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Primary to Secondary School Transitions: Exploring the Factors Contributing to English Language Acquisition

Student: Anastasiya Gudz

Supervisor: Lada Smirnova

Faculty: Institute of Education

Educational Programme: Pedagogy (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

From primary to secondary school transition is an important stage in students’ life that affects their success in all their further learning (Evangelou и др., 2008). It has been noticed, however, that after the transition to secondary school students’ pace of language skill acquisition might be decreasing (Wigfield и др., 1991), on the contrary to expected their gradual acceleration. To the best of my knowledge, previous studies do not relate this transition to the principles of second language acquisition (SLA). The preliminary review of theoretical literature on child development for the 10-12 age range, the SLA stages theory and the input hypothesis (affective filter) as well as published research examining the various aspects (cognitive, procedural, emotional, social) of transition to secondary school, have made it possible to hypothesize that there are factors that negatively affect SLA in the new setting of secondary school. My study is aimed to explore these possible factors which explain the difficulties in learning English. I explore them from the perspective of teachers, parents and students. Using thematic analysis, I have found common factors, which I divided into two categories: external and internal. External factors represent new circumstances the students find themselves in after the transition. Interior factors describe cognitive, psychological, and emotional states that students may have that negatively affect their performance in the new conditions of secondary school. The suggestions for future research on these factors include the detailed analysis of any of them and the relationship between them. Knowing these factors can minimize the negative effects of the transition on the students’ achievements in SLA. Key words: SLA, learning English, transition to secondary school, secondary school.

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