Comparing Experiential Approaches: Structured Language Learning Experiences versus Conversation Partners for Changing Pre-Service Teacher Beliefs

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Southern Illinois University, USA

Abstract

Research has shown that language teachers’ beliefs are often difficult to change through education.  Experiential learning may help, but more research is needed to understand how experiential approaches shape perceptions. This study compares two approaches, conversation partners (CONV) and structured language learning experiences (SLLE), integrated into a course in language acquisition. Participants (n = 32) completed a pre- and post-questionnaire that included: demographic questions, Likert scales on beliefs, ranking of second language acquisition (SLA) factors, and open-ended questions. Results showed differences from pre- to post-questionnaire for both groups for four Likert scale items (e.g., the importance of exact pronunciation) and six language learning factors (e.g., motivation). Further, both groups grew to recognize more factors. Slight differences emerged between groups on two items, the importance of intelligence and dominance in SLA. Qualitative analysis showed that, while CONV reported no changes in beliefs, SLLE reported finding language learning to be more difficult than believed. Further, SLLE wished to have more of the project, while CONV did not. 

Keywords