As attitude is one of the key predominant factors for success in language learning, numerous studies have already been conducted in the field of language attitude (Alhmali, 2007, p. 347-350; Choy, S. C. et. al, 2006).

We can say that, attitude is determined by the individual’s beliefs about outcomes or attributes of performing the behavior (behavioral beliefs), weighted by evaluations of those outcomes or attributes. Thus, a person who holds strong beliefs that positively valued outcomes will result from performing the behavior will have a positive attitude toward the behavior. Conversely, a person who holds strong beliefs that negatively valued outcomes will result from the behavior will have a negative attitude.

And the importance of attitude is considered as an essential factor influencing language performance, Achievement in a target language relies not only on intellectual capacity, but also on the learner’s attitudes towards language learning. This means that learning language should be approached primarily as a social and psychological phenomenon rather than as a purely academic one. So we have concluded that the ability of the students to master a second language is not only influenced by the mental competence or, language skills, but also on the students’ attitudes and perceptions towards the target language.  They also advocated that attitude concept could enhance the process of language learning, influencing the nature of student’s behaviors and beliefs towards the other language, its culture and community, and this will identify their tendency to acquire that language. (Baker, C. 1992).

Accordingly, the attitude concept has three components i.e., behavioral, cognitive and affective. These three attitudinal aspects are based on the three theoretical approaches of behaviorism, cognitivism and humanism respectively. In the following, the three aspects of attitude concept i.e., behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects are briefly described.

Behavioral Aspect of Attitude

The behavioral aspect of attitude deals with the way one behaves and reacts in particular situations. In fact, the successful language learning enhances the learners to identify themselves with the native speakers of that language and acquire or adopt various aspects of behaviors which characterize the members of the target language community. Positive attitudes lead to the exhibition of positive behaviors toward courses of study, with participants absorbing themselves in courses and striving to learn more. Such students are also observed to be more eager to solve problems, to acquire the information and skills useful for daily life and to engage themselves emotionally.

Cognitive Aspect of Attitude

This aspect of attitude involves the beliefs of the language learners about the knowledge that they receive and their understanding in the process of language learning. The cognitive attitude can be classified into four steps of connecting the previous knowledge and the new one, creating new knowledge, checking new knowledge, and applying the new knowledge in many situations.

Emotional Aspect of Attitude

Attitude can help the learners to express whether they like or dislike the objects or surrounding situations. It is agreed that the inner feelings and emotions of FL learners influence their perspectives and their attitudes towards the target language.

Based on the research before, negative attitude towards English, the EFL teachers are recommended to create an encouraging atmosphere in the English classes to promote the students’ positive attitudes towards English. They should also motivate the students to learn English, highlighting its importance. This can be achieved by implementing the appropriate methods and activities of teaching English effectively. Furthermore, they should integrate up-to-date materials and supplementary resources in addition to the English text books. This can help them capture students’ attention to learn English successfully. Moreover, the EFL teachers should consider the role of gender perspective in language learning, exposing various approaches to improve the students’ attitudes, motivation and language performance as well.

They are also recommended to teach the English curriculum as it is supposed to be taught, focusing on the communicative approach. The EFL teachers must be aware that communicative approach encourages EFL learners to collaborate and discuss their experiences and other issues regarding language learning. This can increase their attitude, enthusiasm and their motivation to acquire the language.

Furthermore, curriculum makers should review the content and the design of the curriculum to meet the needs and the interests of the students. They are recommended to consider that the EFL learners have different perceptions about learning other languages due to their differences regarding gender, specialization, year of study, etc. Thus, taking all these issues into account, the curriculum design should be reevaluated so that students could see something different concerning the activities, content, topics, teaching practices etc. and be more motivated to learn English.

Reference:

Alhmali, J. (2007). Student attitudes in the context of the curriculum in Libyan education in middle and high schools. PhD Thesis, University of Glasgow.

Baker, C. (1992). Attitudes and Language. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Choy, S. C. & Troudi, S. (2006). An investigation into the changes in perceptions of and attitudes towards learning English in a Malaysian college. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 18(2), 120-130. [Online] Available: http://www.isetl.org/ijtlhe/ (August 9, 2011)