Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2004

Abstract

This study was conducted by the foreign language instructor of a rural school district in Northwestern Minnesota. The population of the high school (grades nine through twelve) is 144 students. The racial composition of the district is nearly 100% white. The district is classified as "low-income" with 41.3% of the district's children qualifying for free or reduced hot lunch. Of the most recent three classes, an average of 39% of graduates planned to attend a four-year college, 37% planned to attend a two-year college, and 24% planned to enter the work force. This study evolved from the observation by the researcher that foreign language study was perceived by some as unnecessary, impractical or even frivolous. Some students, parents and even faculty did not see foreign language as a necessity in high school education. The goal of the study was three-fold: to investigate the beliefs and attitudes toward foreign language study in the community, to try to determine why these beliefs existed, and to investigate how foreign language can better be promoted as an important course of study for all students. An important note is that Spanish is the only foreign language offered to the students of the district. This may affect the student's choice to study foreign language, if the student would have preferred a different language, for example.

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