Gender Matters from the Beginning of the Long Journey of Foreign Language Learning- A Case Study in Taiwan

The role of gender in language learning has been discussed very often. Many research findings have revealed that many female students behave differently and perform better than male students in foreign language learning (Fringold, 1992; Good &Brophy, 1986; Hou, 2013; Oxford &Lavine, 1991; Yang, 1993). Particularly, in areport of TOEIC Scores in Taiwan area, it was supported again that among the 324,495 test-takers in the year of 2014(81.9% were college students or above), females (57.2%) had better scores than males (42.8%) by 22 points (scores=546: 524) (TOEIC Newsletter 37, 2015, April, pp.1-2). In addition, in the year of 2015, among the 8,019 test takers of TOEIC Bridge (46% were junior high graduates and 29% were elementary school graduates), females (44.76%) had higher scores than males (55.24%), too (scores=128: 114) (TOEIC Newsletter, 2016, September, pp.24-25) ( Since foreign language learning is a long journey, especially, English education in Taiwan has been officially conducted in elementary schools starting from 2005, more than one decade ago, the present study intended to investigate if genders made such difference of their English learningfrom the beginning.Participants were 253students from 5 elementary schools in southern Taiwan.Allwere arranged to take a pre-test and a post-test of an English proficiency test(NETPAW) together with a 49-item questionnaire dealing with their personal factors related to English learning(gender, age, socio-economic class, parents‟ educational level and attitude) as well asEnglish learning motivation/attitude (Gardner, 1985). All available data were processed by SPSS 18.0 for descriptive, t-test, and regression analyses. It was expected that the findings could provide more understanding about howgenders matterof English learning behavior due to the personal factorsrelated to English learning from the very beginning and how it led to the different performancebetween males and females afterwards.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v5n2a7