The language learning motivation of early adolescent French and Spanish elementary immersion program graduates.

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The language learning motivation of early adolescent French and Spanish elementary immersion program graduates.

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This mixed methods study focuses on the transition between elementary and middle/junior high school in one-way immersion programs in the United States. Understanding more about this transition is important to creating immersion programs that provide the maximum benefits to students, schools, and the community. An exploration of students' language learning motivation at this point of their education can help with this understanding. The primary goal of this study is thus to investigate the L2 learning motivation of elementary immersion school graduates, with a particular focus on issues vital to the unique context of immersion education. Three hundred fifty-eight (358) students who had graduated from five public elementary immersion schools in one metropolitan area were the target population. The secondary target population was their parents. One hundred thirty-one (131) students and their parents responded to surveys, and 33 students were interviewed. Data analysis procedures included a theme analysis of the interview data, a statistical analysis of the survey data, and an integrated consideration of the qualitative and quantitative findings. Findings were organized around two topical frameworks in immersion education: persistence and attrition in immersion programs, and developing cross-cultural understanding in immersion students. This study found that the participating immersion graduates' decisions to persist in the immersion program were more based on peer influence and their assessments of the school environment of the immersion continuation program than any other factor. Additionally, students who demonstrated the most cross-cultural understanding had experienced increased exposure to other cultures, languages, and individuals outside of the immersion classroom. Other findings reflected the respondents' understandings of the nature of language and culture, their relationships with their parents and teachers, and their many reasons and uses for learning a language. The conclusion includes suggestions and implications for district-level administrators, school administrators, and teachers in immersion programs.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2009. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Diane J. Tedick. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 342 pages, appendices A-I.

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Wesely, Pamela Mary. (2009). The language learning motivation of early adolescent French and Spanish elementary immersion program graduates.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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