Analysing The Importance Of Motivation English Language Essay

Published:

Motivation is ''a combination of the desires, attitudes, and willingness of learners to expend effort in order to acquire and learn the second language'' (Richards and Schmidt 2002, 343). Thus, motivation examines what affects learners' attitudes and behaviour and what educational practitioners can do in order to deal with the students' attitudes and behaviour towards L2 (Abu-Rmaileh 2006). This shows that motivation is vital in SLA as it provides the ''primary impetus to acquire and initiate foreign or second language (L2) acquisition and learning and later the motivation to maintain or sustain the tedious and long process of learning'' (Guilloteaux and Dörnyei 2008, 55-56). Dörnyei (2005, 65) argues that all other factors related to SLA rely upon motivation to some extent. Without motivation, even the best learners may not be successful in achieving long-term goals, and high levels of motivation can help a learner to overcome low aptitude or language abilities.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

Because of the importance of motivation, L2 researchers have developed motivation theories that can help to determine factors that can affect learners' attitudes and behaviour and foster more motivated and successful learners. For example, the self-determination theory focuses on two factors that determine L2 motivation (Dörnyei 1998a, 121). The first is intrinsic, which concerns the pleasure of doing something for its own sake in order to satisfy certain needs (Dörnyei 1998a, 121), and the second is extrinsic motivation, which concerns undertaking an action for a certain reason such as getting a reward or avoiding punishment (Noels et al. 2003, 39). These two factors are important as each individual has the right to choose which reason can motivate him or her. Another theory is the acculturation theory (Schumann 1986), which focuses on the social integration of the L2 learner with the target language community (Schumann 1986, cited in Dörnyei 2001c, 72). The following section looks at Gardner's theory, which Crookes and Schmidt (1991, 501) note is one of the most influential L2 motivational theories, stating that Gardner's ''approach has been so dominant that alternative concepts have not been seriously considered''. However, Crookes and Schmidt made this claim nearly two decades ago, before the development of a number of more recent theories.

Gardner is one of the leading scholars in the field of motivation. Gardner (2001) claims that his interest in this area began in 1956, when he was a graduate student in psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He states that what provided the impetus for most of his research was that he could not believe how someone could learn a second language without admiring the native speakers of the language. From that point and claim, he started his research, leading to several works and contributions in the field of L2 motivation.

Gardner and Lambert (1972, 11) claim that at the time they began their research not much had been done regarding the motivational factors that effect L2 achievement because of perceived difficulties in determining and measuring the motivational and attitude factors that govern success in L2 learning. However, they started by looking into the work of Mowrer (1950) concerning first language acquisition. They claim that Mowrer suggests that a child identifies with the sounds he/she hears from his parents and tries to imitate them with some auditory feedback from the parents. However, this may not explain the whole process of first language learning. They argue that the term 'identification' presented by Mowrer (1950) in relation to first language learning is different if used in L2 learning. This is because first language learning identification is derived from basic biological needs, whereas in L2 learning interpersonal and social motives have a role in learning a language. Therefore, this led them to coin a new term, 'integrative motivation', which is ''hypothesized to be a complex of attitudinal, goal-directed, and motivational attributes''. This means that the integratively motivated individual is motivated to learn the language and willing to identify with the L2 group, and thereby shows positive attitudes towards the learning situation (Gardner 2001a, 9).

Gardner developed the socio-educational model of second language acquisition (SLA), derived from a social psychological model of SLA presented by Lambert (1963, 1967, 1974, cited in Gardner 1992, 211). This was based on empirical research conducted mostly in Canada, the USA (in Maine, Louisiana and Connecticut) and the Philippines (Gardner and Macintyre 1993a, 1). Gardner (2001b) claims that the three configurations of integrativeness, attitudes towards the learning situation and motivation form a complex variable called integrative motivation.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

Integrativeness can be defined as the willingness to identify with the target's language group (Masgoret and Gardner 2003). This means that someone who is willing to learn an L2 has to have the will to interact with its speakers and engage with them, and perhaps even identify with them to the extent that they neglect their own identity. The second configurations are behaviour towards the learning situation. This refers to the reactions that students have to the formal instruction in class (Gardner and Macintyre 1993b). It was measured by two variables: course evaluation and teacher evaluation (Gardner, et al. 2004, 5). These variables were viewed as the most significant in attitude measurement towards the learning circumstances (although some factors could have been considered, such as the teaching materials evaluation and teaching environment) (Masgoret and Gardner 2003, 127). The third one is Motivation. Gardner (1985, 10) defines motivation as:

This is the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language. That is, motivation to learn a second language is seen as referring to the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity.

