Parents and Young Learners' Metaphorical Perceptions about Learning English

Abdullah Coşkun


By means of the metaphoric language used by parents and young English as a foreign language (EFL) learners to describe the English learning process, this study aims to reveal the perceptions of 109 young EFL learners in the 8th grade of secondary school and 66 parents in Turkey about learning English. To elicit these participants’ metaphors, they were asked to complete the gaps in the sentence “Learning English is like...because...” The emerging similar metaphors and the related justification were categorized under the predetermined categories (i.e., positive, negative, ambivalent and neutral metaphors), and some representative metaphors of the participants were illustrated under each category. Besides, to investigate whether there is any significant relationship between the numbers of positive/negative metaphors produced by 66 parents and their children attending the 8th grade, the Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated. The findings of the study revealed that parents were generally more positive than learners about the English language learning process. In contrast, the majority of learners produced negative metaphors such as "Learning English is like being able to walk on the water because both walking on the water and learning English are impossible" although some of them used metaphors such as "a skeleton key" to underline the utility of learning English. It was also found that there is a significant relationship between the numbers of positive/negative metaphors created by parents and their children about the English language learning process. At the end of this paper, some recommendations are made for young EFL learners, their teachers and parents for the improvement of the learning/teaching environment of the young EFL learners in Turkey. It is believed that studies dealing with metaphors held by parents and learners can pave the way for a better understanding of the challenges faced in the foreign language learning process, and necessary actions can be taken so that a more effective learning atmosphere can be created.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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