Emotional factors in senior L2 acquisition: A case study of Japanese speakers learning Spanish
Aim. This research explores whether a training course on tour guiding in a foreign language designed for senior learners could make the most of their life experience, knowledge, and motivation (Shibuya, 2018, 2019). The article argues that language learning for older adults is to be considered not only from cognitive aspects, but also from emotional and social aspects, since these are malleable and susceptible of being changed by the teaching method and the teacher's skills.
Method. We discuss the case of senior Japanese learners of Spanish based on their answers to the questionnaires, class observations and introspective materials. Literature regarding emotional factors such as tolerance to ambiguity is reviewed. Also, we further focus on the social factors including gender divide, a major issue in Japanese society that affects the older generation in particular.
Results. We used the Multidimensional Mood State Questionnaire (MDMQ questionnaire, English version of Der Mehrdimensionale Befindlichkeitsfragebogen MDBF; Steyer, Schwenkmezger, Notz, and Eid, 1997) to determine their mood before and after the class 5 times in total. For the purpose of this paper, we introduce 4 learners’ cases (2 female and 2 male learners).
Conclusion. A content-based course linked to practical occasions to be a volunteer tour guide seems not simple for the learners and some of them felt ambiguous with regards to the contents; however, independently of their Spanish level, they tried to find simple and alternative ways to manage the conversations or explanations. Some typical cultural and social factors in Japan, learners’ language level, experience, knowledge, and emotional factors seem more important elements for the creation of class atmosphere in this content-based L2 learning.
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