Investigating English Language Learner’s Beliefs


Background of the Study

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own”

(Johan Wolfgang von Goethe)

Learning a new language is like getting a ‘ride on a different bus’ and seeing a clear vision of our language for the first time. But do people believe this way? Belief is from the main factors moving towards language learning. Beliefs help the individual to define and understand the world and themselves, and they are fundamental in defining tasks and play a fundamental role in defining behavior.

(White 1999).

Students’ beliefs are the factors that define students’ behavior toward language learning. It is understood that language students have certain beliefs about their language learning without knowing them. The beliefs of the students of Sindh University Thatta Campus about learning a language vary. As it always been the situation in every learning process, language students develop certain sets of minds, beliefs and perceptive models for themselves that facilitate or complicate their language process and determine the optimal conditions for learning any language.

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(Koichi & Ethis 2014)

The main concern of this research project is to do with the way students are considered as “language entities”, they can comprehend and communicate in a new language inspired by an input that may differ according to students’ ability and beliefs. Every individual holds different beliefs about learning a language. For example, some individuals believe that a language is learned better in their natural environment, which is the countries where the native language is spoken. However, on the other hand, some believe that abroad will be so stressful for them to learn a language and that the language can be learned better at home, along with people who are also new language learners.

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Similarly, some believe that language learning is more dependent on a natural tendency that occurs at the time of birth, and if we do not have this natural tendency, it is impossible to be a perfect apprentice and orator of that language. On the other side, others believe that language learning depends on their ambition, determination, and effort, you spent. Some people emphasis on the theoretical learning of a language, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, etc. while others believe that they focus more on the practical use of the language, such as listening to others and talking. At that point, it would be appropriate to say that there are more other specific beliefs, like for example women learn the language better, or that the language can only be learned in the preliminary stages of childhood, etc. (Richards & Rodgers, 2014).

Many researchers have studied the beliefs of the students about language learning. Their approaches have focused on different dimensions, in which different researchers carried out their studies at different levels and suggested different ideas that address the different perceptions of beliefs and belief processes of students. However, during these analyses, the language was not emphasized as the area about which the learner beliefs were analyzed. The language is a very special area, and it is being stated in the studies of Chomsky (Ashcraft & Radvansky, 2014) which declares language as the set of symbols and signs which are constructed naturally, without reinforcement, as the proof that the inner mental processes really exists. Piaget and Vygotsky have also referred to the language, Piaget by taking the language as the reflection of action, while Vygotsky by taking the language the driver of action. Moreover, Vygotsky emphasizes that learning a language is a system of social and cultural interaction, and improves by active participation (Smith & Hart, 2011).

These studies have indicated that there exists a special relationship between language learning and the outer context, which is further different from the association between other learning types and context. Therefore, this special effect of the language as the driver of thought and perception, in the socio-interactive context will be analyzed in depth. The main concern of this research is to find the most important beliefs about language learning held by students in Sindh University Thatta Campus while learning English language.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

This research aims to identify and analyze the different beliefs of university students in learning the English language, a particular goal is to explore the effect of the socio-interactive context on language learning.

Research Questions

  1. What are the students’ beliefs about learning the English language in Sindh University Thatta campus?
  2. Is socio-interactive context effective for the English language learners of Sindh University Thatta Campus?

Significance of the Study

The significance of this study will give us the account of students that what kind of beliefs the learners hold in their mind, how they shape their beliefs about the English language and what are their perceptions about the consequences of socio-interactive context in learning the English language.

Literature Review

The second chapter of this study will be dealing with the main terms, which will be used in this study. It will provide an idea of different works that are being done before by other researchers on a similar research area which is the ‘learners beliefs in language learning’.

Learning a Language in Different Contexts

As indicated above, the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of individuals with respect to any learning process are influenced by individual differences, perspectives, visions of the world, priorities and external conditions, such as the environment or context in which the language is taught (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). While we can say that the attitudes and associated behaviors that are formed during a learning process are closely related to individual differences, even the context in which learning occurs has a great effect. For example, learning a language in a foreign country among the native speakers or learning it in a course among new learners, even the learning process is affected by learning with those who are at a higher level than you or at a lower level. Furthermore, learning the language on its own or learning with the help of a teacher in an individual course, makes the difference (Ellis, 2015). It is true that the main factor that creates the greatest difference among the different contexts is the real and implicit presence of others.

