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Motivation and Its Role in Language Acquisition
Robert A. Cote SLAT 596Y Dr. Linda Waugh December 15, 2004
“Motivation represents one of the most appealing, yet complex, variables used to explain individual differences in language learning” (MacIntyre et al. 2001, p. 462). These words succinctly describe the multifaceted issue that researchers, classroom instructors and language learners themselves have faced since Gardner and Lambert brought to light the complexities of motivation via their studies in the late 1950’s. The number of factors involved in motivating persons to acquire a foreign language has increased tremendously during the past four decades and attempting to address all of these components in one paper is impractical. The author will therefore attempt to present a limited overview of motivation, supporting research from both inside and outside of the classroom and views challenging its validity. Prior to exploring motivation and its function in language acquisition, one must first understand the term in its general sense. MacIntyre et al. defined motivation as “an attribute of the individual describing the psychological qualities underlying behavior with respect to a particular task” (2001, p. 463). This goal-directed behavior shows itself through distinct actions of the motivated individual. Dörnyei described this explicitly when he wrote the following: The motivated individual expends effort, is persistent and attentive to the task at hand, has goals, desires and aspirations, enjoys the activity, experiences reinforcement from success and disappointment from failure, makes attributions concerning success and or failure, is aroused, and makes use of strategies to aid in achieving goals (2003, p. 173). This statement portrays motivation as primarily being internally driven; however, there are also external forces that play a role. Gardner (1996) believed that motivation should
46). Dörnyei (2001) wrote. “A great deal of empirical research during this period [the 1980’s] was directed at measuring the association between various aspects of motivation and L2 language achievement. Though this concept can pertain to any human action. it serves as the foundation for a language learning theory Schumann calls “mental foraging. pleasantness. 10). known as stimulus appraisal. The challenge is to examine what drives this motivation. Schumann’s theory. over the past 45 years. 50). or foraging for knowledge. The emerging body of research studies established motivation as a principal determinant of second language acquisition…” (p. goal/need significance. In recent years. p. John Schumann has been examining second language acquisition from a neurobiological perspective in order to integrate the findings of neuroscience with those of linguistics (Dörnyei 2001. “an internal attribute that is the result of an external force” (as cited in MacIntyre et al. The research Dörnyei is referring to was the work of Gardner. who defined motivation with respect to language acquisition as “the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favorable attitudes toward learning the language” (1985. coping potential and self and social image (Dörnyei 2001. p.Motivation 3 be viewed as a hybrid concept. which engages the same neural systems as the ones used by organisms when foraging to feed or . p. The first area to investigate is the brain and its processes. “Individuals who are truly motivated not only strive to learn the material but also seek out situations where they can obtain further practice” (1985. 46). occurs in the brain along five dimensions: novelty. the significance of its role in language acquisition has been realized. p. p. 43). Gardner added. 2001. 463). Although early motivation research addressed human behaviors other than language learning.
This notion may seem questionable at first. which serves to signal stimuli that are predictive of award. p. the dopamine response results from stimulus appraisals that evaluate the stimuli according to whether they are novel. In addition. pleasant. “An integrative orientation refers to that class of reasons that suggest that the individual is learning a second language in order to learn about. p. 5). Dörnyei expanded on this idea nearly 20 years after Gardner when he reported: Integrative motivational orientation concerns a positive interpersonal/affective .Motivation 4 mate. 23). to focus attention on those stimuli and to maintain goal-directed behavior by providing “go” signals. pp. This fosters a feeling of belongingness to the target language group as the language learner develops “some sort of a psychological and emotional identification” to the native speaking community (Dörnyei 2003. Gardner (1985) wrote. and which is generated by an incentive motive and potentiated by the stimulus appraisal system” (Dörnyei 2001. both processes are guided by dopamine. This is clear evidence of motivation being affected by chemical activity in the brain. Finally. interact with or become closer to the second language community” (p. The most important and well-researched components of internally driven motivation fall under the broad category of self-determination. intrinsic and instrumental motivation. which includes the concepts of integrative. 46-47). Schumann clarified this when he wrote: Learning and foraging may share the same neural mechanisms because both processes involve translating an incentive motive or goal into relevant motor activity in order to achieve said goal. and self and social image (2001. and compatible with the individuals goals. coping potential. 54). but it is rooted in proven brain processes.
