Are African American High School Students Less Motivated to Learn Spanish Than Other Ethnic Groups?

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Abstract

Although there is evidence in the vague literature to indicate that African Americans are underrepresented in foreign language studies, this issue has never been investigated with a focus on Spanish. Six hundred and thirty-one students enrolled in high school Spanish in a racially-diverse school district in West Texas were surveyed and the data for the one hundred and two African-American participants were compared to those of the remaining participants. Findings revealed that the initial enrollment of African Americans was high. However, whereas enrollment figures for other ethnicities increased or decreased slightly as they advanced in their study of Spanish, the figures for African Americans experienced a rapidly increasing downward trend. The reasons for the trend seemed to emanate from de-motivation in the form of a rapid loss of interest in the language due to lack of a parental support system, role models, appropriate career counseling, and opportunities to achieve communicativ
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-134
JournalHispania
StatePublished - Mar 2012

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