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 How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations
19.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A gene activated in infant and young brains determines learning capacity in adulthood
13.11.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Laser processing is a matter for the head – LZH at the Hannover Messe 2019

25.03.2019 | Trade Fair News

A Varied Menu

25.03.2019 | Life Sciences

‘Time Machine’ heralds new era

25.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>