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Durham e-Theses
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Different decisions, different motivations:
Differences in motivation between students who make different decisions
whether to attend a voluntary EFL course in Taiwan

CHIU, HSIEN,I (2012) Different decisions, different motivations:
Differences in motivation between students who make different decisions
whether to attend a voluntary EFL course in Taiwan.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


According to DÖrneyei’s (1998 ) process model of second-language motivation (also known as L2 motivation), motivation is a key characteristic of students’ likelihood of future persistence and performance. In this study, the initial motivation of three groups of students who were offered a highly valuable and free voluntary course was examined. The three groups were Group A: students who did not register for the course; Group B: students who took the course but dropped out; and, Group C: students who completed the course. If motivation is a key characteristic, then there should be different initial motivations for each of these three groups. It was expected that the motivation of students in Group A would be significantly different to that of students in Group B, and especially to students in Group C.
There were five measures of motivation: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, integrative motivation, cultural interest and anxiety. The results revealed that students who completed the course (Group C) had significantly higher intrinsic, extrinsic and integrative motivation and lower anxiety relative to students who did not register for the course (Group A). However, there were no differences in motivation between Group A and Group B suggesting that students who start a course and drop out are (motivationally) no different from those who do not take the course at all.
The thesis also examines motivation over time. Dorneyei’s process model suggests that L2 motivation changes throughout the learning process. However, few studies have examined whether such a temporal shift occurs. In this study, the motivation of the three groups was assessed at beginning of the semester and then 18 weeks later. The results only partially supported Dorneyei’s claim. Changes in motivation were observed for two of the five measures employed. All three groups had higher intrinsic motivation and lower anxiety.
The key finding of this study is the difference in motivation at Time one (before the course) for the three different groups. Students who decided to take a voluntary course and stayed on that course (Group C) were clearly more motivated than those who decided to take the course but then dropped out (Group B), and more motivated than those who did not take the course at all (Group A). However, regardless of their decisions to take a course and stay on it, leave it or not take the course at all, students’ motivation over time tended to stay relatively stable. Where motivation did change over time, it was encouraging to note that intrinsic motivation improved and anxiety reduced regardless of the decision taken.
The implications of the findings are that learners’ decisions to attend courses are importantly determined by their initial motivations. It seems that initial motivations are potentially diagnostic of future decisions to engage with an important course. Given that changes in motivation did not differ by group, it seems important that educators develop initial motivation. Based on the findings of this study, suggestions are made for directions teachers might develop motivation in a way that minimises the number of students who either drop out or decide not to take the course.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:EFL, motivation, language learning
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Jun 2013 11:03

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