Variable is a term used in research to something which may vary (e.g. across time or among individuals) and which can be observed or measured.
A variable is a factor which effects language learning.
Types of variables
cognitives social affective
IQ Age Attitude
Apitude Gender Motivation
What is Motivation?
Motivation is an act of stimulating the interest of somebody to do something.
= effort + desire to achieve goal + attitudes
Motivation research was inspired and spearheaded by social psychologist Robert Gardner in Canada. Facing an ethnolinguistically split society, his main interest in motivation was the fact that the motivation to learn the other community’s language might be the key to the reconciliation of the Francophone and Anglophone communities.
Definitions of motivation
“ The drive or energy directed towards a ‘goal’, and drive itself is referred to as ‘what makes us act’ by Hull and McDonough (1986:144).
In terms of Second/Foreign language learning Gardner (1985:10-11)defines motivation as:
“… . the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favourable attitudes towards learning the language. When the desire to achieve the goal and favourable attitudes towards the goal are linked with the effort or the drive, then we have a motivated organism”.
Williams and Burden (1997:120) defines motivation as :
A) “a state of cognitive and emotional arousal, which,
B) leads to a conscious decision to act, and which
C) gives rise to a period of sustained intellectual and/or physical effort in order to attain a previously set goal (or goals)”
( Attitude + Motivation)
The Intrinsic Hypothesis: motivation derives from an inherent interest in the learning tasks the learner is asked to perform.
The Resultative Hypothesis: learners do well persevere, those who do not well will be discouraged and try less hard.
The Internal Cause Hypothesis: the learner brings to the learning situation a certain quantity of motivation as a given.
The Carrot and Stick Hypothesis: external influences and incentives will affect the strength of the learner’s motivation.
Integrative means mixing, joining, getting closer, getting together, and becoming a part of. So, integrative motivation means a desire to identify oneself with the L2 community.
The learner is interested in other cultural groups and wants to make contacts with speakers of other languages or wants to be fully a member of target language community.
According to Gardner’s socio-educational model,
“ an integrative orientation involves an interest in learning an L2 because of ‘a sincere and personal interest in the people and culture represented by the other language group”.
A learner who wishes to identify with another ethnolinguistic group will be called integratively motivated.
In contrast to integrative motivation, Gardner and Lambert presented the concept of instrumental motivation: a learner is said to be instrumentally motivated when he learns an L2 for practical purposes, such as promoting his career, improving his social status or passing an exam.
Orientation is not the same as motivation because orientation ‘refers to the underlying reasons for studying an L2’, whereas motivation ‘refers to the direct effort, individual learners make to learn the language.
Gardner and Lambert (1972; 1985) conducted a series of studies in different social, cultural and geographical settings and contexts expanding the notion that integratively oriented learners are better in acquiring a 2 nd language than those who are instrumentally oriented.
But later research (Clement et al, 1977) contradicted the basic hypothesis and ascribed a powerful function to instrumental orientation.
Clement and Kruidenier,s (1983 and 1985) research demonstrates that, integrative motivation is not the only kind of internal motivation involved in L2 learning.
Kruidenier and Clement (1986) also failed to fined any evidence in support for Gardner’s integrated orientation in another study of language learners in Quebec. Instead they found evidence of a number of different orientations (friendship, travel, knowledge and instrumental) with different groups of learners revealing different dominant orientations, depending on their learning situation .
In research conducted by Lukmani (1972) in India and by Feenstra and Santos (1970) in the Philippines, instrumental orientation emerged as the best predictor of proficiency in English.
This led Gardner and Lambert (1972:141) to modify their early claim:
“ It seems that in setting where there is an urgency about mastering a second language- as in the Philippines and in North America for members of linguistic minority groups- the instrumental approach to language study is extremely effective”.
Some studies have failed to fined a positive relationship between integrated motivation and L2 achievement.
Oller and Perkins (1978) suggest that some learners may be motivated to excel because of negative attitude towards the target language community.
In this case negative feelings may lead to a desire to manipulate and overcome the people of the target language---a phenomenon which they refer to as Machiavellian Motivation .
To sum up, learners with integrative motivation are more active in class and are less likely to drop out. However, integrativeness is not always the main motivational factor in L2 learning; some learners, such as those living in bilingual areas, may be more influenced by other factors like self-confidence or friendship.
PURPOSE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
A CHARECTERISTIC OF 2 ND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Studies conducted to investigate the effects of an instrumental motivation
Rewards were offered to students learning Farsi language.
GARDNER & MACINTYRE(1991)
To sum up, learners with an instrumental reason for learning an L2 can be successful but the effects may cease as soon as the rewards stop.
Resultative Hypothesis claims that learners who do well are more likely to develop motivational intensity and to be active in classroom.
Gardner, Smythe and Clement (1979); suggests that ‘while greater motivation and attitudes lead to better learning, the converse is not true’ (1989:153).
Other studies however suggest that learner’s motivation is strongly affected by their achievement. Strong (1983;1984) investigated motivation and English language attainment in Spanish speaking Kindergarten children and found that fluency in English preceded and inclination to associate with target language groups .
Savignon (1972) reported that students desire to learn French increased with gains in French proficiency.
A study by Hermann (1980) suggested that it is success that contributes to motivation rather than vice versa.
Resultative hypothesis claims that learners who do well are more likely to develop motivational intensity and to be active in the classroom.
These students had a strong instrumental motivation to learn the English they needed to pass the university examinations.
Berwick an Ross found little evidence of any motivation at the beginning of the English course. It is likely that the relationship between motivation and achievement is an interactive one.
A high level of motivation does stimulate learning.
Conversely, a vicious circle of low motivation= low achievement= lower motivation can develop.
MOTIVATION AS INTRINSIC INTEREST
It was developed as an alternative to goal directed theories of motivation that emphasize the role of intrinsic rewards and punishments.
Crooks and Schmidt (1989:16) observe that ‘it is probably fair to say that teachers would describe a student as motivated if he becomes productively engaged on learning tasks, and sustains that engagement, without the need for encouragement or direction’. Teachers see it as their job to motivate students by engaging their interest in classroom activities.
Gardner, Ginsberg and Smythe (1976) compared the effects of two sorts of instructional programmes; i.e. very traditional and innovative respectively, on 25 learners of French at Dalhousie University in Canada.
Those who experienced the innovatory programme reported a greater desire to excel and a more positive attitude to learning French as compared to those who experienced traditional programme.
Crookes and Schmidt (1989) try to make sure that the learning tasks pose a reasonable challenge to the students--- neither too difficult nor too easy.
Motivation is the feeling nurtured primarily by the classroom teacher in the learning situation. The enhancement of motivation occurs when the teacher closes the classroom door, greets his students with warm, welcoming smile, and proceeds to interact with various individuals by making comments or asking questions which indicate personal concern.
Motivation in L2 learning constitutes one of the most fully researched areas of individual differences. It has focused rather narrowly on integrative and instrumental motivation, relying almost exclusively on self-reporting questionnaires and correlational designs. Crookes and Schmidt (1989) argue that research that links teachers’ and learners’ actions to persistence and effort in language learning would have a more ‘real-world’ impact.