Motivation In The Learning Of English English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

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

Language is the centre of human life. It is one of the most important ways of expressing ourselves, communicating with people, planning our lives, remembering the past, exchanging ideas and preferences. The ability to do so in more than one language multiplies the opportunities for people to experience all these functions and even master them as well as advancing their career opportunities.

Motivation is one of the keys to successful language learning. maintaining a high level of motivation during a period of language learning is one of the best ways to make the whole process more successful.

Motivation, according to Mowrer (1950 cited in Larsen-Freeman and Long 1994), to communicate, become part of the family is what makes children succeed in learning their mother tongue.

Several theories and categorizations contribute to an understanding of academic motivation generally and second-language motivation specifically. These include the theory of integrative motivation introduced during the social-psychological period, as well as self determination Theory, its extensions, and the general categorizations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation developed during the cognitive-situated period.

Similar to other types of learning, second language acquisition (SLA) does not take place in a vacuum. Various factors are involved when it comes to SLA in general and English as a second language (ESL) in particular, one of which is motivation. From the Latin root movere, motivation refers to a process that starts with a need and leads to a behavior that moves an individual towards achieving a goal (Melendy, 2008). In SLA, it refers to the attempt and desire to learn a language and positive attitudes toward learning it (Dornyei, 1994).

Studying motivation is important to many SLA researchers, because it is believed that without ample motivation, even learners with the most notable abilities cannot achieve long-term goals. In other words, appropriate curricula and good instruction might not be enough to guarantee success. Students also need to have a degree of motivation (Guilloteaux & Dörnyei, 2008). According to Ebata (2008), motivation produces successful second language (L2) communicators by making them self-confident. Moreover, it can lead learners to continue learning even after they fulfill a specific goal. The other reason why some scholars are interested in investigating motivation might be the complexity of the issue, and the fact that motivation seems to be related to a variety of factors, each of which can be tackled in a separate study.

Gardner and Lambert's (1959) influential theory of attitudes and motivation is used here as a deliberative construct for this literature review. Gardner and Lambert (1959) formulated the theory of attitudes and motivation, in which they made a distinction between orientation and motivation. Accordingly, orientation refers to the purpose of learning a second language, which can be integrative or instrumental. Integrative orientation refers to reasons for L2 learning that emphasize identification with an L2 community. Instrumental orientation refers to reasons for learning an L2 that "reflect the more utilitarian value of linguistic achievement," (p. 267) with no intention of integration with the L2 community on the part of the learner. For example, an immigrant to an English-speaking country who studies English to identify himself or herself with that society has an integrative orientation to L2 learning. On the other hand, a person who learns English because she or he needs to get a job has an instrumental orientation to L2 learning. Gardner and Lambert (1959) have stated that integrative orientation seemed to be superior to instrumental orientation in SLA. Some researchers have relied on this theory to provide a definition for motivation, to distinguish between different kinds of motivation and orientation, and as a means of comparing their own research findings (Feng & Chen, 2009; Liu, 2007; Wang, 2007; Yihong, Yuan, Ying & Yan, 2007; Chen, Warden & Chang, 2005; Rahman, 2005). Thus, this theory, and a directed focus on motivation in SLA, remain significant in the face of contemporary educational issues (Wei, 2007).

More and more people around the world are showing an interest in learning a second language (Krashen, 1985).This may be as a result of the fast development of science and technology in transportation and communication, migration, computer and internet sensitization and the need for people to exchange cultures. Second language learning helps people to have more access in learning and discussing with people around the world. This considerable interest in the notion of motivation to learn a second or foreign language was not very impressive in the past decades (Gardner, 1985). Many people thought learning another language was only limited in intelligence and verbal ability as observed by R.C. Gardner (1985). Concepts like attitudes and anxiety were not considered to be important at all. Today, many of these ideas have changed, and one sometimes thinks that affective variables are considered to be the only variables (Gardner, 1985). Although learning a new language is a difficult time consuming process,(Schneider,2004), it is not surprising if it turned out that a number of variables that are hitherto not considered important are found to be implicated in learning a second language. Gardner indicates that present research focuses on individual differences in the characteristics of students such as attitudes and motivation, language anxiety, self confidence, friendship, field independence and personal variables. Furthermore, these characteristics also include need achievement, risk- taking, empathy and the like intelligence, language aptitude, and language learning strategies. Other variables and other classes of variables might well be considered viable candidates, Gardner, (1985).

