Learning a language is a process that is complex yet simple at the same time. A number of factors come into play in the process of language learning.
For the case of the learning English in Rwanda, all these factors or conditions should be in place for better results to obtained.
A person’s motivation behind learning a second language (L2) and the views they hold regarding the L2-speaking community both come into play in terms of speed of second language acquisition (SLA) and degree of proficiency achieved.
Motivation is differentiated along a continuum—integrative at one end and instrumental at the other. Integrative motivation is seen in language learners whose desire to learn is rooted in wanting to become part of the L2-speaking community, wants more contact with it, or is genuinely interested in it.
On the other end of the spectrum is instrumental motivation. A student who sees language as a means to obtaining some reward (good grades, employment, a diploma or for mere appreciation) would reflect instrumental motivation.
Integrative motivation is more helpful in SLA and proficiency because there is more desire for interaction with the community and the language that helps acquisition.
Those students with mainly instrumental motivation are less likely to seek out situations where their language skills will be needed and will be improved, like social occasions in the L2 community, readings in the L2, or friends in the L2 community.
Also, students with low views of the L2 community are likely to not see benefits in learning the language.
If a language community is associated with poverty, crime or other negative characteristics, there is less motivation for students to be associated with that community.
It would make sense that the number of the opportunities the brain has to store and reinforce patterns, accents, concepts, and meanings of a language, that the better this information would be stored.
Personality can also affect SLA. In combination with environment it can act to inhibit learners or to encourage increased opportunity.
Introversion has the greatest chance of negatively affecting SLA. Students that are afraid of embarrassing themselves by speaking incorrectly or by not being able to speak at all may try to avoid opportunities that would otherwise aid their learning.
If teachers correct mistakes and further embarrass shy students, it may isolate students even more. Instead, repeating back the corrected statement allows feedback without a damaging student’s ego.
The greatest challenge that many students in schools are facing now is practicing spoken English. They feel more at home when they speak Kinyarwanda in their daily discourse.
While it does not immediately dawn on them that not having practice in speaking English as a second language will have far reaching consequences in their future communication needs, they exude confidence that they know it in written and nothing more than that is necessary.
It calls for the input of all stake holders to reverse this situation. Enforcement of English speaking at schools should be done in a way that will not bring resistance and create a negative attitude towards the language.