An example of this is Kay Danes. language acquisition will occur. This explains why immigrants who arrive in a country against their will because of war or political problems often do not show the same rate of language acquisition as their fellow countrymen who voluntarily left their homeland. However. October 10. pronunciations. “will succeed to the degree that they acculturate to the target language group if no formal instruction is attempted” (as cited in Richard-Amato. Lao or Hmong speakers with whom she developed a feeling of community and belonging (personal communication. an English-speaking Australian incarcerated in Vientiane. stated that “learning a second language requires the adoption of word sounds. if the desire to integrate with the surrounding people is strong enough. 134). “Second language learners.Motivation disposition toward the L2 group and the desire to interact with and even become similar to valued members of that community. p. 2003). word orders. other cultural groups and ways of life (2003. even in negative situations like incarceration abroad. 172). p. 5 The question is how exactly does this integrative desire promote language learning? As early as 1972. who reported that most of her closest friends were Thai. It implies an openness to. p. and a respect for. Individuals who want to identify with the other language group will be more motivated to learn the language than individuals who do not” (2003. 63). Through interactions with . Masgoret et al. 1997. making him more perceptive to forms of pronunciation and accent” (p. Gardner and Lambert proposed that “An integrative and friendly outlook towards the other group whose language is being learnt can differentially sensitize the learner to the audio-lingual features of the language. 5). and other behavioral and cognitive features that are part of another culture. Laos.” wrote Stauble.
Simply stated. she learned their languages. This seems difficult to comprehend. Oct. In reality. the second language begins to replace the first. she was not only forgetting her native language. She wrote: Actually in the prison. p. It became .Motivation 6 members of these target languages. it was quite bizarre. Thorne attributed such behavior to one’s belief that the language of the speakers in the environment is considered far more important than the native language for socialization reasons. the languages of the people in Danes’ surroundings were more important to her than her native language. “I had almost forgotten how to speak English because my mind was undergoing some changes. 10. 318). “By the end of the year spent inside Ponthong prison. 2003). 12). p. Baker and MacIntyre believed that “mastery of a second language involves. Apparently. Basically I think I was losing my national identity” (personal communication. taking on the identity and culture of the target language” (2000. to some degree. This was probably the most important factor aiding her language acquisition. Danes felt she reached the point where she was no longer an English-speaking Australian. How could a person who had spent more than 30 years of her life speaking one language claim that within 12 months of being incarcerated. this is a possibility in extreme cases where integrativeness “involves complete identification with the community and possibly even withdrawal from one’s own group…” (2001. Danes became an integral part of the larger nonEnglish speaking prison population. I would sit and listen to the women speaking in Lao and Thai and I could understand the gist of what they were saying even though I couldn’t understand all.” she stated. even Danes’ fellow prisoners were aware of her transformation. and subsequently. but the cultural identity associated with it as well? According to Gardner.
14). grammatical patterns.” wrote Masgoret et al. “is one who is motivated to learn the second language.. mode of pronunciation.that they would be talking and I would interject with a comment. grammar book.. has an openness to identification with the other language community.. but similar accommodations must be made by language learners who are only exposed to target languages in the classroom. Archibald and Libben (1995) reported.or yeah. “The integratively motivated student. Kay (personal communication. 2003). which characterize members of another linguistic community. Various research studies have supported these views.Motivation uncanny. The language student must be willing to adopt appropriate features of behavior. and has favorable attitudes toward the language situation” (2003.. 10. 174).... Oct.. “Gardner and Lambert (1959) studied English speakers learning French in Quebec and argued that integrative motivation led to greater success in second language . or dictionary (p. and what about this? The women would look at me and pause for a moment and then laugh and say.like in affirmation.you turning into Lao people now. and the sounds themselves should have a significance for the learner that goes beyond simple translations or equivalences given by a teacher. But classroom students have to embrace the target language on a much deeper level. The words. p.. 7 This is an extreme case of successful integrative motivation in the real world. Gardner and Lambert (1972) wrote: The acquisition of a new language involves much more than mere acquisition of a new set of verbal habits.