According to Smith, 1971; Gardner& Lambert, 1972; Cooke, 1973, 1978; Gayle, 1981, Ralph, 1982; attitudes and motivational factors play a crucial role in foreign language learning. Gardner and Lambert (1972) indicate that those affective factors including attitudes and motivation have independent and significant relationships with foreign language learning achievement.

Gardner and Lambert (1972) also made a clear distinction between integrative and instrumental motivations. Integrative motivation is when the leaner wants to identify with the target group and instrumental motivation is when the learner wants to learn the language for utilitarian purposes. According to these authors, integrative motivation is a stronger predictor of second language learning than instrumental motivation. The integrative motive includes positive affect towards the target language and target community. In addition, Gardner and Smythe (1975) describe it as a motivational complex including integrative orientation, a desire to learn the target language and positive attitudes toward the second language group, the second language, the second language course and the teacher. In other words, orientation can spur a learner to learn a second language. Teachers can also orientate and motivate the learners and help them understand why they are learning a second language.

There have been, however, some criticisms of the distinct roles of integration and instrumental motives and the supremacy of the first over the second. In her research of 84 foreign students in an American University, England (1982) found that integrative motivation may not be the only orientation for successful second language learning. In fact, she found the anti- integrative orientations in some successful learners. The most controversial point seems to be the learners' attitudes towards the target community and their desire to become part of it. In actual fact, if one needs to learn a language faster, one should get nearer the people of that community or society. The researcher in question takes himself as an example. He speaks Chinese very well, because he has learned the people's behavior and has learnt to cooperate and communicate with them. Even though he also learns Chinese from the internet, communicating with the people is faster and reading may be more authentic. The danger in communicating with the target community may be that one may meet others who communicate in the non standard form, since people from different regions do not speak the same. Nevertheless, if the learner understands the culture he will be able to make a distinction. It gives a greater chance for the learner to discover that the same language is not so uniform everywhere. According to Shehadeh (1999), learners of second language have opportunities to receive input that they have made comprehensible through negotiation while at the same time producing comprehensible out put. Nevertheless, learners' attitudes towards a language, the second language course, and the second language teacher are less controversial.

according to Alegre and Moss, (1999) individual goals should grow out of the class needs assessment process. This helps in maintaining a connection between individual and class work and assists with the management and facilitation of multiple goals. For class needs assessment and goal setting, the teacher uses level appropriate tools to assist learners in:

- Identifying their long- term goals and reasons for studying English.

- Selecting topic units to be covered as a class, and

- Identifying and prioritizing language skill needs and focus.

It is very certain that from the needs and priorities identified through both activities, the teacher selects tool(s) to focus learners on an individual goal that can be accomplished during the time frame designated for goals process.

these components are important and have an impact on second language learning achievement even if the learner tends to have an instrumental rather than an integrative motivation. In fact Smythe, Stennett, and Feenstra (1972) argue that there are positive correlations between integrative and instrumental motivation and that they are not independent.

Researcher understands that students sometimes need a free class of their own; they propose topics, debates, watch movies and discuss. The teacher participates with them, asks questions or allows the students to ask questions too. The learners are always very excited to set and achieve their own goals. Sometimes they are bored with the teacher's approach or teaching styles. When they set their own tasks, they involve the teacher. This kind of approach gives the learners authority in their instruction and improves practice through a negotiated or better understanding of adults' needs. It increases learners' motivation and confidence and leads them to commit more time to studies. This makes the intelligent learners help the others and also brings in the teacher as a facilitator which is very important in learning and teaching process. Grasha,(n.d.), a professor of psychology from the United States, who spent all his time learning about teaching styles, suggested that teachers should integrate different teaching styles in their classrooms. He noted that teachers use the same teaching styles which could not entertain every learner.


Motivation in SLA has been extensively investigated in different contexts .Still, more research seems necessary to shed light on this area because of the potential impact of motivation on SLA.

common factors that may motivate a learner to be interested in second language learning may be the teacher's smart dressing, inviting learners' to coffee- break, prize- giving and going to cultural trips. Although there are other issues that may distract learners, the above factors can play an important role in second language development. Other areas that can also motivate learners of second languages include online learning and the use of multi- media. Technological influence is shaping the world of second language learning, so researchers and teachers should continue to remain current so that our classrooms should remain updated and motivated.