Perception and Belief

The Recognition of the role of epistemological beliefs of students in numerous disciplines has contributed to a growing amount of evidence suggesting that they play a central role in the mastering and realization experience (Schommer, 1990) and have a profound effect on learning behavior and consequences of learning. (Weinert & Kluwe, 1987). Interdisciplinary research indicates how belief systems, social cognition and the metacognition of the individual are a great force in intellectual overall performance (Schoenfeld, 1983), and that novices may be directly influenced via their perception of success in learning and degrees of expectancy with realistically high expectations supporting to construct confidence, and low (or unrealistically high) expectations leading to de-motivation and disappointment (Puchta, 1999).

Socio Interactive Perspective

From the simple assumption supported in Hatch’s seminal work in the late 1970s, students learn the structure of a language via interaction as a substitute than studying grammar in order to interact (Gass, 2003: 224-255). The relationship between acquisition and interaction was one of the central subjects in the investigation of the acquisition of a second language (SLA). Young’s evaluation (1999) confirmed that interactive competence is more applicable to explaining intercultural communication. It additionally gives a beneficial framework for integrating studies of conversational phenomena in a broader context of interaction. Because the language is generally associated with four major domains: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Interaction is important to practice oral and listening. Simultaneously, interaction can additionally assist the development of second language acquisition.


This chapter will describe the method, the procedure of the methodology, which will be followed in this study. The qualitative methodology will be chosen to collect the data because According to several prominent qualitative scholars (Creswell 2002; Pope & Mays 1995; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994) Qualitative Research is intended to deeply explore, perceive and interpret social phenomena inside its natural setting. So, by a qualitative research methodology, researchers will gather richer data and get a more detailed image of issues, causes or events (Arora and Stoner 2009). The why and how of a situation will be explored rather than only what, where, when.

Participants of the Study

Eight learners of the English language who are studying at a four-year university program will be chosen for this research. The learners will have eight to ten years of English language learning experience.

Data Collection Tools

In this study, the qualitative methodology will be followed so semi-structured interviews will be used as a research tool. A set of questions will be designed but flexibility will also be allowed to ask other questions whenever it will be necessary.


This study will be conducted after the permission of university authorities; the personal identities of participants will be anonymous for readers of this work.

Limitation of the Study

This study does now not focus on teachers’ beliefs about the socio-interactive context. Though teachers’ beliefs matter a lot in educating a language.

Delimitation of the Study

Like other research this study will not be without limitations;

  • The study will be limited to students of Sindh college Thatta campus.
  • The study will focus on language learners’ beliefs of students in the English department.


This study is based on the beliefs of language learners in a socio-interactive context.

As interaction is a main tool of learning and acquiring a language. Perceptions of students of the English department will be focused to find out their beliefs. Useful aspects of the sociocultural theory of learning a language will be spotlighted.


  1. Ashcraft, M. H. R., G. A (2014). Pearson Publishing, Definition, ScopeandHistory of Cognitive Psychology, Cognition, 6th edition.
  2. Creswell, J. W. (2002). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative: Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  3. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2011). The Sage handbook of qualitative research: Sage.
  4. Ellis, R. (2015). Learner Beliefs and Language Learning.Chang Jiang Scholar of Shanghai International Studies University and the University of Auckland. Asian EFL Journal, Vol. 10, No.4: Conference Proceedings.
  5. Gass, S. M. (2003). Input and interaction. The handbook of second language acquisition, 2, 224-256.
  6. Kluwe, F. E. W. R. (1987). Metacognition, motivation, and understanding. Psychology of education and instruction., xi, 327 pages: illustrations; 324 cm.
  7. Koichi, T., Ellis, R. ( (2014)). .Study-abroad, Language Proficiency and Learner Beliefs about Language Learning. The University of Auckland. JALT Journal, Vol. 25, No.1.
  8. Pope, C., Ziebland, S., & Mays, N. (2000). Qualitative research in health care: analyzing qualitative data. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 320(7227), 114.
  9. Puchta, H. (1999). Beyond materials, techniques, and linguistic analysis: The role of motivation, beliefs, and identity. Plenary session at the thirty-third International IATEFL Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 28th March-1st April.
  10. Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching: Cambridge university press.
  11. Schoenfeld, A. H. (1983). Beyond the purely cognitive: Belief systems, social cognition, and metacognition as driving forces in intellectual performance. Cognitive science, 7(4), 329-363.
  12. Schommer, M. (1990). Effects of beliefs about the nature of knowledge on comprehension. Journal of educational psychology, 82(3), 498.
  13. Smith, P. K., & Hart, C. H. (2011). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood social development: Wiley Online Library.
  14. White, C. (1999). Expectations and emergent beliefs of self-instructed language learners. The System, 27(4), 443-457.
  15. Young. (1999). The Development of Interactional Competence 119-120.

Cite this page

Investigating English Language Learner’s Beliefs. (2021, Feb 24). Retrieved from

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