Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-4-2023


The elderly population (60 years or older) has been increasing during the past decades around the world and is expected to reach two billion by 2050 (Scult, Haime, et al 2015). However, the misconception that elderly people are uncapable, or incompetent is still part of the imaginary constructed around such populations (Minichiello and Coulson, 2005). Older adults present powerful functional capacities and social activities lead to better performance and slower decreases in their memory and executive function (Scott, Masser, & Pachana, 2020). Thus, second language learning plays an effective role in enabling active and regular engagement in social and psychological tasks. This study discusses psychosocial impacts of aging and suggests a teaching approach which considers and targets such impacts. Fifteen elderly participants in Juiz de Fora (Minas Gerais, Brazil) were exposed to L2 teaching interventions, documented their needs and interests in SLL and were assessed on how they responded to self-efficacy and community engagement as teaching strategies. This investigation culminated in the proposal of SLL pedagogical approaches to older adults, arguing in favor of a more diverse and inclusive access to education.

Degree Name

Spanish (MA)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Eva Rodríguez González

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jessica Carey-Webb

Third Committee Member

Dr. Patrícia Nora de Souza Ribeiro




second language learning, second language acquisition, aging

Document Type