This definition shows motivation to include three elements: effort, desire and effect (Gardner 1985, 11). Gardner (2001b, 8) argues that an individual shows effort in learning a language by doing many things, such as doing more than the required homework; they achieve success in the second language by expressing the desire to do so and by saying that it is fun and enjoyable.

Furthermore, Gardner (2001b, 8) also argues that an individual who achieves the three elements discussed above will be more motivated, and that this can be used to distinguish between a more motivated and a less motivated learner. He also claims that motivation is a complex construct that can contain more elements than just effort, want and affect, but that these are adequate to assess motivation (2001b, 9).

The three configurations of Gardner's socio-educational model discussed above (integrativeness, attitudes towards the learning situation and motivation) comments on these three variables by claiming that "the integratively motivated individual is one who is motivated to learn the second language, has a desire or willingness to identify with the other language community, and tends to evaluate the learning situation positively." This means that Gardner sees the integrativeness of the individual as a factor that can support the individual in learning a language, and increase their level of motivation. This can be clearly seen by his assumption that integrativeness and attitudes towards the learning situation support motivation (Gardner 2001b, 13), which shows motivation leading naturally to language achievement. Gardner defines this as the knowledge that an individual has regarding the structure of the language, such as vocabulary and grammar, or the level of proficiency an individual has in the four skills of speaking, writing, reading and understanding (Gardner 1985, 12). After much criticism, Gardner (2000) claims that he and his associates do not argue that this is the only type of motivation, but that an individual learning a L2 needs to identify with the native speakers of the target language to some extent and find the learning situation exciting if they are to be motivated to learn the language. He also adds that it is not necessary to have all the three characteristics, but if an individual does possess them then that individual can be referred to as being integratively motivated.

Another type of motivation discussed in Gardner's Motivational Theory is the instrumental motivation. Instrumental orientation ''defined as the perceived pragmatic advantages of L2 proficiency and recognition that reflects for many language learners that considered as useful for L2 proficiency that gives the greatest benefits in learning the language'' (Dörnyei, Csizér and Németh 2006, 12). This idea means that learning a language is a factor for an individual to benefiting from it (finding a job, for examle). Gardner's model did not given much attention to instrumental orientation. Gardner admits that he and his associates were unsuccessful in trying to expand the instrumental orientation on a number of occasions. Moreover, Dörnyei, (2005) also presents that Gardner and his companies ignored the term 'instrumental orientation' and directed their attention more on its integrative counterpart. In fact, Gardner (2001b, 16) argues that the term 'instrumental orientation' was related and measured to second language acquisition by Dörnyei (1990). Dörnyei (1990, 49) admits that instrumental motivation can be significant factor especially for L2 learners when the L2 is considered a FL. The reason behind this assumption is directed in FL context L2 learners which do not have initial contact with the native speakers or do not need to utilize the language in their everyday living and communication. Another factor that was showed in the socio-educational model is anxiety in the classroom. However, this factor does not play a vital role in Gardner's model (Gardner 2001b, 16).

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

It has been noted that instrumental and integrative orientation are the two concepts most widely associated with Gardner's work in L2 motivation (Dörnyei 2001, 48). Masgoret and Gardner (2003, 129) claim that orientations refer specifically to the types of reasons given for studying a second language. They claim that integrative orientation refers to classes of reasons to study a language in order to identify with the target language's community, and that instrumental orientation refers to classes of reasons for studying a language that are not related to identification with the communities of native speakers but to the pragmatic gains that can result from an understanding of a given language.

