strategies (Frequency Questionnaire)?
1.5. Definition of Key Terms
Theoretical and Operational Definitions:
Motivation: “In a general sense, motivation can be defined as the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritised, operationalised and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out”. (Dörnyei and Ottó 1998, p. 65)
Motivational Strategies: “Motivational strategies are techniques that promote the individual’s goal-related behavior. Because human behaviour is rather complex, there are many diverse ways of promoting it – in fact, almost any influence a person is exposed to might potentially affect his/her behaviour. Motivational strategies refer to those motivational influences that are consciously exerted to achieve some systematic and enduring positive effect”. (Dörnyei, 2001, p.28)
Operational Definition of Motivational Strategies: In this study Motivational Strategies will be measured by using two questionnaires named Frequency questionnaire and Importance questionnaire used by Dörnyei and Cheng in Taiwan in 2007.
Macro-motivational strategies: General motivational guidelines that aim at orienting the teacher on how to introduce a more motivation-sensitive teaching practice (Dörnyei, 2001a).
Micro-motivational strategies: Specific individual motivational techniques and practices by which human achievement behaviour can be promoted (Dörnyei, 2001a).
EFL Context: “Someone who learns English in a formal classroom setting, with limited or no opportunities for use outside the classroom, in a country in which English does not play an important role in internal communication (China, Japan, and Korea, for example), is said to be learning English as a foreign language”. (Richards and Schmidt, 2010, p.197)
1.6. Limitations of the study
Limitations: All findings and inferences are based on self-reporting by the participants, and thus, are subject to the inherent limitations of self-reporting. A combination of questionnaires and observations of actual classroom practice could provide more reliable measurements of the frequency with which teachers employ each strategy. Another limitation for this study lies in the fact highlighted by Dörnyei (1994, 2001b) that the proposed motivational strategies are not rock-solid golden rules, but rather suggestions that may work with one teacher or group better than another due to the differences amongst the learners in their culture, age, proficiency level, the relationship to the target language, etc. It is unclear therefore, whether the motivational strategies tested in the current study would be as effective with different populations of language learners and in different socio-cultural and educational contexts. Furthermore, it may never be known whether any of the participants give high ratings to many of the strategies simply because the researchers might expect all EFL teachers to routinely employ them. The study examined instructional motivational strategies utilised by the EFL teacher.
1.7. Delimitations of the study
One of the delimitations of the study is that the participants are restricted to Ardabil province. The other delimitation is that the present research considers English teachers who teach in junior high school and high school as the only participants without considering EFL teachers from other educational settings.
Self-regulating motivational strategies used by the EFL learner were not considered in our study. There is also a variety of other factors different from instructional motivational strategies that can contribute to enhancing the language learners’ motivation (e.g. types of learning materials used in the classroom). These factors have not been utilised in the current study.
A final delimitation for this study is that it did not investigate how the EFL teacher’s own motivation to teach the foreign language can affect his/her utilisation of motivational strategies.
CHAPTER TWO- REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The importance of motivation as a factor in learning cannot be underestimated. In the second language acquisition literature, the enormous role that motivation plays in the attainment of non-primary languages is practically unanimously acknowledged. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that over the past 40 or 50 years there have been numerous studies investigating various aspects of the of motivation within the field of teaching/learning second/foreign languages. This chapter presents a discussion and critical evaluation of the existing relevant literature on motivation more generally as well as its specific role in second/foreign language learning/teaching. The different conceptualizations and theories of motivation in general and also in the field of foreign/second language are discussed in this chapter. Other issues like the significance of L2 motivation; types of L2motivation; the L2 motivational self- system; and motivational strategies are also reviewed.
2.2. Conceptualizations of Motivation
In spite of the great number of studies (e.g. Dörnyei, 1994; 1996; 1998; 2001; 2002; 2003; 2009; 2010; Dörnyei & Otto 1998; Dörnyei & Ushioda, in press; Gardner, 1985;Gardner et al., 2004; Oxford & Shearin, 1994), there has been little agreement about what language learning motivation is. Dörnyei (1996) notes that: “Motivation theories in general seek to explain no less than the fundamental question why humans behave as they do, and therefore it would be naive to give any simple straightforward answer; indeed any different psychological perspective on human behavior is associated with a different theory of motivation and, thus, in general psychology it is not the lack but rather the abundance of motivation theories which confuses the scene” (p. 72). Dörnyei and Ushioda (2011) proposed that “the term motivation derives from the Latin verb movere meaning ‘to move’ (p. 3). What makes a person to make certain choices, to engage in action, to expend effort and persist in action?”
While many early views link motivation with inner forces like instincts, traits, volition, and will, other cognitive contemporary views link it to the individuals’ thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Freud (cited in Dörnyei, 2001a) is an example of those early views that theorised that human behaviour results from forces within individuals and that motivation is a reflection of physical energy. In contrast, Skinner (cited in Dörnyei, 2001a) saw motivation as best viewed in behavioural terms rather than as arising from inner forces.
Many of the contemporary psychological views regarded motivation as the input responsible for initiating, directing, and sustaining behaviours. For example, Brophy (2004) has defined motivation as a theoretical construct used to explain the initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of behaviour, especially goal-directed behaviour. Similarly, Dörnyei and Ottó (1998) view motivation as a function of a person’s thoughts; and define it as the dynamic changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritized, operationalized, and successfully or unsuccessfully acted out.
Other views have, on the other hand, conceptualised motivation in broad terms. Dörnyei and Skehan (2003) state that “motivation is responsible for why people decide to do something, how long they are willing to sustain the activity, and how hard they are going to pursue it”(p. 614). They believe that motivation is a process, not a product, because it is not observable and can be inferred only from behaviours like the choice of tasks, effort, persistence, and verbalisation. They also see that motivation involves goals tha
t provide inputs for initiating motivation to achieve goals. They argue that motivation requires activity, be it physical or mental. For example, physical activities involve effort and persistence, while mental activities involve planning, researching, monitoring, and decision-making.
It is worth mentioning that the existing conceptualisations of motivation are not actually in conflict with one another, but rather complement each other in articulating what motivation is generally about.
To conceptualise the term ‘motivation’ in education, Brophy (1998) presents a definition for student’s motivation declaring that this concept is used to explain the degree to which students invest attention and effort in various pursuits, which may or may not be the ones desired by their teachers. Brophy (2004) also provides a definition for motivation to learn clarifying that “it refers to students’ tendency to find academic activities meaningful and worthwhile and to try to get the intended learning benefits from them.”(p. 98)
In relation to L2 learning, psychologists have made various attempts to define motivation. In his social-psychological model, Gardner (1985, p. 10) defines it as “the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favourable attitudes towards learning a new language.” Ellis (1994, p. 509) claims that “L2 motivation refers to the effort that learners put into learning the L2 as a result of their need or desire to learn it.”
2.3. The Influential Theories of L2 Motivation
There are theories that have been designed to explore the nature of foreign language motivation and the needs of language learners. Dörnyei (2001a) has indicated that the mastery of an L2 is not merely an educational issue but rather that it is a complex event that requires the incorporation of a wide range of elements of the L2 society and culture. According to him, in view of the complexity of L2, there has been a considerable diversity of theories