Jan L. Lund

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Teacher Education


The premise of this study is to ascertain whether there is a significant difference between foreign language education in the United States and in certain countries of the European Economic Community which would lead to significantly different outcomes of student achievements on the secondary level. The study was undertaken to compare aspects such as foreign language requirements, methods in foreign language teaching and various factors which contribute to student motivation in foreign language study. The countries researched for the study were Great Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Sources used included journal articles, position papers, conference proceedings, documents retrieved through ERIC, interviews and personal observations. Conclusions of the study indicate that European foreign language classroom outcomes are more favorable than those of the United States. American foreign language teachers are inundated with so many research-based methodologies that they have a difficult task reaching consensus on optimal language instruction. European classroom techniques are more traditional and when research is cited 1n their methodology it· is often American research. The United States has no common instrument for measuring student progress nor any sets of national requirements. European students are required to take foreign languages at various set stages in their education, and their progress is rigorously measured at given intervals. European students are motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically to start a foreign language and continue with one or more to obtain proficiency, while American students generally do not see a need for foreign languages in their lives. This study sets forth several implications for further research which could play a role in the equalization of outcomes in American and European classrooms. These would include the possible need for the fallowing: uniform national standards for foreign language education in the United States, the introduction of foreign language at the primary level, centralized management of foreign language study, research on actual classroom behavior of foreign language teachers, the need to improve the status of foreign language teachers, and the globalization of the curriculum.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1991 Jan L. Lund.