Document Type: Original Article

Authors

English Language Department, Farhangiyan University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This study examined attitude and motivation in teenage Iranian students learning English as a foreign language to explore whether they were instrumentally motivated or integratively. The participants were 85 eleventh-grade high school students who were in the 14 -18 age range. Their language competence was investigated through an EFL test measuring vocabulary, grammar, writing and reading comprehension. They were also asked to fill out a two-part attitude/motivation questionnaire. The SPSS, version 25 and Pearson correlation coefficient were used to analyze data. The results proved that the male participants were equally integratively and instrumentally motivated. The female students were more integratively motivated proving the effect of gender on motivation. They had higher interest and a more positive attitude in learning English than male subjects. Better performance of females in language achievement test confirmed the major part of beginning age in learning English. Moreover, experiencing more dynamic and enjoyable teaching styles had an impact on language learning.

Keywords

1. Introduction                        

In the era of globalization, learning English as a second or foreign language takes on prominent importance compared to past decades. A large number of studies on factors influencing second language learning have been carried out all over the world. These studies have shown that learners’ motivation is, in fact, one of the most essential elements besides age, socio-cultural background, cognitive development, attitude, and aptitude. It reveals that language learning is affected by psychological traits (e.g., self-esteem, empathy, and introversion). The relationship between language learning and affective variables has been emphasized by many studies (Top, 2009; Mirhadizadeh, 2016). Among various variables, attitude/motivation for language learning is an important facet of the affective domain (Balemir, 2009). It refers to the extent to which an individual strives to master that language because of the desire and the satisfaction experienced in this process (Gardner, 1985). Experience of success in language learning will further motivate the person to continue learning. Without sufficient motivation, even individuals with high intellectual abilities cannot accomplish long-term goals to succeed in foreign language learning.

Although it has been proposed that personality variables (e.g., anxiety, introversion, extroversion, self-esteem, risk-taking, and empathy) influence attitude and motivation, the impact of these factors on language learning is not the same in all learners. Moreover, it has been suggested that age, personality, and motivation are the main factors which influence second language acquisition (Cook, 2000; Kamaruddin, R., Sha’ri, S. N., Ghazali, A. H. A, Hamdan, R., 2017) and among them, motivation is the most significant factor to achieve language abilities (Johnstone, 1999).

Motivation is generally of two intrinsic and extrinsic types. Intrinsic motivation deals with the inner feelings of learners and their willingness which is involved in the activity of learning. Learners are intrinsically motivated when learning is a goal by itself (Wu, 2003). Intrinsic motivation involves enjoyment in learning the target language for its own sake without any external pressure while extrinsic motivation is derived by a desire for reward from outside the individual (e.g., parents, employers, teachers or others).

Extrinsic motivation is of integrative and instrumental orientations. Integrative motivation plays a significant role in successful language learning. When learners’ attitudes towards second language learning are positive, they easily become part of L2 culture (Gardner, 2001). Integrative motivation occurs when the learners are interested in the people and the culture of the second or foreign language community. They also wish to communicate with them. Instrumental motivation is related to learners’ practical needs such as finding a good job, or enjoying a high income (ibid), whereas intrinsically motivated learners’ purpose is to achieve a goal for their own satisfaction. That is, instrumental motivation is used as a tool to achieve something else. It occurs when the learner is interested in the second language as a useful instrument for furthering his goals (e.g., gaining qualifications, improving employment, or finding a job). External and internal factors influence learning a second or foreign language. External factors include the non-linguistic context in which learning takes place, for instance, the opportunities that learners may have to hear and speak the specific language. Internal factors include the attitudes learners develop while learning a language. It is the set of beliefs that learners have towards the members of the target language, the target culture and in the case of classroom learning, towards their teachers and teaching styles (Mirhadizadeh, 2016). In other words, an attitude refers to the way of feeling, thinking or behaving of the learners towards language learning.

