Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yasha Becton


This qualitative action research study investigated the engagement of middle school males in a foreign language class based in a British overseas territory. The data collection methods consisted of focus groups, observations, and surveys. The participants for this research included five students who are identified as males. The desired outcome of the research was to determine whether teaching strategies aligned with Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI), the learner-centered approach, and Robert Gardner’s motivation theory with reference to integrative motivation, increased the engagement of middle school males in the foreign language classroom. The research questions included: RQ 1. How does an intervention model utilizing Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, Robert Gardner’s integrative motivational strategies, and a learner-centered instructional approach impact the engagement of young men in a 6thgrade foreign language classroom?; and RQ 2. What are the perceptions of students identified as males whose first language is English in regard to the strategic learnercentered and motivational strategies employed in a Middle 1 (M1) foreign language course? The results from the focus groups audio transcripts demonstrated that the learning styles that were most common among the participants involved bodilykinesthetic, verbal-linguistic, and visual-spatial. The results from the data that included teacher-researcher’s observations revealed five main themes. The themes were that the participants had an appreciation for autonomy, student absences affected engagement, enthusiasm among participants increased when instruction incorporated culture,participants demonstrated ownership of learning, and increased awareness of content relevance among participants. Additionally, five themes emerged from the qualitative survey: 1. understanding the importance of language skills development; 2. independent learning as a vehicle for ownership; 3. understanding the importance of cultural awareness; 4. understanding the need for application of language skills; 5. positive emotions in regard to the target culture. Overall, the findings showed that tapping into the learning styles of learners as per the theory of multiple intelligences, using a learner-centered approach, and Robert Gardner’s integrative motivation positively impacted engagement.


© 2022, Georgette Paula Leslie