36). 57). gave more correct answers. p. p.e. 1995. “A specifically integrative motive was involved in a study by Kaplan and Shand (1984) who argue that such an orientation is related to systematic patterns of error detection. Gardner also reported that Native Americans learning English demonstrated integrative motivation when they reported viewing learning English as valuable in order to become truly part of the American culture (1985. 50). 57). i. hypothesis formation about the target language and a . p. Meara and Skehan also cited research by “Glicksman (1976) that showed that students classified as having integrative orientations to language study volunteered more frequently in class. p. Lalonde and Moorcroft (1985) revealed that “using an English/French paired associates language paradigm. Later studies by Gardner. the rate of learning French nouns was faster for students with favorable attitudes and motivation as compared with those with less favorable ones” (as cited in Gardner and MacIntyre. Additional support comes from Meara and Skehan (1989) who presented several “studies relating motivational characteristics to classroom behavior and acquisitional processes” (p. Bialystok and Hakuta (1994) attributed the success of these English speakers to their interest in the French language and culture and the “desire to become part of the community” (p. 209). p. which could well have implications for error correction and subsequent language development” (1989. 318). Meara and Skehan also wrote. 137). “An integrative orientation is associated with an elaborative simplification strategy. Gardner and Lambert’s early research on English speaking students learning French in 1960 Connecticut determined “the strong motivation to learn French seems to stem from the students integrative orientations towards the study of the language” (1972. 57). Skehan also wrote.Motivation 8 learning” (p. and received more positive reinforcement…” (1989.
did not “pick-up” English in the U. “…a person prepares to learn a code in order to derive benefits from a non-interpersonal sort” and their language skills develop as a “desire to gain social recognition or economic advantages through knowledge of a foreign language” (1972. making him more perceptive to form of pronunciation and accent (p. integrative motivation plays as significant a role in the language-learning classroom as it does in the real world. 10). p. 58). as would be expected. Rodriguez. Instrumental motivation is the next major type of self-determined motivation. p. Clearly. 14). but instead focus on a more practical purpose [that] learning the language would serve for the individual” (2001. Gardner and Lambert wrote. p.S. a native Spanish-speaker. Meisel (1980) proposes that this strategy is associated with greater progress” (1989. California. Such motivation could be considered by some to be learning a target language simply to get ahead in society. Understandably. for the past 20 years.Motivation 9 willingness to restructure the linguistic system. Gardner and Lambert (1972) supported this when they wrote: We find that an integrative and friendly outlook toward the other group whose language is being learned can differentially synthesize the learner to the audiolingual features of the language. . it helps if the student is learning the target language in that environment as opposed to only in the classroom. A clear example of such a case is Armando Rodriguez. a Mexican-born immigrant who has lived in Los Angeles. Gardner wrote that persons who acquire languages through instrumental motivation are seeking “…a goal that doesn’t seem to involve any identification or feeling of closeness with the other language group. 134).
who is not a linguist. psychologist or educator. This may have played a motivational role by encouraging Rodriguez to remain gainfully employed by continuously practicing and thus improving his Hebrew. Felix Wizgan. He picked up so much [Hebrew] that he never needed to enroll in a formal language class” (p. claimed. until evening. p. Rodriguez. who interviewed Rodriguez. he became fluent in Hebrew. his boss. but it can hardly be considered the sole cause for his acquisition of Hebrew. Another case of economically driven language learning is that of Miriam Wenger. “After getting a job as a restaurant dishwasher and kitchen assistant. advanced conversational skills. “He [Rodriguez] speaks Hebrew like an Israeli” (Silverstein. 1). p. October 31. “It only took me seven months to become very good at speaking Russian. Silverstein (1999). 1). her mother would bake cakes and bread and send Miriam into the streets to sell the food to the Russian soldiers from 6 a. Miriam stated. credited Armando’s financial needs as the force driving his language success when he stated. When you deal with soldiers all day every day selling and arguing. 2003).m. you learn fast” (personal communication. Miriam realized that learning to communicate in Russian would have positive . Rodriguez quickly absorbed new words and expressions by chatting with coworkers and customers. 1999.Motivation 10 Surprisingly. worked his way up from dishwasher to manager because he became fluent in Hebrew” (1999. for instance. reported. 1). “Picking up a few words in a foreign language. however. Silverstein. To make money to survive. a Polish woman of the Jewish faith who was 17 when the Russian army liberated her small town in eastern Poland from the Germans in 1944. One would assume that Rodriguez’s Hebrew is rudimentary at best. or in exceptional cases. sometimes is a way to get ahead economically.
