Date of Award

1978

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Mercedes H. Dyer

Second Advisor

Edith Stone

Third Advisor

Wilfred G.A. Futcher

Abstract

Problem. With bilingualism now a world-wide phenomenon, language has become a powerful force for unity both at home and abroad. This, along with increased immigration, has emphasized the need for the study of second or foreign languages. In the United States, bilingualism and the learning of English as a second language are outstanding educational problems. Psycho-socio-cultural factors, attitudes, and motivation affect second language learning perhaps even more than age, aptitude, or methodology. The second language teacher must be aware of the existence and importance of these factors and their inherent problems. This study sought to classify and rate the importance of certain factors influencing the learning of a second language; to compare the interests, attitudes, activities, concerns, and study habits of students learning English as a second language with those of students learning French, German, and Spanish; and to recommend a counseling-teaching approach which would alleviate psychosocial or socio-cultural problems related to the learning of a second language.

Method. Forty- four teachers and forty-five students responded to a Factor Rating List (FRL) to classify, rate, and rank factors influencing the learning of a second language. The Second Language Attitude Questionnaire (SLAQ) was administered to one hundred and eighty-nine students in the French, German, Spanish, and English as a second language (ESL) classes at Andrews University during the winter quarter, 1978. The questionnaire was used to compare six variables related to learning a second language: interests, importance, attitudes, activities, satisfaction, and study habits. Five null hypotheses were tested using chi-square analysis, categorical scaling, product-moment correlation, paired-comparison scaling, multivariate analysis, and discriminant analysis.

Findings. Teachers and students responded very similarly in most of their classifications of factors related to second language learning, classifying the majority of the factors as primarily pychosocial or socio-cultural. Both groups indicated that motivation and the willingness to learn and be taught were the most important factors. Hypothesis 1, that there is no significant difference in the classifications by teachers and students of a second language of certain factors related to the learning of a second or a foreign language, was partially supported. Hypotheses 2 and 3, that there is no significant correlation between the ratings and rankings of these factors, were both rejected. Results of the statistical tests for hypotheses 4 and 5 revealed significant differences in the responses of the language groups to the items in the six subscales of the SLAQ. The major differences among the groups were in their activities involving the use of the language, their satisfaction with various aspects of, and their attitudes towards, the learning of the language. The ESL students were generally more negative in their attitudes towards learning the language than were the students of Spanish, German, or French. There was no significant difference in the study habits of the four groups.

Conclusions. Second language learning involves the interaction of motive, attitude, method, and teacher-student relations. Psycho-socio-cultural factors may determine the success or failure of second language learners. The teacher must be aware of these factors as he seeks to help the student. Teacher-student interaction is a primary step towards breaking down language and cultural barriers. A Counseling Approach for Language Teaching (CALT) will aid in understanding and alleviating psycho-socio-cultural problems related to learning a second or a foreign language.

Subject Area

Languages, Modern--Study and teaching--Psychological aspects.

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