign language, ‘using English as a resource language might in fact be one reason why students are not motivated to learn foreign languages and why they feel like they are not getting anywhere with their language studies,’ says Henry.

Cognitive activation

‘Students recognise similar words and phrases in English, and teachers often encourage students to use their English skills when learning French, Spanish and German. However, using English in this way activates the student’s so-called English-speaking self,’ says Henry.

As a result, the student will inevitably compare his or her different language self-concepts – a comparison that most likely will make the student less confident about his or her future skills in the studied language and therefore less motivated in the classroom.

The interviews revealed however that successful language learners often use strategies to block the negative influence of English.

‘These students often realise that comparing language self-concepts causes problems,’ he says.

Henry therefore points to the importance of teachers actively helping students develop such strategies. It is also important, he says, that teachers focus on strengthening their students’ language self-concepts.

Enhanced language speaking/using self-concepts
‘The language self-concept can be enhanced by using a method common in sports psychology. Coaches often ask their athletes to visualise themselves as successful in the future, and this can be done in the language classroom as well’ says Henry.

According to Henry, it is important that teachers of additional foreign languages are aware of the fact that the use of English as a resource can be problematic and may have a negative impact on students’ motivation to learn a third language.

The thesis has been successfully defended.

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/28132

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>