(personal communication. the target language was the key to survival. He wrote. how to shout out to the police at night when another prisoner was dying. p. Such motivation would be exaggerated in situations where one’s survival is the ultimate goal. “Instrumental motivation underlies the goal to gain some social or economic reward through L2 achievement. how to follow the regulations.. Norris-Holt described Miriam’s experience perfectly when she wrote. 10. 2003) Learning another language in prison ensured the ultimate goal. “To . 39) Warren Fellows. For Kay Danes. 1). It was important for her to learn Lao not only for her own welfare. such as earning a reward or avoiding a punishment” (2003. 15).Motivation 11 effects on her life. p. thus referring to a more functional reason for language learning” (2001. you had to submerge yourself fully into the culture and language or you would never understand fully what was expected of you. p. with few signs of an interest in the other people per se” (1972. Oct. Danes wrote: If you wanted to survive.how to negotiate with the guards in order to attempt to build a rapport so that they would not look on you so dishonorably. extending human life. Gardner and Lambert described Miriam’s behavior when they wrote that instrumentally motivated individuals are “interested mainly in using the cultural group and their language as an instrument of personal satisfaction. Dörnyei believed actions in such situations “are carried out to achieve some instrumental end.. an Australian jailed in Thailand concurred with the notion of the importance of learning the target language to be accepted in order to make it through each day. but also for those with whom she lived. or to be understood.
80). Gardner and Lambert’s early studies in Quebec revealed successful learning of French by English speaking students who focused on obtaining language credit and getting job promotions (Bialystok and Hakuta 1994. I had to learn their language as best I could” (1998. p. p. Danes’ and Fellows’ success at language learning in such a harsh environment can be attributed by Khanna and Agnihotri (1984) to the idea that “in settings where there is an urgency about mastering a second language for utilitarian ends. the desire to survive provided the motivation needed to learn a new language. Gardner and MacIntyre (1995) wrote. 207). interacting with Germans and making good friends with them indicate that the students were basically interested in learning German for economic gain. These two situations clearly support this assumption.Motivation 12 win the trust and respect of the Thai prisoners. Gardner’s research on Native American students revealed an “instrumental orientation. 76). prestige and social recognition (1998. This behavior also occurs in the foreign language classroom. which referred to the economic and . 137). 317). Sawhney (1998) examined the effects of instrumental motivation on university students learning German in India. reading novels. She reported the following: Reasons such as getting a good job. Instrumental motivation has also been found to play an important role in the classroom. p. doing international business. “Instrumentally motivated students studied longer than non-instrumentally motivated students when there was an opportunity to profit from learning” (p. In both cases. p. 128). it is the instrumental motivation which is more effective” (p. This is further supported by Baker and MacIntyre’s belief that “motivation is the driving force that initiates learning in the first place and sustains learning when the situation becomes difficult” (2000.
p. Factors “associated with the pragmatic. French or Italian. 51). Gardner and Lambert added.Motivation 13 practical advantages of learning English” (1985. particularly American English. 130). 130). based on the teenagers affinity towards Russian pop music. and Italian with summer vacation (Dörnyei and Clément 2001. when there is a vital need to master a second language. p. greatly surpassed all the other languages. “Apparently. Russian with occupation. In a study by Garner and Lambert (1972) of Tagolog speaking Philippinos. Russian. Dörnyei and Clément described these students as having “a general positive outlook on the L2 and its culture. using an attitude/motivation survey to determine what encourages them to study any of five particular languages: English (British or American). ages 13 and 14. English and German have been associated with financial success. 407-408) which certainly does not encourage the need for formal classroom foreign language instruction. Dörnyei and Clément (2001) examined nearly 5. magazines. The top three factors were the Hungarians’ attraction to . 409). Other studies were conducted more recently in Hungary. p. The results were quite surprising. 402). to the extent that learners scoring high on this factor would like to become similar to the L2 speakers” (2001. p. the instrumental approach is very effective” (1972. The results concerning feelings of integrativeness were even more interesting. Traditionally. French with aristocracy.000 Hungarian teenage boys and girls. These students realized the importance of English in their lives. instrumental values of knowing a world language” placed Russian in first place by far. In this case. TV programs and films (Dörnyei and Clément 2001. it was found that “…students who approach the study of English with an instrumental outlook are clearly more successful in developing proficiency in the language than are those who fail to adopt this orientation” (p. English. p. German.
