Masters Theses

Author

Fang Chen

Date of Award

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction (MAE)

Department

Education

Advisor

Wendy Sherman Heckler

First Committee Member

Patricia M. Ryan

Second Committee Member

Kristin Reninger

Keywords

Early Second Language Immersion; K-3 classes; students&8217; motivation; learning motivation;

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine how an early immersion second language (L2)school experience might impact students’ motivation to learn the target language. The study was conducted in a Spanish Immersion Academy in the Columbus City (Ohio)school district. Students were surveyed about their motivation for learning Spanish. Three K-3 classes were observed and students’ engagement in different kinds of instruction was recorded. Teachers were interviewed in an effort to obtain their views on motivating students. The data collected suggest that learning motivation was highly valued by teachers in the school. Teachers generally reported trends in learner motivation that are consistent with the educational psychology literature that young learners are naturally internally motivated, and that motivation becomes more external and complicated as students age. Where teachers did feel a need to motivate their students, positive reinforcement and well-designed instruction were the two most frequently-adopted motivational strategies cited as important by teachers and observed in the classroom lessons.

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