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ERIC Number: EJ1154384
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0957-1736
Rewarding Foreign Language Learning: Effects of the Swedish Grade Point Average Enhancement Initiative on Students' Motivation to Learn French
Henry, Alastair
Language Learning Journal, v45 n3 p301-315 2017
In order to reinstate interest and motivation for learning foreign languages (FLs) other than English, the Swedish government has recently reformed the system for admission to higher education. Upper secondary students who continue with the FL learnt in secondary school are rewarded with extra credits that considerably enhance their grade point average (GPA). The purpose of this interview-based study is examine the impact of this initiative on six upper secondary students' choice to continue with their FL, French, and on their motivation over one-and-a-half semesters of study. Using self-determination theory and the L2 Motivational Self System model as analytical lenses, the results reveal that for the three students whose motivation is rooted in intrinsic and/or self-determined extrinsic reasons for learning, the GPA-enhancing credits have little or no impact on either choice or effortful behaviour. For the other three students, none of whom would have chosen to continue with French but for the extra credits, the GPA enhancement is almost the sole source of motivation. However, because their reasons for studying French are not fully self-determined, the learning lacks personal meaning. These students see little longer-term value in their efforts, nor meaningful applications for the skills they have developed. Consequently, goals do not extend beyond achieving a passing grade. The effects on students' willingness to use the FL in the future and on their FL-speaking/using self-concepts of making a fifth and sixth year of FL learning de facto compulsory are discussed, and the consequences of the initiative are critically appraised.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A