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Motivation While Learning a Foreign Language

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Motivation has been regarded as a precondition for success for second and foreign language learners, since lack of motivation can damage a language learning process to a great extent even when all the other essential conditions are provided (Dornyei, 2005, 2010). The attainment and motivation may be said to have a reciprocal connection. Motivation leads to learning and in turn high achievement ( in the tests or assessment of any type) enhances one’s motivation. The socio- educational model (Gardner, 1985) explicitly proposes reciprocal causation.

That is, it argues that motivation influences language achievement, and that language achievement as well as experiences in formal and informal language contexts influence attitudes and motivation (which are viewed as some of the many possible non-linguistic outcomes).( as cited in Gardner and Maclntyre, 1993) This relationship between motivation and attainment has been supported by a number of studies. The first investigation of the relationship of attitudes and motivation to achievement in a second language was published by Gardner and Lambert (1959), even though such relations had been hypothesised earlier. The Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) was developed to measure a number of attributes associated with second-language learning. In a meta-analysis investigating the relationship of second language achievement to five attitude/motivation variables from Gardner’s socioeducational model, it was clearly demonstrated that the correlations between achievement and motivation are higher than those between other variables ( integrativeness, attitudes towards the learning situation, integrative orientation, or instrumental orientation).

The model proposes that integrativeness and attitudes toward the learning situation are two correlated variables that support the individual’s motivation to learn an L2, but that motivation is responsible for achievement in second language.(Masgoret and Gardner, 2003). In this study, the hypothesis was tested directly by Gardner (1979), who investigated the correlations of measures of integrativeness, attitude toward the learning situation, and motivation with objective measures of French achievement, grades in French, and speech production in two samples of grade 11 students. He found that the correlations of motivation with all three measures of achievement were higher than those of measures of other variables. (Masgoret and Gardner, 2003).

Another study enquired about the importance of the types of motivation students need to learn a foreign language successfully carried out by Ali Osman in2009 (Osman, 2009). The results of this study confirmed the importance of the integrative, instrumental, and work avoidance motivations in second language learning. Another instance of motivation as strong predictor of achievement in the L2 is the study carried out by Gardner, Trembley and Mesgoret (1997).

They used structural equation modeling to identify the relative importance of a number of IDs and explored the causal relationship between them. ( as cited in Lowie, Dijk, Chan & Verspoor, 2017) . Still other research has made use of laboratory techniques to investigate the causal nature of attitudes, motivation and language achievement. such research has demonstrated that the rate of learning French/English vocabulary pairs is faster for those with high as opposed to low levels of AMI (Gardner, Lalonde & Moorcroft, 1985) as well as integrative motivation (Gardner & Maclntyre, 1991). Generally speaking, all of these studies found evidence that motivation or some aspect of language attitudes correlated significantly with achievement in the second language. However, examination of the studies reveals many different forms of this relationship. There may be many reasons for this.

The social contexts change, the measures are slightly different, the nature of the analyses vary, etc. In a most interesting study of the role of attitudes and motivation in second-language study, Kraemer (1990) investigated Israeli Jewish students studying either Arabic or French as a foreign language. She too made use of causal modelling to link language attitudes, motivation, and indices of proficiency in the other language. She also included other variables, such as social/political attitudes, political optimism, national security orientation, etc., that were necess- ary to reflect the socio-cultural setting there. Similar causal models were obtained for both students of Arabic and French. Motivation was found to be a central mediator in the prediction of language achievement, but as might be expected in this context, integrative attitudes were not significant contributors to motivation. (as cited in Gardner and Maclntyre, 1993)

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Motivation While Learning a Foreign Language. (2018, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2022, from
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