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ERIC Number: EJ991069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Confirmed Beliefs or False Assumptions? A Study of Home Stay Experiences in the French Study Abroad Context
Diao, Wenhao; Freed, Barbara; Smith, Leigh
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v21 p109-142 Fall 2011
The past 20 years have witnessed enormous growth in a diverse array of studies which explore the linguistic impact of study abroad (SA) experiences. During this period a multitude of research projects have investigated SLA/L2 learning in SA, in a number of different languages (Russian, Japanese, French, Spanish, English), utilizing diverse analytic methodologies, addressing different skill modalities, all from various perspectives. While a number of research projects completed before 1990 used standardized tests to confirm the linguistic benefits of SA experiences, many studies of the early 1990s measured gain by using the global scores of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Test (OPI). Subsequently, scholars recognized the limitations of results based solely on wholistic test scores and emphasized the need to examine precise areas of language growth for SA students. Such studies have focused on gains in oral fluency, syntax, vocabulary, phonology, sociolinguistic and pragmatic usage, and communicative strategies. As the field matured, researchers continued to compare language gain in SA versus At Home (AH) but also expanded their perspective by beginning to examine the very nature of the immersion experience itself. Research of this type has explored more closely the kinds of opportunities students have for interacting with native speaker (NS) interlocutors and the qualities of such interactions, qualities of the home stay (HS) experience, student beliefs, attitudes and evaluations and how these affected learning. What has emerged from what might be called the second generation of SA research is the questioning of some of the most long-standing beliefs about the SA experience itself. In brief, doubt has been cast on a number of prevalent, if sometimes undocumented, assumptions associated with living and learning abroad. These include: (1) Linguistic development benefits from L2 learning in the SA context; (2) The belief that the amount and frequency of contact that students have with NS will increase their language gain; (3) SA assures immersion experiences for students; and (4) HS is the richest and most important source of L2 learning for SA students. It is the last of these areas that motivates this study. In brief, this study collects robust data and explores, in greater depth, specific aspects of the HS experience, the attitudes of student participants in these settings and how these feelings and attitudes change in the course of a semester, for individuals and for a collective group. (Contains 8 tables, 2 figures and 2 notes.)
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview