A Case Study About the Motivation of Englishmajors for Efl Learning

Topics: Language education, Motivation, Educational years Pages: 21 (9137 words) Published: October 31, 2008
A Case Study about the
Motivation of English Majors for EFL Learning

1. Introduction
Learning English as a foreign language has been prevailing in China for a long time. Since the national language in China is Chinese which is different from English in many ways, and there is no English-speaking environment, English is mainly acquired through school courses and in the classroom context. Therefore, in recent decades, many Chinese researchers are borrowing and adapting some Second Language (L2 hereinafter) theories from the west, which can guide English teachers to better develop the English proficiency of students. Among various L2 theories, motivation is universally acknowledged as an important factor that affects L2 learning, and it also has been drawing much attention on the part of Chinese researchers.

2. Literature Review
2.1 What is L2 motivation?
According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, “Motivation is often defined as a psychological trait which leads people to achieve a goal. For language learners, mastery of a language may be the goal.” In Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics, motivation is defined as “the factors that determine a person’s desire to do something. In SECOND LANGUAGE AND FOREIGN LANGUAGE learning, learning may be affected differently by different types of motivation”. To put it simply, motivation in L2 learning is the desire to develop the L2 language proficiency. 2.2 Why do we explore motivation?

First of all, motivation is one of the most important variables that determine the achievement of L2 learners, and stronger motivation can lead to greater achievement. As Gardner (2001) claims, “other variables are dependent on motivation for their effects to be realized”. He gives two examples to illustrate: “Language learning strategies probably will not be used if the individual is not motivated to learn the language, and/or there is little or no reason to take risks using the language if there is little intention to learn it”. Also, a study done to 72 English majors by Wen Qiufang (1996) proves that motivation exerts great influence to beliefs and strategies. In a word, motivation is closely tied to the language proficiency. Second, L2 motivation within language learners can change. To put it more exactly, some elements that contribute to motivation may undergo changes. Gardner has conducted a study to evaluate the hypothesis that many of those elements can be changed under the right circumstance. The results have confirmed the hypothesis. Though those elements change to different extents and within limits, the changes do occur. Therefore, to explore L2 motivation is significant in the classroom setting. With the help of the conceptualized motivation, teachers can better understand the progress and behaviors of their students, and then evaluate and readjust their classroom practice and teaching methods. Accordingly, students will be motivated to a bigger extent and obtain greater achievement in L2 learning.. 2.3 Gardner’s Motivation Theory

L2 motivation research was initiated by Gardner and Lambert in Canada. Taking the special bilingual context of Canada into consideration, they put a social psychological emphasis throughout the study. “They saw second languages as meditating factors between different ethnolinguistic communities in multicultural settings”(Dornyei,2001,p.48). In Gardner and Lambert’s theory, the most noted concept is “integrativeness”, which subsumes three parts, “integrative orientation”, “interest in foreign language”, and “attitudes towards the L2 community”, “reflecting the individual’s willingness and interest in social interaction with members of other groups”(in Dornyei, 2005). Here, “integrative orientation” means the desire to communicate with or even become similar to the L2 group. Opposite to it is “instrumental orientation”, which concerns some practical benefits of L2, such as passing an exam or getting a job. Meanwhile, Gardner...

Bibliography: Gardner, R.C. “Language Learning Motivation: The Student, the Teacher, and the Researcher”, Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education 6 (2001): 1-18.
_______ “Attitude/Motivation Test Battery” (1985).
华惠芳. 试论英语学习动机与策略的研究. <<外语界>>第三期(1998): 44-47.
武和平. 九十年代外语二语学习动机研究述略.<<外语教学与研究>>第2期(2001): 116–121.
刘东楼. 外语教学中动机问题的几点思考.<<外语教学>>第7期(2002):58-61.
秦晓晴. 动机理论研究及其对外语学习的意义.<<外语研究>>第4期(2002):74-78.
杨国俊. 论英语学习动力的强化策略.<<外语界>> 第3期(2002):27-31.
文秋芳. 英语学习者动机、观念、策略的变化规律与特点.<<外语教学与研究>>第3期(2001):105-110.
石永珍. 大学生英语学习动机调查报告.<<国外外语教学>>第4期(2000):8-11.
高一虹 等. 大学本科生英语学习动机类型与自我认同变化的关系.<<国外外语教学>>第4期(2002):18-24.
________中国大学生本科英语学习动机类型.<<现代外语>>第1期(2003):29-38.
________英语学习动机类型与动机强度的关系——对大学本科生的定量考察.<<外语研究>>第1期(2003):60-64.
秦晓晴,文秋芳.非英专大学生学习动机内在结构.<<外语教学与研究>>第1期(2002):51-58.
邱传伟.二语/外语学习动机研究发展述评.<<天津外国语学院学报>>第2期,(2005):57-61.
励哲蔚.非英语专业大学生英语学习观念调查.<<外语教学>>第5期(2007):49-54.
Li Junwei. “A Case Study of Changing Motivation in Foreign Language Learning”.
<<中国英语教学>>第3期(2007):54-63.
Net.1: Motivation in Second Language Learning, April 20th, 2008
http://www.answers.com/motivation%20in%in20second%20language%20lea
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Motivation in Second Language Learning Essay
  • Motivation And Attitudes Towards Learning English: A Study Of Essay
  • case study Essay
  • Case Study Essay
  • case study Essay
  • Motivation Case Study Essay
  • Case Study: Learning Disabilities in a Classroom Essay
  • Employee Motivation Case Study Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free