Investigating students’ beliefs about language learning

  • Naomi Boakye


There is widespread current interest in language learning studies regarding the extent to which student beliefs can influence the language learning process.  Whilst institutions may set up frameworks to enable students to learn languages successfully, many researchers contend that ultimately it is the belief systems of the students themselves which will contribute most to the final outcome of the teaching process. This article explores the idea that the language learning process among students is substantially influenced by their beliefs about this process. A questionnaire based on Horwitz’s (1987) BALLI instrument was used to assess students’ beliefs in terms of language learning, and the issues are discussed within the categories of aptitude, motivation, learning and communication strategies, the nature of learning, and the difficulty of language learning. The results indicate that the beliefs of the students can have a negative influence on their learning strategies which, in turn, affect the success or otherwise of the language learning process. This article thus concludes with suggestions on how to address the negative mindsets of the students concerned in order to create environments that would be more conducive to achieving positive results.

Author Biography

Naomi Boakye
Naomi Boakye is a lecturer in the Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria.E-mail: