Conceptual Metaphors: an Insight into Teachers’ and Students’ EFL Learning Beliefs

No Thumbnail Available
Universidad ORT Uruguay
Cuadernos de Investigación Educativa; Vol. 13 No. 2 (2022): Cuadernos de Investigación Educativa
Thesis note
Thesis degree name
Teachers and students hold their own language learning beliefs about English as a Foreign Language (EFL). In the classroom, students’ and teachers’ beliefs interact, which might result in either tension or opportunities for change. Considering that it might be difficult to evoke some of the participants’ beliefs, this study opted to analyze conceptual metaphors as an indirect way to elicit them. Metaphors are part of our thoughts and actions and, sometimes, they are the only way of organizing and expressing our experiences coherently (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003). This study analyzed, through metaphor analysis, how students’ beliefs about learning EFL relate to the teacher’s selection and use of language learning strategies (LLS) in the classroom. The study occurred at an English Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay, between October and November 2018. The methodology of this multiple case study was qualitative. The participants were three EFL teachers and four groups of students ranging from basic to advanced level. Students were asked to respond to the following prompt with a metaphor: “For me, learning English as a foreign language is (like)… because…”. Then they wrote a letter advising a future EFL student. Teachers answered a structured interview in which they provided a metaphor describing the work with their groups. The most heterogeneous group in terms of age was selected for a follow-up structured interview. Results indicate that metaphors not only shed light upon how students perceive their learning process, but also encourage reflection. The study also found that several factors influence teachers’ selection of language learning strategies, including the role of international exams. We can conclude that visible interactions that happen in class are like the tip of an iceberg - beliefs lie hidden from view.
conceptual metaphor, language learning beliefs, language learning strategies, EFL, teacher cognition
View in library
Rights license