Students’ Beliefs About the Function of EFL in Higher Education

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Jeremy McMahon, Momoyama Gakuin University


This study examined the language learning beliefs of 76 university students. The primary aims were (a) to provide evidence on the views students have of the role of English in higher education as informed by their perceived future language needs, (b) to achieve a more thorough understanding of the specific content students feel they need in their studies, and (c) to develop and validate a questionnaire that would serve these purposes. The results show that the respondents valued conversational-based course content benefitting the English needs of their future occupations, as well as oral skills practice over writing practice. A principal finding of the study was the existence of fundamental mismatches between certain student beliefs, institutional policies, and what teachers suggest is beneficial EFL study, which could have negative implications for the language classroom. However, awareness of student beliefs can inform course planning and instruction.