University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Second Language Education Group > Using metaphorical representations to discern young learners’ beliefs about foreign language learning

Using metaphorical representations to discern young learners’ beliefs about foreign language learning

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ewa Illakowicz.

The beliefs a student holds are widely accepted as important in influencing the learning choices that he or she will make. It would seem important therefore that teachers are aware of the beliefs of the learners in their classrooms so as to integrate such beliefs more fully into learning. How, though, do we access student beliefs and how can a teacher bring beliefs and classroom practice into closer alignment so as to improve learning outcomes? This seminar explores the construction of beliefs in the foreign language classroom. I discuss the potential of metaphor as a way of accessing beliefs and of raising learners’ epistemological awareness of the basis of their beliefs. Findings are presented from a longitudinal, empirical project set in two secondary school foreign languages classrooms in England. Metaphor elicitation tasks were used to discern the learners’ beliefs and the resulting metaphors used to structure a classroom intervention with one class. Metaphor elicitation was again carried out at the end of a nine-month period. As well as presenting the results of this study, I discuss the feasibility and potential pedagogical benefits of teachers carrying out tasks that might go some way towards eliciting students’ beliefs about language learning.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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