Why Do African American Students Choose to Study or Not to Study French?
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The purpose of this study was to investigate and identify the motivations of African Americans to study or not to study French. Our final goal was to measure whether the minority students can consider it to be in their best interest to study French. This research was made possible with the participation of high school students enrolled in French and Spa11ish classes. The study of the literature revealed that African American students were not encouraged by their counselors and advisors to study a foreign language. Consequently, African Americans were underrepresented in foreign language classes and some students asked that foreign language be deleted from their requirement for graduation. Research made in the last decade found that African American students showed more interest than in prior decades in foreign language study and asked for an inclusion of materials written by black authors. The history of foreign language study in America showed the predominance of French and German over Spanish. However, from the 1910s to present, Spanish attracted the majority of American students, including minorities. This research project targeted the African American minority group to investigate their motivations to study French and/or Spanish. One significant finding of this study was that the reason why African American students choose not to enroll in French is because of its lack of popularity in American's schools. The American educational system can use this information to promote other foreign languages in order to find a balance in the enrollments in foreign language classes.
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