Masters Thesis

Middle school students' perceptions toward learning Spanish

The majority of world language programs in the United States are offered to students beginning in high school, an earlier start in middle school gives students the opportunity to lengthen their course of study, and attain higher proficiency in a world language. This qualitative study investigates the perceptions of middle school students who attend a small, rural K-8 school, toward the learning of Spanish. Student responses to open ended questions from focus groups are used to inform the research. Themes include attitudes toward learning Spanish, students’ perceived purpose and learning objectives, preferential instructional activities and formats, and affective factors such as motivation and frustration. Results indicate that these middle school students desire an instructional format that is communicative-based and parallels the Natural Approach to second language learning.