Katalin Fenyvesi, Mikkel.B Hansen, Teresa Cadierno
December 1, 2018
This study investigated 276 Danish first and third graders’ proficiency in English as a foreign language (FL) in relation to several socio-affective factors after their first year of instruction. The results showed that (a) both age groups made similar gains in receptive vocabulary and grammar, suggesting a similar rate of learning in this short time span; (b) the two groups had different socio-affective profiles. Younger learners exhibited lower levels of FL classroom anxiety and more positive English competence beliefs but had a less incremental mindset and relied more on external authorities as a source of motivation. In contrast, older learners relied less on external authorities and showed a more incremental mindset but exhibited higher levels of FL classroom anxiety and less positive English competence beliefs; and (c) only four socio-affective factors had a clear impact on proficiency: English competence beliefs and an incremental mindset had a positive influence while FL classroom anxiety and the influence of external authorities had a negative influence. The pedagogical implications of the different socio-affective strengths and weaknesses that characterize children in the two age groups are discussed.