Language Motivation and Performance of Portuguese Language Learners

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2010

Project Description/Abstract

The overall goal of this study is to ascertain the factors that influence students’ decisions to study Portuguese at BSC and how those decisions affect their performance in Portuguese courses. Some of these students are Heritage Language Learners, who have a Portuguese background and varying proficiency in their ancestral language (Lynch 2008). Initial observations indicate that these learners are mostly interest3ed in improving their language abilities in order to reconnect with their culture and identity. By contrast, more traditional learners are motivated to learn Portuguese because of the perceived international importance of the language. Research has shown that these extrinsic and intrinsic motivations have a significant impact in retention rates and overall academic performance in the language (Gardner et. al 2004). The methodology consists of conducting background surveys and assessment tools among Portuguese’s students. Qualitative as well as quantitative analyses of these surveys will be undertaken using statistical software.

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