Compulsory L3 at Age 13: The Relation Between Personal History, Attitudes to Language Learning and Achievement
Abstract: This article describes a case study of 32 middle school students (aged 13) in Poland who were at the end of their first year of learning a second compulsory foreign language (L3). The first foreign language (L2), which they had followed through 4–6 years of primary education, continues as the lead language. Using mixed method data collection the study investigated the relationships between personal language learning histories, attitudes to learning and achievement in the L3.
Keywords: language learning histories; middle school; attitudes towards L2 and L3; impact of primary school language learning; impact of teacher.
Viewing the learning of a second foreign language (L3) as a complex, dynamic process, (Herdina & Jessner 2002) we expect that the experiences of learning the first foreign language will play an integral part in how the learner approaches and tackles the new foreign language. Complexity Theory “looks at learners as self-reflective intentional agents and considers a wide range of learner and learning factors in their dynamic complexity in order to gain a deeper understanding of how the cognitive and social interact,” (Todeva & Cenoz 2009:4) so if we want to discover more about the individual learner processes involved in the learning of an L3 in a formal educational context, it seems that we should look back at how the student experienced the first foreign language and find ways to investigate how the two processes are connected from his/her perspective.
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