Americans do not study foreign languages long enough to achieve communicative competence, and that poses economic and security problems for the nation as well as career and personal limitations for individuals. Despite the plethora of research studies on effective approaches and methods for teaching foreign languages, there is evidence in the literature that foreign language students often experience a loss of interest in the languages, and there is a critical need to investigate the causes of the lack of interest and propose solutions. To that end, this study took a look at the possible role played by teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs in their ability or inability to maintain their students’ interest in the target languages. By means of an online survey administered to foreign language teachers, this mixed methods study investigated their beliefs about their ability to impact their students positively and their general level of efficacy for teaching foreign languages. Findings revealed that the teachers overwhelmingly believed that they had a positive impact. However, their general level of efficacy was mildly high and there was no significant correlation between the teachers’ sense of efficacy and their ability to maintain their students’ interest in the languages. Implications for foreign language teacher preparation and professional development point to the need to develop a strong sense of efficacy as well as strategies for positively impacting students to maintain their interest in the language.
- Communicative competence
- Foreign language proficiency
- Foreign language teacher self-efficacy beliefs
- Teacher sense of efficacy