The aim of this study was to examine the existence of the relationship between indicators of instrumental and integrative motivations, and the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents based on Gardner’s socio-educational model (2006b & 2010). In particular, the aim was to explore the intensity of the relationship between each type of motivation and the beginning age of learning English, gender, age, and aptitude. In this regard, several studies (Csizer & Dörnyei, 2005; Balemir, 2009) propose that gender plays a significant role in foreign language learners’ motivation while others (Yau & Kan, 2011; Freund, 2012) maintain that gender does not have any effect on motivation. Moreover, some studies claim that male learners have higher intrinsic motivation compared to female participants while responding to a competition (Burger, Dahlgren, & MacDonald, 2006; Conti, Collins, & Picariello, 2001). With respect to the relationship between motivation and language learning, some studies have shown that instrumental motivation correlates best with success in second language learning (Choosri & Intharaksa, 2011; Vaezi, 2008; Kurum, 2011) while others suggest that integrative motivation is predominant (Kamaruddin, et al., 2017; Al-Ta’ani, M., 2018). That is, although studies established a relationship between attitude/motivation and achievement in second language learning (Vero & Puka, 2017; Khansari & Ghani Dehkordi, 2017); the nature of this relationship in all languages and communities regarding types of motivation is not obvious. All these considerations necessitate doing research in this field to find its effect on foreign language learners.

Studies reported opposing views regarding the effects of age on second or foreign language learning. Some of the age-related studies maintain that children can attain a native-like proficiency without much striving, while adults study hard for years with unsatisfactory results (Li, 2015). Moreover, the ten-year-olds have the highest motivation for learning English as a second language, while the eighteen-year-olds have the lowest (Bećirović & Hurić – Bećirović, 2017). As a result, the existence of the critical period hypothesis cannot be proved entirely and argued widely (Rahman, M., Pandian, A., Karim, A., Shahed, F. H., 2017). Therefore, another purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between age, motivation and learning English as a foreign language to find out whether there is any relationship between participants’ motivation and their language proficiency based on their age.

 

2. Literature Review

A large number of studies have investigated the relationship between attitude/ motivation and foreign language learning in different contexts. Dörnyei, Czisér, and Németh (2006) studied foreign language learning motivation with Hungarian children whose age ranged from 13 to 14 in a socio-political context. Their study showed that participants valued foreign languages based on their integrativeness, instrumentality, interest in L2 community’s culture, attitudes towards L2 and L2 community. The relationship between integrative motivation and second language proficiency among groups of Spanish-speaking kindergarten children was studied in an American classroom. The integrative motivation was measured by discovering the children’s preference for friends, playmates, and workmates. The results showed no positive association between integrative motivation and proficiency development. Further, comparisons between beginner and advanced learners of English as a second language showed considerably more integrative orientation towards the target language by advanced students than the beginners, leading to the finding that integrative motivation follows the acquisition of second language skills and it may also be different in children compared to adults (Strong, 1984, p. 1-4). Other studies have shown that the level of instrumental motivation correlates closely with success in second language learning (Gardner 1972, p. 121-122; Al-Ta’ani, M., 2018). Studying the behavior of learners learning English in India showed that they were instrumentally motivated to learn English. Instrumental motivation scores correlated significantly with English proficiency scores, the greater the motivation, the higher the achievement. The learners did not wish to integrate with the English community but cope with the demands of modern life, such as getting a good job, coping with university classes, traveling abroad and broadening their outlook (Lukmani, 1972). In addition, most learners are stimulated by a mixture of integrative and instrumental motivations (Khansari & Ghani Dehkordi, 2017).

Ellis (1994) claims that learners’ attitudes have been identified as one set of significant critical variables. The attitudes which are shaped by the social factors influence the learner’s learning outcome. There are both negative and positive attitudes towards the L2. Positive attitudes enhance learning. In other words, if subjects are interested in target language societies, they become more motivated to learn that language (Noels et al. 2003:36). Negative attitudes impede language learning since the learners get those attitudes when they are not interested or have challenges with teachers (Ellis, 1994, p.197-201). Furthermore, students’ attitudes can change. They may have negative views at the beginning, but when they realize what a good advantage it is to know the language, their attitudes change.