Additionally. It is defined by Deci and Ryan as being “related to basic human needs for competence. Deci and Ryan (1985) supported this when they wrote. the authors failed to mention the students’ present level of foreign language competence or success in the foreign language classroom. their desires to be like Americans.Motivation 14 Americans. Intrinsic motivation is the last significant variety of self-determined motivation that this paper will address. A more pressing concern is that the survey appears to be more of a measure of attitude towards different foreign languages. this study has some major flaws. the maturity level of the subjects is questionable. “Intrinsic orientations refer to reasons for L2 learning that are derived from one’s inherent pleasure and interest in the activity…and the spontaneous satisfaction that is associated with it” (p. and the better they feel about the task. First of all. “Being intrinsically motivated to learn improves the quality of learning and that those conditions that are autonomy . not motivation to learn them. and their wishes to travel to the United States (Dörnyei and Clément. the more successful they are at it. 2001. p. 4). Intrinsic motivation activities are those that the learner engages in for their own sake because of their value. Perhaps older students should be surveyed. autonomy and relatedness. Unfortunately. or the same students questioned as part of a longitudinal study as they age. p. 45). Considering the amount of time spent on conducting this research. 408). it would appear that the researchers neglected to examine all the resourceful data that was created. Noels (2001) wrote. interest and challenge” (as cited in Walqui 2000. the more one enjoys learning the target language. 38). Dornyei expanded on this to include “motivation to engage in an activity because that activity is enjoyable and satisfying to do” (2003. Such behavior appears to be very important in the language classroom. p. Basically.
The present challenge is that “applied linguists need to understand better how the social contexts surrounding language acquisition affect the learning process” (Dörnyei 2003.” wrote MacIntyre et al. “Gardner’s socio-educational model. Regarding work by Clément in the 1980’s. p. According to Gardner (1985).” Gardner himself “proposed that the acquisition of a second language is a true social psychological phenomenon in that it is concerned with the development of communication skills between an individual and members of another cultural community” (Gardner and Tremblay 1998. But people have to mentally and physically engage themselves in the target language and culture to be successful language learners. (2001. and ultimately language . According to Dörnyei (2003). 31). he maintains that the quality and frequency of contact with members of the L2 group will influence self-confidence. p.Motivation 15 supporting and informational will promote more effective learning as well as enhanced intrinsic motivation and self-esteem” (p. p. 45). p. they only account for part of the motivational scenario. 168). motivation is a central concept of the socio-educational model. Noels stated. 256). “That is. 45). there are “sociocultural roots of learning and cognition in general that stem from the sociocultural environment rather than from the individual” (p. 462). motivation. “proposes that motivation is based in large part on inter-group attitudes and attraction to the target language and culture. and it has a social dimension that reflects the individual’s reactions to other language communities (p. “In his socio-contextual model of L2 motivation. This portion of the paper will explore motivation from a socio-educational perspective. As much as internal feelings and desires drive language acquisition. 168). motivation to learn a second language is influenced by group related and context related attitudes” (Gardner 1985.
