Uncovering Saudi English Language Majors' Cognitive Beliefs about Learning English Literature
English Language Teaching
Evidence shows that learners' performance is largely influenced by their cognitive beliefs about learning. The main purpose of the present study is to identifying the cognitive beliefs of Saudi English Language major students in order to get a deeper insight into their inner thoughts about studying literature and to find out the effect of gender on deciding their preferences. A total of 71 male and female English language major Saudi students of the English Language and Translation
... ranslation Department in the Main Campus at Qassim University participated in the study. Data were collected quantitatively and qualitatively by means of students’ questionnaires and interviews. Findings show that participants hold both motivating and demotivating/unrealistic cognitive beliefs about literature learning. The results provide valid evidence on the participants' informed awareness of the social and academic benefits of learning English literature and uncovered their supportive cognitive beliefs that might enhance willingness to study foreign literature. Likewise, it is revealed that issues related to difficulty of literature learning, classroom practices, curriculum and career opportunities have created the established demotivating cognitive beliefs underlying participants' disinclination to literature study. Results also show that analysis of learners' cognitive beliefs would help modify unrealistic beliefs about literature learning and help create a motivating learning environment suitable for the growth of students’ knowledge. The study concluded that cognitive beliefs are the key word for the success of any educational development endeavors and should always be at the center of any learning process being the inner self human power that drives learners’ major behaviors toward their learning preferences and choice of courses. The study recommends identification of learners' cognitive beliefs so as to provide guidelines to English literature instructors to tailor their teaching methods to learners' realistic cognitive beliefs to avoid mismatches with classroom practices. The study also recommends investigating the global structure of the students’ cognitive beliefs to guide educationists in developing curricula that would help students acquire knowledge in an organized manner, and to improve it.