First-Year Post-Secondary Students’ Attitudes Towards the Study of French: A Longitudinal Investigation
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In order to meet the expectations of language students and to maximise both the quality of learning and the commitment to it over time, a better understanding of students' attitudes and aspirations is required. There are many factors that contribute to the shaping of attitude, and which can be observed and analysed in a systematic manner. Intuitively, it is 'known' that today's students are just as interested in other cultures, if not more so, as those of the past. We also 'know' that students today have a decidedly international outlook and that overseas travel, for work or leisure, is high on their agenda. However, these institutions are of only limited use unless they are backed up by hard data collected over a period of time. This paper examines some of the results of a survey conducted over several years across two tertiary institutions in which commencing French students in the post-secondary stream were asked to rate the importance of a number of factors that led to their decision to continue with their study of French beyond secondary school. The results have implications for both curriculum design and classroom practice.