“Corder’s phrase. Forcing people to use a target language may be one of the best ways to aid them in target language acquisition. 134). it could explain how people come to learn new languages (Bialystok and Hakuta 1994. “It seems that when the social setting demands it. this is something supporters of bilingual education [how it is presented in much of the United States] have yet to realize. anyone can learn a language’ brings out the importance of motivation and the way it can overcome unfavourable circumstances” (p. Who is better than a target language speaking classroom instructor to provide this service. 4). . Such a case involved a schizophrenic named Louis Wolfson who hated and feared his mother. Though somewhat harsh. he learned other languages. “In particular. Russian and French (the language in which he wrote his story)” (p. “While an L2 is a learnable school subject in that discreet elements of the communication code can be taught explicitly. To demonstrate how powerful motivation can be. Gardner and Lambert (1972) stated.” wrote Gass and Selinker (2001). which makes language learning a deeply social event that requires a wide range of elements of the L2 culture” (p. it is also socially and culturally bound. Dörnyei (2003) wrote. her native language. ‘Given motivation. “he hated his mother’s voice and hence. 2). American English. To escape this pain. 57). it is prudent to introduce situations in which motivation was so strong that language learning occurred when it was not to be expected. primarily Hebrew. 49). German. Unfortunately. especially with respect to foreign language learning? Since language serves the social function of establishing and maintaining communication between individuals. people master a second language no matter what…” (p.Motivation 16 proficiency” (p. Meara and Skehan (1989) wrote. p.
p. Silverstein reported the following story about an African-American miner who became fluent in Serbian: Publisher William Jovanovich. Gardner and Lambert recognized the approach needed for instructors dealing with students in the US: “The message for teachers and directors of language programs is clear. The walls were covered with posters from Spain. and only Spanish was spoken. and the students positively commented that they felt like they were in a foreign country every day for an hour. and in the second. 1). tells of how as a young boy he was surprised to see his Tata [Papa] launch into a conversation in Serbian with an elderly black man in Denver.. 130). students of foreign languages will profit more if they can be helped to develop an integrative outlook toward the group whose language is being studied” (p.Motivation 17 352). stepping through the classroom door should be like stepping off an airplane into the target language community. He learned our language in self-defense’ (1999. mental instability and hatred encouraged language learning.. in North American settings. in his 1998 biography. it was a threatening work environment. Though no one evaluated the students’ success at acquiring Spanish. this particular class was always full and highly recommended to other students. As early as 1972. With so many studies indicating the importance of motivation in language learning. More research in the area of language acquisition under duress needs to be executed. Jovanovich’s Tata explained that the black man had worked ‘with us Montenegrins in a coal mine. the teacher played Spanish music. . what is being done in a pedagogical sense? Unfortunately. This would mean for a student to experience an ‘integrative’ feeling in school.and nobody spoke English. there were Spanish magazines and CD’s available. I have seen this done in a high school Spanish class. not enough. In the first case.
p. the classroom approach should be different. is to keep their own cultural and linguistic identity while mastering the second language. it would appear that most nations have adopted this style of instruction.Motivation 18 Surprisingly. England and Australia. especially with respect to heritage language learning. This author feels such a policy has gone too far. Learning a second language with national and worldwide recognition is for them of vital importance. one language. 130). However. it is a greater travesty to be instructing students in Spanish in American schools to the extent that they cannot pass English proficiency exams at the . 130). Gardner and Lambert had the foresight to recognize that when it came to learning English as the target language. however. They wrote the following: For members of ethnic minority groups in North America or citizens in developing nations where imported foreign languages become one of the national languages. the story is different. What has been most encouraging to us throughout these investigations is the fact that one can with the proper attitudinal orientation and motivation become bilingual without losing one’s identity (1972. Gardner and Lambert did mention the following precaution: The fascinating challenge for these groups. If one looks at foreign language education on a global level. p. and both instrumental and integrative approaches to the learning task must be developed (1972. Canada. I believe this to be the case simply based on the number of international students studying successfully in America. It is unfortunate that my family lost its French and Italian heritage languages in one generation due to the common US education policy of one nation. as well as the plentiful number of English speaking persons I have encountered in my numerous international travels.
