Adults learning Finnish as a foreign language : role of support, emotions and reasons connected with learning

Master thesis English OPEN
MacKenzie, Ashley (2015)
  • Subject: andragogy | pedagogy | motivation | support | emotions | self-reliant learner | foreign language | andragogiikka | pedagogiikka | aikuiset | motivaatio | tunteet | oppiminen | suomen kieli

The purpose of this research study was to examine adults learning Finnish as a foreign language while striving to understand the reasons behind their decisions to do so, the support that was individually offered to the participants, how they felt throughout the learning process, and whether or not they found themselves to be self-reliant learners, as per Knowles’ andragogy theory. This study set out to examine adult language learners participating in the language and integration program at Palapeli2 project and in the Suomi 2 language course at the Open University. Through a two part (in the beginning and completion of the course) qualitative interview process, a total of eight learners were studied during the period of January 2014 and May 2014, followed by categorizing key ideas given through answers, into themes to help answer the research aims of this study. The results showed five main findings. First, both internal and external motivating factors were present when the participants decided to learn the language and throughout the learning process itself. Second, the learners desired further at home support in regards to assistance in allowing for more independent study time. Third, emotions were not directly connected with learning, although indirectly with the learner’s well-being or desire to study and learning the language. Fourth, they were found to be mainly verbal and aural language learners, meaning they primarily sought out speaking and listening opportunities. Lastly, the adults in this study were identified as a combination of both self-reliant and teacher-reliant learners. In conclusion, this study determined that adults do learn differently than children in terms of realizing how best to learn Finnish and why to learn the language but also in terms of prioritizing their studies and the need to adapt into the Finnish culture due to many reasons including guilt.
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