Research Publication Title

Undergraduate Attitudes towards Required Foreign Language Courses

Major

Sociology & Spanish

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Aurora Castillo-Scott aurora.castillo-scott@gcsu.edu

Keywords

Foreign Language, Participant Observation, In-Group, Out-Group, Assimilation

Abstract

The purpose of this presentation is to explore the negative attitudes of undergraduate students towards foreign language courses that are required for graduation. With English recognized as the language of scientific communication, many students are confused as to why they are encouraged to learn a foreign language. In the United States, there are 41 million native Spanish-speakers, and 11.6 million that are bilingual, making it the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. However, it is always expected that Spanish-speakers assimilate to English-speakers, and many times, institutions are unforgiving to those who have not achieved fluency in English. Participant observation as a student assistant in a lower-level Spanish class yielded results that correlate directly with the research attained. English-speaking students display reactions ranging from angry opposition to crippling anxiety when in a foreign language class, and it is believed that students have been influenced by nationalist environments, in-group and out-group mentality, and a low-performance cycle that feeds into low-confidence in second language acquisition that contribute to the negative attitudes.

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Undergraduate Attitudes towards Required Foreign Language Courses

The purpose of this presentation is to explore the negative attitudes of undergraduate students towards foreign language courses that are required for graduation. With English recognized as the language of scientific communication, many students are confused as to why they are encouraged to learn a foreign language. In the United States, there are 41 million native Spanish-speakers, and 11.6 million that are bilingual, making it the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. However, it is always expected that Spanish-speakers assimilate to English-speakers, and many times, institutions are unforgiving to those who have not achieved fluency in English. Participant observation as a student assistant in a lower-level Spanish class yielded results that correlate directly with the research attained. English-speaking students display reactions ranging from angry opposition to crippling anxiety when in a foreign language class, and it is believed that students have been influenced by nationalist environments, in-group and out-group mentality, and a low-performance cycle that feeds into low-confidence in second language acquisition that contribute to the negative attitudes.