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Title:The Teaching of French in The United States in The Early 1970's: A Descriptive and Comparative Study (Foreign Language)
Author(s):Degenhart, Ruth Elaine
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This study is by nature descriptive and comparative. It consists of a secondary analysis of the United States data gathered as part of the IEA Six-Subject Survey in the early 1970's. Among the subjects included in that survey were French and English as foreign languages. In order to describe the nature of the teaching of French in the United States during that period, this study includes discussions of enrollment trends, teacher characteristics and training, instructional practices, use of teaching materials, student characteristics, and student attitudes toward school and foreign language learning. This description is given perspective by using comparative data from six other countries that participated in the IEA French and/or English studies.
To provide a principled description, a model of school-based foreign language teaching and learning was developed as a guide, outlining components which are assumed to be important in any description of a foreign language teaching system. These include the major constructs of social context, school context, school characteristics, teaching characteristics, student characteristics, opportunity to learn, teaching activities, and learning activities.
It was found that teachers and students in the United States had limited foreign contacts when compared with other countries. Whereas foreign languages are a major component of school curricula in other countries, they are an elective subject in the United States and introduced into the school program later by several years. The American foreign language instruction is more intensive in terms of meetings per week, although most students studied only two years of the language. The teachers used the inductive approach to introducing grammar and ranked the oral skills first in importance for beginning students. American French classes were more likely to be conducted in the foreign language than in other countries, especially at the intermediate level. The American students generally expressed an interest in being able to speak a language other than English, although they felt there were other subjects more important to study in school.
In conclusion, this study raises some important questions about the "hidden agenda" in the American foreign language curriculum which should be carefully considered by the educational authorities on the local, state and federal levels.
Issue Date:1984
Description:231 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8422050
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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