Examining the use of inter-cultural experiences to increase motivation in the L2 classroom through journals.
Knoll, Monica L.
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SubjectMotivation in education.; Cultural awareness.; Spanish language -- Acquisition.; Education, Secondary.
Motivation is one of the key factors for learning and can have serious implications for students when studying any subject matter (Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Dörnyei, 1994). The issue being addressed is that many students in the U.S. see little need to learn a foreign language given the current status of English as a global language (Kachru, & Nelson, 1996). This research study seeks to determine whether an increase of target language practice in authentic and culturally relevant situations will have an effect on high school students’ motivation to learn a foreign language. The mixed method study required students to actively seek situations outside of the classroom to use Spanish and then to write a journal about the activity for which guiding questions were provided. Seventeen students from a rural high school in grades nine and ten completed an initial and midpoint questionnaire, cultural experiences over a ten week period and a final interview at the end of the study (Gardner, 1985). Results indicate many increases in positive answers throughout the questionnaires and journals. Students also reported higher levels of confidence, ability to decipher through contextual clues and improvements in pronunciation of Spanish. Implications for the research include the ways in which experience journals could be used in other subject areas and how this could impact various content areas. Future research may include the results from conducting the culture journals over longer periods of time or in different areas of study. Building more culturally and personally relevant projects into foreign language classes may encourage language learning among students as well as fostering active and independent learners which may contribute to more language learners overall.