“The state of the field effects of program type, personality, and language background of the teacher in second language classrooms”
“The state of the field: Effects of program
type, personality, and language
background of the teacher in second
Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Syracuse University
Lily Jaffie-Shupe (USA), student in MA Linguistic Studies / Certificate of Advanced Studies in
Language Teaching, Syracuse University
Rebecca Smith (USA), student in MA Linguistic Studies / Certificate of Advanced Studies in Language
Teaching, Syracuse University
Tong Wu (China),student in MA Linguistic Studies / Certificate of Advanced Studies in Language
Teaching, Syracuse University
The State of the Field
Linguistic Studies Program (MA / CAS)
Formats: Standard, Intensive,
and Immersion Language
Domestic Immersion vs. Study Abroad
Study abroad is perceived by many to be more
effective, but this is not always the case (Freed,
Segalowitz, & Dewey, 2004)
• Domestic study may actually produce more contact
hours in the TL than foreign study (Segalowitz & Freed,
● But these contact hours are primarily with instructors
● Contact with host family may lead to shorter
utterances (Segalowitz & Freed, 2004)
• Domestic immersion may be a “warm-up” for study
abroad (Liskin-Gasparro, 1998)
Standard Courses vs. Intensive/Immersion
Highly concentrated instruction
seems to be more effective (McKee,
1983; Collins, Halter, Lightbown, & Spada, 1999;
Promotes group cohesion (Hinger, 2006)
Need more data comparing
intensive and immersion courses
Christian, D. (1996). Two-way immersion education: Students learning through two languages. Modern
Language Journal, 80, 66-76.
Collins, L., Halter, R.H., Lightbown, P.M., & Spada, N. (1999). Time and the distribution of time in L2
instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 33, 655-680.
Dewey, D.P. (2004). A comparison of reading development by learners of Japanese in intensive
domestic immersion and study abroad contexts. SSLA, 26, 303-327.
Freed, B.F. (1998). An overview of issues and research in language learning in a study abroad setting.
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 4, 31-60.
Freed, B.F., Segalowitz, N., & Dewey, D.P. (2004). Context of learning and second language fluency in
French: Comparing regular classroom, study abroad, and intensive domestic immersion programs.
SSLA, 26, 275-301.
Hinger, B. (2006). The distribution of instructional time and its effect on group cohesion in the foreign
language classroom: A comparison of intensive and standard format courses. System, 34, 97-118.
Liskin-Gasparro, J.E. (1998). Linguistic development in an immersion context: How advanced learners
of Spanish perceive their SLA. The Modern Language Journal, 82, 159-175.
McKee, E. (1983). The effects of intensive language instruction on student performance in beginning
college French. (Report no. FL013910). Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. (ERIC
Document Reproduction Service no. ED233601)
Segalowitz, N., & Freed, B.F. (2004). Context, contact, and cognition in oral fluency acquisition:
Learning Spanish in at home and study abroad contexts. SSLA, 26, 173-199.
Serrano, R. (2011). The time factor in EFL classroom practice. Language Learning, 61, 117-145.
The Role of Personality in the Second
It has been shown to impact a wide range of
Many people have strong opinions about it.
Ozer & Benet-Martinez (2005); Roberts, Kuncel,
Shiner, Caspi, & Goldberg (2007)
In a survey of 51 people, 78% believe having an
outgoing personality is key to language learning
If it does impact language learning, teachers
may want to alter methods.
What does the research say?
Some studies have found tentative links
between personality traits and language
MacIntyre and Charos (1996)
Ehrman and Oxford (1995)
Verhoeven and Vermeer (2002)
However . . .
Many of these results are conflicting.
Personality is difficult to conceptualize and
measure. Different measurement systems and
methods have been used, making it difficult to
So does personality affect language acquisition?
We really don’t know, despite all the
research that has been done. No significant
relationships have been found.
There is some evidence that personality
could affect how students learn languages
because it impacts strategy use.
