This paper challenges doubts raised against the effectiveness of early foreign language learning. The most recent research, presented in this paper, contradicts such pessimism, pointing instead to a need for further development of the standards and the methods employed in early English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching. Empirical evidence now shows that young learners are able, given the right input, to produce spoken language greatly exceeding previous expectations, demonstrating an ability to form complex sentences and to re-narrate stories coherently, not just imitatively, but also in productive speech. The comparative study sheds new light on the learners’ use of cohesive devices highlighting similarities and differences between L1 and L2 speakers and their use of English. In the light of this evidence, this paper calls for further research into how young learners can best be supported in developing this most desirable outcome of language teaching: communicative competence.
Theoretically rooted in a cognitive-motivational perspective on academic personality development, various scales for measuring EFL learners‘ domain-specific self-beliefs were developed and empirically analyzed. In particular, these scales were designed to assess the learners’ academic self-concept in English, their affective value on the subject, and their self-perceptions of own oral narrative language use in the EFL classroom. In a sample of N=256 ninth-graders from 9 inner-city grammar schools the scales were administered along with related performance measures and, for the purpose of concurrent validation, also with matched L1-measures. The results proved these scales to provide psychometrically sufficient and valid data. Especially, the L2-self-perception appeared to be considerably stronger related to English than to German belief and performance scores. Furthermore, self-perceptions of narrative competencies could be clearly differentiated from the overall English self-concept variable. Thus, the results confirm the multidimensional and task-specific feature of academic self-beliefs in the EFL context.
This research report presents a study carried out with future foreign language teachers of three different universities. The focus was in modes of cooperation in the virtual space and on a blended-learning class concept. Especially the question whether specific communicative terms of virtual cooperation led to specific difficulties was examined. In addition, the influences of the individuals’ media competences, the students’ personal living conditions and experiences with similar classes were analysed in terms of the acceptance of the virtual class, the perception of its efficiency and the learning process