Attitudes and motivation for learning English among elementary francophone students
Cloutier, Yvon Joseph
Master of Education
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Canadian society allows for group traditions and supports a rich variety of cultures. The pluralistic nature of this country makes it beneficial for a growing number of children and adults to acquire a second language. Parents of school children and prospective employers see this as an important endeavor. Several reasons might explain this. Firstly, the acquisition of a second language may be perceived as increasing chances of securing employment. Secondly, many people want to retain their cultural identity. For example, many adults who come from French speaking families have lost the ability to speak their maternal language fluently. Later, and for different reasons, they may want their children to learn the language that they (the parents) have lost. As a result, they may place their children in schools where the indigenous culture and language can be cultivated. For years now educational communities have witnessed the expansion and growth of second language programs in elementary and secondary schools across the country (Ontario Ministry of Education, 1976; 1977). These have been strongly supported by both federal and provincial governments. Evidence of the promotion of English/French bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada, particularly in Ontario, is highly visible. One only has to look at the hundreds of research projects the government has funded to investigate factors related to the acquisition of a second language (Ontario Ministry of Education, 1979; 1983; 1994). Furthermore, the subventions and interest generated by the government to investigate factors related to the acquisition of a second language has prompted several researchers to study motivational characteristics of students in second language programs. There are various reasons why students study and persist in studying a second language. It is the purpose of this study to investigate affective components, such as competence, interest and utility, shown to be involved in second language learning. Hopefully, then, any contribution that this study can make to the understanding of attitudinal and motivational variables in second language acquisition will be an asset to the educational community.