Learner Beliefs and their Implications for Language Learning
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In this thesis, learner beliefs and their implications for second language learning were examined. Individual learner differences have traditionally been measured statistically by using age, motivation and other variables that have been studied within a quantitative research framework. Recently, second language acquisition (SLA) research has been experiencing a shift from the etic, or outsider perspective to the emic, or insider perspective that is characteristic of qualitative research. Benson (2005) states, "learners are individuals and that their individuality may have significant consequences for their learning" (p. 5). Larson-Freeman (2001) ended her assessment of research by calling for "more holistic research that links integrated individual difference research from emic and etic perspectives to the processes, mechanisms and conditions of learning within different contexts over time (p. 24). Learner beliefs thus demand further exploration. <br /><br /> In order to show the implications that learner beliefs have for language learning, I met with three beginner German students and asked about their language learning processes and their language learning beliefs and experiences over a period of three months. This was done by conducting several interviews with these students, which provided me with a wealth of data to explore. This collected material and its potential influence on language learning was analyzed and is discussed in this thesis. This work begins with an overview of existing research in the field and a description of the research questions and methodology. This is followed by a description of the learners' comments and concludes with my findings and a discussion that points toward future research in the field.