Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Acquiring Higher Levels of Proficiency in Less Commonly Taught Foreign Languages: A Single Case Study of the Impact of Teacher Perceptions of Cognitive Theories for Instructional Design
by Fam, Medhat, Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2018, 131; 10936762
Abstract (Summary)

Acquiring higher levels of proficiency in less commonly taught foreign languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and Korean is an extraordinarily high stressful process. Stress contributes to the cognitive demand imposed on both students and teachers. The cognitive demand is defined as the degree of concentration required for a person to solve problems or complete a task in a given time. The purpose of this qualitative single case study is to investigate the impact of teacher perceptions of cognitive theories for instruction and instructional design. The conceptual framework for this study is based on the ways to reduce cognitive load. Three types of cognitive load are recognized such as extraneous, intrinsic, and germane. It is noted that if both intrinsic and extraneous cognitive loads leave enough space in the working memory then learners may invest extra effort in the learning processes. Based on the problem and the purpose of the study, the research questions for this study were: (1) How do DLI instructors perceive and describe the ways that can be used to reduce cognitive load and its associated stress for the learners of less commonly taught foreign languages, and help them to manage their levels of cognitive load?; and (2) How do DLI instructors perceive and describe the best instructional design that can be used to reduce cognitive load and its associated stress for the learners of less commonly taught foreign languages? Fifteen Defense Language Institute teachers participated in this study. In-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with each participant. The data collected from the interviews were studied to identify common themes of the participants’ perceptions about the concept and impact of cognitive load. Data of the fifteen interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed, coded and analyzed using NVivo12 qualitative software, which helps to organize the themes that emerged. The data and the results of this study show that the participants have general background knowledge of Cognitive Load Theory (CLT). However, when it comes to practice, there are certain challenges and different practices to alleviate students' stress level. Hopefully, with further institutional training, the process of applying theory to practice will be facilitated and theories will be more relevant to classroom practice. The findings of this study can be used to determine the best instructional practice and curriculum design for less-commonly taught foreign language learners.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shaw, Dr. Melanie
Commitee:
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Foreign language education, Education
Keywords: Cognative load, Conceptual framework, Foreign languages
Publication Number: 10936762
ISBN: 978-0-438-47082-8
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