Furthermore, Gardner (2001b, 6) claims that the beginning of orientations in L2 motivation started with some studies conducted by Lambert (1955) on the language behaviour of individuals at different levels of bilingual development. Gardner claims that Lambert conducted studies on native speakers of French living in an English-speaking environment in an American city. One of these studies focused on a student who identified with the French language and French-speaking community by reading French newspapers and magazines and wanting immediately to return to France. Another study showed how a woman wanted to study French in order to be a better French teacher (as she had been teaching French for several years), and from this point the integrative and instrumental orientation was clearly seen.

Gardner (2001b, 10) explains the difference between motivation and orientations by claiming that there are many reasons for learning a language. For example, an individual can learn a language because they want to communicate with native speakers or any other speakers of that language. However, he claims that these are only reasons and they do not necessarily mean that the individual is motivated as he argues that a "motivated individual … expends effort, has wants and desires, enjoys the activity, experiences reinforcement for success, dissatisfaction for failure, makes attributions, is aroused, etc'' (2001b, 10). Therefore, this shows that for an individual to be motivated he or she needs more than just reasons for learning a language but must possess the characteristics of the motivated individual, and this marks the difference between orientations and motivation. Orientations are only reasons to learn the language. Thus, Gardner suggests that an integratively orientated individual has several reasons to learn the language that are related to the willingness to get closer to a community that uses the language; however, this does not necessarily mean that an individual is integratively motivated until he or she has the characteristics of the motivated individual discussed above. The same applies for the instrumentally orientated individual.

One of the main criticisms of Gardner's socio-educational model of SLA was presented by Dörnyei (1994a). Although Dörnyei admits that Gardner's model has benefited the field of SLA for several years, he claims that it lacks an ''education-centred approach to motivation'' (1994a, 273), and should focus on helping teachers in the classroom to follow the directions of educational psychological research. Although Dörnyei (1994a, 273) claims that Gardner has discussed an educational dimension in his model (referring to the evaluation of the course and the teacher), the focus was found to be on motivational components in the social 'milieu' and not in the L2 classroom. Dörnyei argues that the two variables that Gardner chose to evaluate the attitudes towards the learning situation are helpful, but do not provide practical help for teachers as teachers need to know how to apply theories in their classroom. Furthermore, Dörnyei claims that Gardner's motivation construct does not address any cognitive aspects of motivation, which has been the direction of the psychological research on motivation over the past few years.

Dörnyei (1994a, 274) also claims that Gardner's theory has been mainly linked to instrumental and integrative motivation, although it is much broader than these two components. He argues that this is a result of their ''simplicity and intuitively convincing character''. (1994a, 274). He claims that these two components can not be universal and that they are ''subsystems - comprising context-specific clusters of loosely related components'' (1994a, 275). He supports this by claiming that other studies found other orientations not related to the integrative and instrumental ones. The orientations that Dörnyei refers to are found by Clement and Kruidenier (1985) in their research conducted in Canada. They found orientations such as friendship, knowledge, and travel, which are not necessarily linked to the orientations presented in Gardner's socio-educational model. For example, an individual who is learning an L2 for travel reasons is not necessarily learning it for instrumental orientations (such as getting a job), or for integrative orientations (to engage with the target language community).

Furthermore, Dörnyei (1990, 58) also found other orientations that are not linked to the instrumental orientation. He investigated young adult learners in L2 learning contexts, and his study revealed several orientations such as interest in L2, and the desires for knowledge, to avoid provincialism, and to undertake new challenges.

The growing interest in better understanding for this concept is what constitutes effective model practice, coupled with its power to leverage language acquisition improvement, presents a challenge and opportunity for L2 learners to address how to efficiently and reliably measure their language performance. The role of motivations and evaluations has surfaced only recently as an underutilized resource that might hold promise as a tool to promote language and professional growth and measure L2 effectiveness in learning environment. It involves generating and collecting evidence of a learner's attainment of knowledge and skills and judging that evidence against defined standards. On the other hand, second language motivation means a language opportunities that plays a institutional and social role in the community, that is, it function as a recognized means of communicating among members who speak another language as their mother language.