Ehrman and Oxford (1989); Verhoeven and
Strategy Use and Personality
It may be beneficial for students to match
learning strategies to their preferences, based on
Teaching students to use learning strategies,
especially metacognitive strategies, can be
Ehrman, Leaver, and Oxford, 2003
O’Malley, et al., 1985; MacIntyre, 1994; Nunan, 1997
It is unknown if there should be an explicit
focus on personality, though some suggest it.
Further research is needed.
Ehrman and Oxford, 1989
Variation in Strategy Use
• Regardless of how strategies are taught, teachers should be
aware of the learning strategies that underlie their
• There should be variation in the strategies that students are
asked to use.
● This ensures that students with particular personality
types are not at a disadvantage (Nunan, 1997).
● Students may also learn what works best for their
learning preferences through exposure to different
Remember that despite the popular
perceptions, there is no evidence that
students with particular personality types
are naturally predisposed to be successful at
Personality may affect the strategies that
students choose, but all students can learn to
use strategies effectively and be successful
Ehrman, M.E., Leaver, B.L., & Oxford, R.L. (2003). A brief overview of individual differences in second language learning.
System 31, 313-330.
Ehrman, M., & Oxford, R. (1989). Effects of sex differences, career choice, and psychological type on adult language
learning strategies. Modern Language Journal, 73, 1-13.
Ehrman, M.E., Oxford, R.L. (1995). Cognition plus: Correlates of language learning success. Modern Language Journal, 79,
MacIntyre, P.D. (1994). Toward a social psychological model of strategy use. Foreign Language Annals, 27, 185-95.
MacIntyre, P.D., & Charos, C. (1996). Personality, attitudes, and affect as predictors of second language communication.
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 15, 3-26.
Nunan, D. (1997). Strategy training in the language classroom: An empirical investigation. RELC Journal, 28, 56-81.
O’Malley, J.M., Chamot, A.U., Stewner-Manzanares, G., Russo, R., & Kupper, L. (1985). Learning strategy applications with
students of English as a second language. TESOL Quarterly, 19, 557-584.
Ozer, D.J. & Benet-Martinez, V. (2005). Personality and the prediction of consequential outcomes. Annual Review of
Psychology, 57, 401-421.
Roberts, B.W., Kuncel, N.R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L.R. (2007). The power of personality: The comparative
validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes.
Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2(4), 313 – 345.
Verhoeven, L., & Vermeer, A. (2002). Communicative competence and personality dimensions in first and second
language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 361-374.
A Review of Students’ Perceptions of Non-native Englishspeaking Teachers and Non-native English-speaking
perceptions of NNESTs
• NNESTs’ self-perceptions
relationship between the two perceptions
NNESTs’ teaching practices
•The NNESTs’ language proficiency
Comparison: Teaching Practices
to anticipate the problems (language
•Good at teaching grammar
•Not enough L2 culture information
•Not enough opportunities for students to
communicate or practice their speaking skills
Comparison: Teaching Practices
NNESTs: support it
Students: Exposure not too much; but still helpful
Some NNESTs: support the traditional teaching (grammarfocused) method
Other NNESTs: do not support; focus more on
Students: Negative attitudes towards the traditional teaching
Comparison: Language Proficiency
speech is lacking in accuracy and fluency
Comparison: Language Proficiency
NNESTs: A big limitation
Students: Not as much focus as for NNESTs
NNESTs: It is their strength
Students: Not enough knowledge to use grammar accurately
NNESTs are language models
Some NNESTs: Yes
Some NNESTs: No (Limited language proficiency)
Many similarities between student
perceptions and teachers’ self-perceptions of
non-native English speaking teacher status.
But also important differences in perceptions
of teaching methods and language
How is this relevant for LOTE in the USA?
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non-native teachers. English Language Teaching. 5(12), 42-53.
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learners? TESOL Quarterly, 41(4), 731-755.
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on perceptions of student in preparation classes. International Journal of Social Sciences,
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varieties. TESL Reporter, 44(1/2), 65-82.
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teaching. System. 37(1), 1-11.
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