Ushida (2005) examines the effect of students’ attitudes and motivation on language achievement in online French and Spanish classes. The findings of the study showed that motivated students studied frequently and effectively to develop their language skills. The findings also revealed that there was a significant correlation between the students’ motivation and their learning outcomes. Vaezi (2008) investigated the effects of integrative and instrumental motivation on achievement in learning English as a foreign language among Iranian undergraduates whose major was not English. The results indicated that Iranian students had positive orientations and attitudes towards English, and they were more instrumentally motivated to learn English than integratively motivated. Choosri and Intharaksa (2011) studied the relationship between motivational level and Thai students’ English language achievement scores. The results showed that not integrative motivation, but instrumental motivation is significantly correlated with achievement scores. Kurum (2011) investigated the effects of motivation on Turkish students who learn English as a foreign language. The results revealed that there was a positive correlation between Turkish students’ instrumental motivation and their accomplishment in English as a foreign language.

As motivation is an essential determinant in language learning, this study tried to find out the degree of integrative and instrumental orientations in foreign language learning and to explore which one played a prominent part and was used by Iranian teenagers in learning English as a foreign language. Moreover, this research was an attempt to determine whether there were any relationships between gender and the type of motivation. The following questions were addressed to get a better understanding of the subject:

  1. Is there any relationship between teenage participants’ motivation and their language proficiency?
  2. Are teenage Iranian EFL learners instrumentally motivated or integratively?
  3. Is gender influential in participants’ motivational level and orientation?
  4. Does the beginning age of learning have an effect on language learning skills?

 

3. Methodology

3.1. Design of the Study

In order to answer the above questions, an achievement test of English and a questionnaire were administered to 85 male and female participants. The English language test was a timed test and participants were asked to accomplish it during a limited period of time. 60 students were involved in the standardization of the test. The reliability coefficient, according to Kuder-Richardson formula 20, was 0.968. To do tests, participants worked in the familiar, relaxed atmosphere of their own classrooms. The instructions were read to them and practice items were done before each learner completed the test at his own speed. After getting information through the test and questionnaire, the results were compared to explore the relationship that test results might have with motivation types.

 

3.2. Participants

In this study, the participants were 85 teenage students (35 male and 50 female). They were studying in the eleventh grade of high school and participated in the study program in Kerman from 2017 to 2018. The participants had been taught English as a class subject in secondary school for two sessions a week, and each session lasted 90 minutes. The primary teaching method employed in the classrooms is mostly communicative language teaching. The students were in the 15 to 18 age range with a mean age of 16.74 (SD= 0.74) for males and 16.84 (SD= 1.14) for females. The age ranges of the participants who first began taking English subjects were 9 to 14 with a mean age of 11.77 (SD= 1.2) for males and 5 to 14 with a mean age of 10.62 (SD= 1.4) for females. All of the participants were native Persian monolingual speakers. They all had already studied English at school. The questionnaires were administered to 110 students at the outset, but 25 papers were eliminated due to missing and incomplete answers. After excluding the participants who were unable to answer the items completely, the questionnaire and English exam were administered to participants including 85 students on the whole.

                              

3.3. Instruments

Two instruments were employed to collect data: the English ability test (appendix C) and Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) questionnaire (Appendix A). A pilot study of the AMTB was conducted with a sample of 20 participants (10 male and 10 female) in the fall semester of 2017 at Kerman schools. For the purpose of this study, we had to adapt and translate this instrument into Persian. Although the reliability and validity of AMTB have already been proved by previous studies as it is a well-known questionnaire mostly used in the research studies, the reliability for every construct in each subscale of our Persian adapted version of AMTB instrument was confirmed through Cronbach’s alpha. The results of the Cronbach alpha in the six subscales were as follows:

 

Table 1.

TheCronbach’s Values of Subscales in Persian Adapted Versionof AMTB

The subscale variables                     

Cronbach alpha

Interest in foreign languages

.976

Attitude towards learning English

.964

Integrative orientation

.907

The desire to learn English

.949

Instrumental orientation

.970

Teacher evaluation          

.967

 

The Cronbach’s values for six subscales of AMTB indicated both a high-level internal consistency and reliability of scales

