The Foreign Language Teacher: Background and Attitudes


  • Anne M. Elmquist

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      ANNE M. ELMQUIST (Ph.D., Texas A&M Univ.) is Assistant Professor of Modern Languages at Texas A&M Univ. She has taught teacher education courses as well as French and German. She recently presented a paper, “A Study of Bilingual Children from Upper Socio-Economic Levels,” before the South Central MLA. She is also the author of translations from the French. She is a member of ACTFL, MLA, AATF, AATG, and SCMLA. A native of Europe, she is fluent in German, French, Czech, and English


ABSTRACT  This study explores the attitudes of modern foreign language teachers toward current aspects and trends of the profession. In order to obtain an accurate picture, the educational and linguistic background of the teachers was investigated along with attitudes toward methodology, textbooks, language laboratories, teacher preparation, and other facets of modern foreign language instruction. Data were derived from a questionnaire completed by 240 Texas teachers. Responses are 58.8% from Spanish teachers, 22.5% French, 13.3% German, and 5.4% from teachers of two foreign languages. All the teachers in the study hold at least a baccalaureate degree. Master of arts or science degrees are held by 35.4%; 89.6% have standard certification; 86.2% are certified in the language they teach. While most of the teachers use audiolingual approaches and materials, the results show that they want and try to include more traditional grammar than the textbook provides. Teachers feel the audiolingual drills need supplementing. They are disappointed with the results of language laboratories. Many feel that reading and writing need to be introduced much earlier than is the practice. The need for better preparation for foreign language teaching is revealed. In general, teachers are pleased with their choice of profession; only twenty wish they had chosen another career.