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The U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of educators, especially in the area of foreign language. Reasons for the shortage range from retirements to increased enrollments to new teacher attrition. The teacher shortage is a complicated issue, and a review of the literature reveals a dearth of research on certain potentially important factors such as student perceptions of the teaching profession. The purpose of the present study was to investigate and understand students’ perceptions about a career in foreign language education and to determine whether those perceptions could be influenced by instruction and by the provision of pertinent information. Specifically, the research question posed was:Will students be more likely to consider becoming a FL teacher if they are educated about the benefits of becoming a teacher? The investigation used a quasi-experimental research design and involved secondary students (n=106) studying Spanish in five rural schools. Pre- and posttest results from the survey indicated statistically significant differences between the control and experimental groups in conceptual change for four of 12 constructs explored. This research may have implications not only for the profession of foreign language education, but also for broader understanding of the importance of career counseling for adolescents.


Originally published in:

Swanson, P., & Moore, A. D. (2006). Changing student misperceptions about foreign language teaching: A research-based approach to improving recruitment practices. NECTFL Review, 59, 6-27.