About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6055-6062
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0237

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

FRENCH VS. GERMAN: THE COMPLEXITY BEHIND FOREIGN LANGUAGE CHOICES IN TROUBLED TIMES

C.N. Giannikas

Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
Multilingualism has become an ever-growing phenomenon across borders and disciplines; therefore, an urgent take of action is essential to encourage international commitment to promoting the learning of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL). Discussions and debates across Europe have assisted policy-makers and stakeholders to reach the conclusion that learning foreign languages, as Vassilliou (European Commission, 2014) commissioner of language and culture has stated, can become a way for Europeans to exit economic melancholies and find employment opportunities worldwide.

The EU aims to support the concept of multilingualism for the following reasons:
• Language development of children, adolescents and adults will allow more of them to study or work in other EU countries, while also improving their job prospects.
• Businesses across Europe are in need of multilingual staff in order to trade effectively.
• The language industry has been reported to be one of the fastest growing areas of the economy (European Commission, 2014).

The Eurobarometer Survey on Europeans and their Languages (2012) shows that Europeans have an encouraging and positive attitude towards multilingualism. According to the survey, 98% of Europeans consider that learning two foreign languages is useful for their children’s future, and 77% believe that improving language proficiency must become a policy priority. These issues have become a cause of great concern amongst parents and educators in a number of European countries.

The current study took place in a Greek context, where, as the economic crisis deepens, the signs of a changing society and unstable educational policies become more vivid. The high numbers of unemployment and austerity measures have influenced many families. Young Greeks are becoming increasingly mobile in the hope of finding professional opportunities abroad. This desire of departure has brought new outcomes to language education in the country; nonetheless, a number of issues can be raised regarding the process of language learning, the exposure of the language to teenage students and the methods used to motivate learners into enriching their knowledge and qualifications.

The virtual presentation will focus on students’ attitudes and environmental factors towards French and German language learning. More specifically, it emphasizes on the role societal background, financial complexities and gender play in the motivation of the students who choose to study one of the two foreign languages, and how learners can be supported in their classroom environment. Questionnaires were distributed to 130 teenage learners (aged 13-16 years old), who studied French or German as a third language, and to their French and German language teachers. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the students’ parents in order to gather information regarding the impact of environmental factors. The analysis revealed instrumental orientation, which linked to socio-political and pedagogical influences on students’ choices and their perceived value of learning French or German. Finally, the study proposes a research agenda for future investigation in Greece and beyond.

References:
[1] European Commission (2012). Special Eurobarometer 386: Europeans and their Language Report. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm.
[2] European Commission (2014). Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/index_en.htm.
@InProceedings{GIANNIKAS2017FRE,
author = {Giannikas, C.N.},
title = {FRENCH VS. GERMAN: THE COMPLEXITY BEHIND FOREIGN LANGUAGE CHOICES IN TROUBLED TIMES},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.0237},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.0237},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6055-6062}}
TY - CONF
AU - C.N. Giannikas
TI - FRENCH VS. GERMAN: THE COMPLEXITY BEHIND FOREIGN LANGUAGE CHOICES IN TROUBLED TIMES
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0237
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 6055
EP - 6062
ER -
C.N. Giannikas (2017) FRENCH VS. GERMAN: THE COMPLEXITY BEHIND FOREIGN LANGUAGE CHOICES IN TROUBLED TIMES, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 6055-6062.
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