A Longitudinal Study on the Interaction between Secondary-school Students’ Language Aptitude, Musical Aptitude and English Language Development
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Cognitive and affective variables are key factors in foreign language learning. In this longitudinal research I aimed to explore how and to what extent language aptitude, music aptitude, motivation, and engaging tasks contributed to my secondary-school students’ learning of English. In the first part, I present a brief overview of the constructs examined in the dissertation: first, language learning motivation and empirical research on it. I focus on how it was defined, and what the main periods were in the conceptualization of motivation. Then, I focus on the constructs of music and language aptitude and the most important batteries of these two domains in detail to show how the two variables were conceptualized in a historical context. An overview on Computer Aided Language Learning closes the first part reporting some empirical results. The second part of the dissertation comprises three empirical studies: a single case study and two multiple case studies. In each study I aimed to find the underlying factors impacting students’ English language learning development over time. The first study is an exploratory single case study of a musically and linguistically gifted successful EFL learner. The uniqueness of this study was the retrospective approach: first, I noted the participant’s excellent results on English proficiency tests and then I examined her language and music aptitude test results. In the second study I investigated how two groups of my high-school students (Group A grammar school, N=12 and Group B vocational school, N=12) benefited from playful and engaging tasks in a three-month treatment period. The third study is a longitudinal classroom-based research on the development of language aptitude and musical aptitude and English skills in two groups of my students from May 2017 to February 2021. Group A was the same group in the second study, whereas Group C included eight grammarschool students. Findings of the three studies were in line with the previous research. Both language aptitude and music aptitude as well as motivation contributed to English language learning to a different extent in the two groups.