A study of a grade 6 elementary ESL class in a private international school in Dubai to determine the main factors affecting their acquisition of the English language
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Second language teachers are intrigued by the factors responsible for the second language acquisition of their students and for the different rates of acquisition within a class; an understanding of the interplay of the factors is essential for successful language teaching. This study endeavours to determine the factors affecting the different rates of SLA of a group of nine elementary grade 6 ESL students over an academic year. The researcher used a grounded theory approach whereby the research question, “What factors are affecting the different rates of second language acquisition of the subjects in the ESL and mainstream classroom?” was investigated. A multi-research tool method, triangulation, was used to ensure that the research question was examined from different perspectives. As the research proceeded, data was collected and analysed, indicating the perceived dominant factors affecting the students’ rate of language acquisition. The analysis of the data indicated that motivation, personality variables and IQ were considered to be dominant factors affecting the subjects’ language acquisition. Having identified these factors, the researcher proceeded to review the studies and theories written about them by researchers in the field. The review supported the validity of the huge role of motivation in the second language learning process and the view that an above average IQ is not necessary for successful second language acquisition but revealed that the role of personality is less conclusive.
DISSERTATION WITH DISTINCTION
second language teachers, elementary school, ESL class, Dubai, second language acquisition, language teaching, motivation