Second Language Learning and the External Context
A comparative Study of Four Authentic Instructional Contexts
SLA is as much a product of learner-internal as of contextual, learner-external factors but the latter have been relatively underinvestigated in mainstream SLA research. This research focuses on German-speaking pupils learning English in four different educational contexts (n=4x26), representing four discrete points on the traditional foreign language - second language context continuum: a regular German school near Munich (Germany), the European School (ES) in Munich, the ES in Brussels (Belgium), and the ES in Culham (UK). Two dependent variables have been studied: global L2 proficiency and L2 social-psychological dispositions. The study reveals significant differences in global L2 proficiency amongst the four contexts. The results suggest that a high functional importance of the target language in the learning environment stimulates L2 proficiency development. In terms of social-psychological dispositions, no important differences were found amongst the four contexts; pupils in all four contexts demonstrate positive attitudes towards (learning) English and are highly motivated.
Article language: Dutch
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