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  • Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Volume 7, Issue 3
  • October 1985, pp. 323-342

Students Learn Language via a Civilization Course—A Comparison of Second Language Classroom Environments

  • Robert C. Lafayette (a1) and Michael Buscaglia (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 November 2008

The primary goal of this research was to compare the improvement in the second language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing among fourth semester French students enrolled in a content course taught in French and similar level students enrolled in a traditional fourth semester French course where the focus was primarily on the teaching of the language itself. The research used a non-equivalent pretest-posttest design and the results were analyzed using an analysis of covariance to determine mean gain scores of intact experimental and control sections of fourth semester students on the MLA Cooperative French Test. Results showed significant improvement for the experimental group in three of the four skills (listening, speaking, writing) and in two (listening and writing) for the control group. When compared to each other, the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group in the speaking skill while the latter significantly outperformed the experimental group in the writing skill. Attitudinal results showed a significantly more positive attitude toward the study of French among the experimental group. The study is important because it challenges the conventional assumptions regarding the way L2 skills are acquired and improved, and offers the student a valuable time and money saving option since he or she might be able to study a specific content while simultaneously improving L2 skills.

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M. Buscaglia & W. Holman . 1980. The teleprompter: A simulating device for developing communicative competence. Modem Language Journal 64; 451–54.

J. B. Carroll 1967. Foreign language proficiency levels attained by language majors near graduation from college. Foreign Language Annals 1; 131–51.

S. Krashen 1976. Formal and informal linguistic environments in language learning. TESOL Quarterly 10; 157–69.

S. Krashen & H. Seliger . 1975. The essential contributions of formal instruction in adult second language learning. TESOL Quarterly 9; 157–69.

C. Mason 1971. The relevance of intensive training in English as a second language for university students. Language Learning 21: 197204.

T. D. Terrell 1977. A natural approach to second language acquisition and learning. Modern Language Journal 61; 325–37.

J. A. Upshur 1968. Four experiments on the relationship between foreign language teaching and learning. Language Learning 18; 111–24.

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Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
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