Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beliefs, Emotions, and Introspection in the L2 Classroom

The Problem 
Some students’ beliefs and emotions of shyness, embarrassment and low self-esteem may affect how they respond in class while learning a second or foreign language. How can we, as language teachers, help these students? 

The Study 
This article reports the case study of three students who were studying to become English teachers in Brazil. Through several different techniques (interviews, questionnaires, journals, etc.), the researcher collected information on the students’ beliefs, how these affected their emotions, and how they felt about themselves when learning English. The students’ had feelings of shyness, embarrassment, and low self-esteem when speaking in class because of considering themselves as having a lower proficiency level compared to the more advanced students in their class and their teacher. The results showed that simply through the process of reflection and introspection, some beliefs and hence attitudes may be changed for the better. 

The Take-Home Message 
As language teachers we should be aware that our students’ feelings of self-awareness, shyness, embarrassment may interfere with how they act or respond in class, especially when it comes to speaking in a second/foreign language. We can encourage our students to reflect on their feelings and beliefs in order to see if these might be negatively affecting their performance in class as well as to alleviate some of their negative feelings. 

Article Citation
Aragao, R. (2011). Beliefs and emotions in second language learning. System, 39, 302-113.

Entry by María Nelly Gutierrez Arvizu

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