relevance of the teaching materials. This is unfortunate.g. teacher-specific motivational components. 130). Dörnyei (2003) explained what he meant as follows: “The key assumption that energized this boom in research was that the classroom environment . for example. goal-orientedness and group norms (p. I believe such policies to be anti-motivational with respect to learning English. and teaching style practice). p. 11). as the benefits of such a system would likely promote overall success in acquiring both languages. 11). Gardner and Tremblay have identified what they label the educational shift and motivational renaissance of the 1990’s (as cited in Dörnyei 2003. Gardner (1985) de-emphasized the teacher’s role and placed more emphasis on the student when he stated.” wrote Gardner and Lambert. appropriateness of the teaching method).” More recently. Researchers therefore started to examine the motivational impact of the various aspects of the learning context. interest in the tasks. “Motivation is a total state of the individual. “In fact. the contextual surroundings of action – had a much stronger motivational influence than had been proposed before. School systems have yet to develop a balanced dual-language instructional system.Motivation 19 high school level. behavior. (the motivational impact of the teacher’s personality. and group specific motivational components (various characteristics of the learner group such as cohesiveness. course-specific motivational components (e. not just a simple interest in the language nor a drive to learn some specific material because of some environmental pressure such as an examination or a desire to please a teacher or parent. “striving for a comfortable place in two cultures seems to be the best motivational basis for becoming bilingual” (1972. even though they were born in the US. Years later.and more generally. p. .
” wrote MacIntyre et al. Gardner and Lambert themselves mentioned the challenges of researching the motivational aspects of second language achievement when they commented on the “inherent difficulty in conceptualizing and measuring those motivational variables that would likely determine success in second language acquisition” (1972. many of them external. Gardner’s socio-educational model was heavily criticized in the mid 1990’s by a number of respected researchers. With Dörnyei’s implications. Jakobovits (1970) reported. including Dörnyei. 464). p. (2001) “claimed that Gardner’s theory put too much emphasis on the integrative and instrumental . Now there are even more factors affecting motivation. there were many critics of motivation. it is possible that the money was not interfering with the subjects’ success at learning. “These authors. “Dunkel found in a 1948 report that monetary rewards did not significantly improve performance in an artificial language learning task” (p.Motivation 20 At first this may seem advantageous. 11-12). Learning such a language would have little if any impact on one’s daily life. 243). Even before Dörnyei’s comment complicated matters. so as long as they were getting paid. p. it opens up the proverbial can of worms. motivational differences will not make much difference in achievement” (as cited in Jakobovits (1970. 2001. However. p. which the classroom language learner has little or no control over. but from a research perspective. but instead it was the artificial language that was the problem. Crookes & Schmidt who argued that motivation should be studied from different perspectives” (MacIntyre et al. 243). Oxford. an already complex issue has just become much more involved. Shearin. what difference would it make? Caroll believed that “as long as learners remain cooperative and actively engage in learning whether they want to or not.
Meara and Skehan presented research by Oller and his associates. expectancy. 257). 257). including extrinsic rewards. it appears that any external condition that decreases intrinsic motivation will also impair performance on conceptual activities” (p.Motivation 21 distinction and tended to ignore a list of variables from the broad psychological literature in motivation.” wrote Deci & Ryan. When extrinsic rewards are introduced into a learning situation. they attributed the motivation to a combination of both orientations that was dependant on the individual. attributions. 257). McGraw (1978) reviewed several studies in which “in most instances. Deci & Ryan also discussed a translation study in Japan by Inagaki and Hatano (1984). Thus. 139). Instead. rewards impaired learning” (as cited in Deci & Ryan. which determined “the mere expectation of evaluations impaired students’ comprehension of material that they were translating from English into Japanese. p. which showed negative relationships between integrativeness and language proficiency. Bialystok and Hakuta (1994) agreed. Bialystok and Hakuta (1994) did concede that although “motivational factors probably do not make much difference on their own. “seems to have distracted subjects from the learning task and increased the time necessary for learning or problem solving. “Providing extrinsic rewards such as money for learning words or for forming concepts. Various studies . locus of control and so on” (p. Many criticisms have been based on empirical studies. 1985. 140). stating that the learners in the Gardner and Lambert language studies “were never exclusively motivated by instrumental or integrative orientation” (p. 464). self-efficacy. some of the learners attention appears to shift from the learning task to the reward” (p. they can create a more positive context in which language learning is likely to flourish” (p.
