I Can; Analyzing Self- Reflection Statements of French Language Learners
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This paper investigates the nature of student open-ended reflectional responses on French foreign language exams. We hypothesized that these types of responses may indicate how students change over the first four semesters of French. Open-ended reflection statements from midterms and finals over the courses of French 110, French 120, French 211, and French 221 were recorded for this study. These responses, called “I can” statements, allow the student to reflect and write down four phrases of what they can do, or perform, in the French language. Responses were categorized by the mode of communication, by the content, and finally by the verbs used in each response along with complexity. From the results, it may be speculated that in the first semester of learning a foreign language, students responses include statements involving one way communication (such as speaking and presenting.) As students advance through the first few semesters of a foreign language, responses include incrementally more activities indicating students’ ability to comprehend the language (such as reading and listening skills) and to use their language for two-way communication (such as interacting in a conversation) along with performing multiple kinds of communication simultaneously, rather than performing presentational tasks (such as presenting and speaking.) These results could indicate that students are at first more confident in their abilities to perform presentational tasks in their first semester(s) of learning French and grow more confident in their ability to perform interpretive and interpersonal tasks, as well as performing multiple modes of communication simultaneously.