Motivation in Second Language Learning

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Keeley Alvarez LG227: Second Language Learning Assignment 2: Motivation and L2 Learning UP:16/03/2012-01:02:06 WM:16/03/2012-01:02:18 M:LG227-5-FY A:11a2 R:1003600 C:FCFD7C01F07C19DE4FCFB1F2C59A2C5B2D7C79E6

1. Introduction The first part of this essay will discuss the definition of ‘motivation,’ according to second language learning, delving into the issues in relation to the subject as well as highlighting motivational strategies and techniques. I will research into two studies based on motivation and L2 learning and discuss these in reference to their proposed theories, their research approach, methods and evidence. I will then analyse a set of Diary data, discussing the motivation of the L2 learner, before considering how my observations could be useful for the study of L2 motivation. 2. Motivation 2.1 What is motivation? A general observation of second language learners depicts that; although some L2 learners may be following identical developmental paths, their levels of success may vary significantly from one person to the next. These variations have led to be argued by social psychologists who have concluded, that the explanation for these diverse learning outcomes is due to ‘individual learner differences.’ These differences have been categorised into two groups according to Gardner and MacIntyre’s (1992,1993) interpretations of the most important learner traits; one group being ‘cognitive’ which highlights the learners’ natural characteristics such as intelligence, learner strategies and language ‘aptitude.’ Contrastingly, there is the ‘affective’ (emotional) group which includes more changeable factors such as attitudes, language anxiety and willingness to communicate, and in particular, ‘motivation.’ 2.2 The Socio-educational Model Motivation was described by Gardner and MacIntyre (1993 p.2) as defined by three main components: ‘the desire to achieve a goal, the effort extended in this direction and the satisfaction with the task.’ Gardner devised the ‘Socio-educational Model’ comprising of the following sections; External Influences, Individual Differences, Language Acquisition Contexts, and Outcomes. The first section, External Influences is in reference to any aspect which may influence language learning, and is divided into two sub categories; history and motivators. History can include any past experiences of which may surround social milieu, including family background and types of cultural upbringing which may enhance or hinder the learners’ motivation for language learning. For example, a learner who comes from a bi-lingual household may be more likely to appreciate the value of learning new languages, in contrast to someone who comes from a mono-lingual household, who may not appreciate languages as much. Moving onto the next section in Gardner’s Socio-educational Model; Individual Differences is comprised of two variables which have a direct affect on motivation; Integrativeness, and Attitudes toward the learning Situation. The former includes the following three scopes; a positive outlook towards the L2 speakers, general attraction to foreign languages with low level of ethnocentricism and endorsement of motives to learn the L2 in relation to interaction with L2 members (Ortega 2009). In Gardner’s model (2001), an example of the “highest level of integrativeness” was demonstrated in a letter, written by someone who was living in Japan. The letter

Keeley Alvarez LG227: Second Language Learning Assignment 2: Motivation and L2 Learning UP:16/03/2012-01:02:06 WM:16/03/2012-01:02:18 M:LG227-5-FY A:11a2 R:1003600 C:FCFD7C01F07C19DE4FCFB1F2C59A2C5B2D7C79E6

depicted that; even though the author was not Japanese, nor did they hold a Japanese passport, they believed themselves to be Japanese on a “sub-conscious level.” This was due to the fact that they used the Japanese language in their job, watched Japanese TV, read Japanese newspapers, owned a Japanese car and furthermore, they unconsciously said...
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