not a cause. therefore producing atypical results. Japanese and Spanish speaking individuals and produced the following results: A negative correlation between Chinese university students’ desire to stay in the US and their English proficiency. Meara and Skehan acknowledged the dearth of research in the field and wrote “there is value in widening the social situation in which the role of motivation for language learning is studied” (1989. there is some controversy concerning whether or not it is motivation that drives language learning success. some immigrant. 68). it is possible that these studies did not examine enough of the other possible causes for these findings. a negative relationship between English proficiency and ratings of Anglos for a group of Mexican-American women (Meara & Skehan 1989. The only way to solidify the positive role motivation plays in language learning is to conduct more studies.Motivation 22 examined Chinese. If this were the case. p. It would be pertinent to conduct studies like Gardner and Lambert’s 1960’s French target language learning by English speakers in Quebec. it would seriously undermine all of the findings proposed by Gardner. Lastly. Meara and Skehan label this problem as the direction of causation (1989. Louisiana and Connecticut across many languages today. some indigenous. 148). a negative association between Japanese students’ proficiency in English and their ratings of English speakers as confident and modest. 69). Considering the complexity of motivation. some who retain ethnolinguistic . or does successful language learning influence motivation. p. as motivation would then become an effect. Meara and Skehan (1989) suggested the following: One could research with other minority groups in other countries. p.
In Miami. One could also look at refugee groups. and methods of data collection could be altered and examined to see what effects they have on motivation. for example. language status relationships. would serve as an excellent ‘laboratory’. however. and contrast this to the highly motivated Brazilian. language setting (foreign or domestic). The Swiss are the first to admit that having so many languages in such a small country can be challenging. perhaps even turning it into a longitudinal study to see how motivation changes as the subjects mature.Motivation 23 vitality and others not. comparing those intending to stay in the host country as well as those intending to move on (p. it would be interesting to study the apparently low levels of motivation with respect to learning English of Spanish speaking immigrants. Swiss-German. Southern Arizona and New Mexico. Haitian and Russian populations living in there who often learn both English and Spanish. they are competing together against English. especially since failure to learn Spanish limits their job marketability? Of course. In Switzerland. This has to be affecting Swiss . Today. and there are sometimes ill feelings between the language groups. Italian and Romansh for centuries. It would be beneficial to do a follow-up on Dörnyei and Clément’s teen language motivation study in Hungary. Factors such as age. instead of German or French competing against one another for the number one language position. The Spanish language classrooms in South Texas. people have been peacefully coexisting with five languages: French. German. 69). where American-born monolingual English speakers are learning Spanish. The research possibilities are endless. now the dominant language of said areas. there are more positive situations to explore. Would the English speakers be motivated enough to learn a language that has been forced upon them.
travel. Someone should be studying motivation to learn English across Switzerland and its language groups. She offered that in addition to the major players of integrative and instrumental motivation in language acquisition. concrete solution. knowledge. In the words of Dörnyei. school. media. There are so many reasons motivating individuals to learn other languages that perhaps no one cause or type of motivation can possibly serve as the sole foundation of language acquisition. which is something I plan to be very much a part of. perhaps the words of Noels provide the best advice. After reading numerous books and articles searching for one outstanding. universities. interest. national security or any combination of these (Noels 2001. Gardner and Lambert (1972) concurred with this idea when they stated. p. a desire for assimilation. “L2 motivation as a situated construct will undoubtedly be one of the main targets of future motivation research” (2003. 121). 45). It is plain to see that many of these involve overlapping integrative. including intellectual stimulation. career. . instrumental. There is much work to be done before researchers. showing off to friends. whose lives are and will be most affected by the consolidation of Europe’s economies and the obvious importance of the English language as the unifying factor on the European continent. a need for achievement and stimulation. friendship. especially among those in the work force.Motivation 24 pride. and K-12. curiosity. “…each setting and each ethnolinguistic group has its own fascinating pattern of socio-psychological influences that change in unexpected ways the manner in which attitudes and motivation play their roles” (p. 44). teachers and language learners will fully understand motivation and all its aspects. people may wish to learn an L2 for many number of reasons. p. intrinsic and social motivations. prestige.
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