Student Perceptions of L2 Instructors: How Foreign Accent and Cultural Education Affect Student Learning and Perceived Instructor Credibility



Kueppers, George

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Though a great deal of instructional communication research has explored the influence of various instructor traits on student learning, little attention has been paid to the role differences in linguistic background can play in educational contexts. This study sought to inform this underexplored area of research by determining how an L2 instructor’s foreign accent influences students’ perceptions both of the instructor’s credibility and of their own learning, while also evaluating the effectiveness of a cultural sensitivity training designed to reduce students’ negative perceptions of L2 speakers. Using a 2 (Intervention vs. No Intervention) x 2 (Accent vs. No Accent) factorial experimental design, participants (N = 355) viewed two videos and then completed questions measuring their learning and perceptions of the instructor. Results indicated no significant relationship between accent and learning nor accent and credibility, though there was a significant positive relationship between intervention and perceived learning. Implications and limitations of these findings are discussed, followed by recommendations for future research in this area.



L2 instructors, Cultural education, Affective learning, Foreign accent, Cognitive learning, Perceived instructor credibility