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Examining the role of language attitudes and motivation on the sociocultural adjustment and the job performance of sojourners in Spain

International Journal of Intercultural Relations
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.08.004
  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Education


Abstract This research examines the interrelationships of a number of variables relevant to the functioning of individuals making cross-cultural transitions, and the relationship of these variables to indices of sociocultural adaptation and job performance. The study examined 127 British university students who worked as English instructors for a short-term intensive English as a foreign language program, known as Enjoy English, which takes place in Spain. The British instructors were assessed initially during the training period and again at the end of their 4-week teaching assignment. The instructors completed a personal profile on their demographic characteristics, along with a questionnaire composed of measures assessing various affective attributes related to the language and culture of Spain, reasons for accepting employment in Spain, contact with Spanish speakers, job-related attitudes, perceptions regarding differences between the cultures of Spain and Britain, and sociocultural adaptation. At the end of the program the supervisors, who are Spanish teachers of English ( n=49), were asked to assess the British instructors on measures of job performance (i.e., teacher effectiveness). The results provide evidence suggesting that previous experiences with the culture and communicative competence can facilitate the successful sociocultural adaptation of sojourners to foreign cultural environments, but that this is not necessarily indicative of effective job performance. These results revealed a number of important relationships relevant for individuals who are employed abroad as foreign language instructors, for others planning to travel abroad and take up temporary employment and/or those faced with the task of training and selecting potential employees.

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