Date of Award
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Education and Human Development
The United States acknowledges that its monolingual population is problematic but fails to take action to support foreign language education in its schools through policy and funding. Given the culturally diverse communities that populate our nation as well as the globalization of our economy, an increased need for foreign language instruction is apparent. A majority of school districts have historically focused foreign language instruction in the middle to high school years. This research project examines student and instructor perceptions and attitudes towards learning Spanish in the elementary grade levels. It formulates questions and offers observations on the importance and benefit to foreign language opportunities in elementary school to foster communication and cultural awareness.
This study was conducted in a school district within a mid-sized city in the northeastern section of the United States. The research was qualitative versus quantitative and results were culled from student focus group interviews, teacher interviews, and field notes of classroom observations. Field notes were organized by content, teaching practices, activities, and other prevailing trends of note within the data. Questions included information regarding motivation, verbal communication, fluency, cultural knowledge and awareness. Conclusions drawn from data analysis include proposed future research into FLES curriculum development, suggested legislation to support certification in foreign language for appropriate staff, and the reality that exposure to regular language learning opportunities in the elementary grades increases language acquisition and a strong foundation for future learning.
Dierks, Sara M., "Elementary Foreign Language Instruction: Teacher and Student Perspectives" (2008). Education and Human Development Master's Theses. 230.