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Éva Bacsa: Beliefs About Language Learning

This study uses a questionnaire that has been developed to measure learners’ beliefs about language learning that: (1) can be used as a means of formative evaluation in the classroom; (2) is partly based on items from the BALLI (Horwitz, 1987) instruments; (3) contains items that refer to the latest linguistic aids and authentic sources, which have become increasingly available to learners; (4) includes self-referential statements about EFL learning; and (5) iaanvestigates beliefs among primary and secondary school learners – in contrast with current research, which has been conducted largely among older language learners. Following a development process conducted in three stages, the instrument (the third version) presented here comprises 40 items and was administered to 476 learners in Years 6, 8 and 11. The reliability of the questionnaire proved to be acceptable (Cronbach α=0.88). A factor analysis examined eight factors partly in accordance with the theoretically set subscales of the instrument. The data were analysed with descriptive and comparative statistics. The results suggest that the majority of the learners think that learning English is important, and they reported believing that there are many opportunities to use it. Those who responded consider the teachers’ role and guidance essential in their language learning process. A considerable percentage of the respondents do not agree that the teacher should only speak English in the classroom or that British culture is a necessary part of learning English. Our study indicates that learners hold various beliefs about language learning, their aptitude or language learning strategies, and the nature of English. There are significant differences that can be linked to gender and age, thus supporting the concept that beliefs are both dynamic in nature and context-specific.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 112. Number 3. 167-193. (2012)

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Magyar Tudományos Akadémia