Student motivation to learning English as a foreign language

动机与英语学习

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NOVE MR E IUD EC E M E R 2000 R

Student Motivation to Learn English as a Foreign Language Kassim A. Shaaban American University o Beirut f Ghazi Ghaith American Univevsity of Beirut

Abstract: This study examined the motivation of 180 university-bound Lebanese students to learn English as aforeign language (EFL). Data were gathered through administering a modified version of the motivation scale developed by Wen (1997). Thefindings revealed that integrative motivation, effort, valence, expectancy, and self-estimation o ability were internally related deterf minants of motivation for learning EFL. Instrumental motivation was found to be related to integrative motivation and valence only. The findings also revealed that female students were more motivated than their male counterparts. Similarly, level 1 proficiency students were more moti1 vated than were level III students. Howevel; thefindings did not show a significant effect on motivation related to either students’first foreign language or university majol:

Introduction The role of learners’ motivation in the acquisition of languages other than their own has been a subject of controversy in applied linguistics. Typically, second language acquisition (SLA) theorists tend to group motivation together with various aspects of personality and emotion as“affective” factors that play a role in language acquisition (Dulay et al. 1982; Stern 1983; Ellis 1985). One corollary of this orientation is a focus on order of acquisition, developmental sequences, and the role of biologically specified determinants of acquisition (universal grammar) over which learners have no control. However, the SLA theorists’ understanding of the role of motivation is limited, and our understanding of motivation is likely to change, given widespread calls for helping students become autonomous learners, that is, students who are involved in and responsible for their own learning. Furthermore, many aspects of language learning are subject to learners’ active choices, such as taking a course or not, communicating with native speakers, allocating attention, and so forth. These considerations, coupled with the fact that learners’ cognitive strategies constitute a strong determinant of acquisition (O’Malley et al. 1985), suggest that it is important to re-examine the role of motivation in the light of contemporary conceptualizations of language learning. In their classic study of the role of motivation in second language acquisition, Gardner and Lambert (1959) identified two kinds of motivation: integrative and instrumental. These researchers maintained that integrative motivation signifies the learners’ desire to identify with the target culture, whereas instrumental motivation refers to the need to fulfill a practical objective - such as obtaining employment. Later on, Gardner and Lambert (1972) and Gardner (1980, 1985, 1988) proposed a socioeducational model of motivation that emphasized the influ-

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ssim A. Shaaban (Ph.D., University o Texas) is Associate Professor ofEnglish at the American f University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Ghazi Ghaith (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Associate Professor o Language Education at the f American University o Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. f

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