The AMTB is a 5-point Likert scale which was adapted from the original 7-point Likert scale format originally developed by Gardner (1985b), ranged from strongly disagrees to strongly agree. To use this instrument, we adapted it to the context of secondary school students by deleting all of the items that were negatively keyed to prevent students’ confusion. The subtests anxiety, course difficulty, competence of the teacher, aptitude to learn a foreign/second language and some others were also deleted because they were outside the scope of this study. The final questionnaire was a 5 point Likert scale which was ranged from strongly disagrees to strongly agrees. The participants were asked to read the descriptions carefully and circle the appropriate choice which matched the best with the number which showed their rank of motivation implied in each description. To avoid misunderstanding and enhancing the reliability of the study and better and careful performance, the Persian version of the questionnaire (Appendix B) was administered to all teenage participants. The final format of the AMTB used for this study included two parts: part 1 on personal demographic information with 7 items and part 2 on 6 subscales with 32 items which were randomly ordered.  5 items were related to interest in foreign languages, 5 to attitudes towards learning English, 7 to integrative orientation, 5 to desire to learn English, 7 to instrumental orientation and 3 to teacher evaluation. The participants were asked to report their own attitudes and motivations on the subscales and the 32 variables.

The other instrument which was devised by authors was an EFL test measuring English basic skills including vocabulary, grammar, writing and reading comprehension. In fact, the English language examination included 4 parts with a total number of 42 items. The first part of the examination included 16 multiple choice items on vocabulary. The second part involved 10 grammar items. Learners were asked to fill in the blanks or choose the correct answers. Writing part included 8 items. Some of them required the full sentence answers and some required choosing the correct answers. The learners were instructed to answer the eight questions of  the reading comprehension in full sentences unless they were asked for a different form of the answer. The source of items was texts employed during the instructional practice procedure which were taken from vision 2, English for schools. In these tests, each true item received one point and there was no correction for guessing. Consequently, the possible range of the scores was between 0 and 42 for all skills. The learners were not allowed to ask any questions once the test had commenced.

 

3.4. Data Collection Procedure

After the motivation questionnaire and English proficiency tests got ready, first the questionnaire papers were distributed to 85 subjects during their usual class sessions. They were given clear instructions and illustrations for filling out them. The classes were observed to explore the teaching methods and the way teachers and students interact with each other. Before doing the study, all the students and teachers expressed their consent to participate in the testing process. Once the English ability test was completed, the results of AMTB subscales were correlated with the students’ English exams to draw conclusions on the research questions.

 

3.5. Data Analysis Procedure

The purpose of this study was to identify the degree of attitude/ motivation in learning English as a foreign language. The data obtained from the questionnaire and the English exams were analyzed by running the SPSS program, version 25 to explore their correlations. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure the level and the type of subjects’ motivation/attitude. The scale used in the questionnaire to specify the level of the agreement or disagreement was based on the following criteria: the mean range of 1 to 2.33 was interpreted as the low degree of motivation; 2.34- 3.67 as intermediate and 3.68 to 5 was interpreted as the high degree of motivation. Independent samples t-test was used to compare the two means of the male and female students’ reported answers on AMTB subscales. Moreover, the relation between AMTB subscales and English language achievement scores was determined via the Pearson correlation coefficient. The mean scores of different items and subscales were measured and analyzed based on the descriptive and inferential statistics.

 

4. Results

The general information about the participants’ age, gender, type of education, aptitude and initial age of learning English were obtained from the first part of the questionnaire.The results of the personal information, information about the proficiency test, students’ motivations/attitudes towards learning English as a foreign language and their ratings of English proficiency in language skills were presented in the following tables.

 

Table 2.

The Participants’ Information on Age and Initial Age of English Language Instruction

groups

Number

Mean age (SD)

Mean of initial age (SD)

male

35

16.74 (.74)

11.77 (1.2)

female

50

16.84 (1.14)

10.62 (1.4)

 

Table 3.

The Students’ Information on Aptitude and English Proficiency Rating

groups

No.

Aptitude(SD)

English proficiency reported rating (SD)

Reading

Writing

Speaking

Listening

male

35

4.51 (1.2)

3.14 (0.55)

2.94 (0.72)

2.68 (0.71)

2.71 (0.85)

female

50

4.46 (0.86)

3.12 (0.68)

2.90 (0.64)

2.56 (0.73)

2.56 (0.64)

 

The respondents’ reported personal information showed that female participants started learning English as a foreign language at an earlier age compared to male teenage students. A six-point Likert scale was employed to measure the level of subjects’ aptitude for learning English. The value of each item was determined by this formula: (highest point in Likert scale – lowest point)/the number of the levels used. For the six-point scale, it was calculated as (6-1)/6=0.83.  Afterwards, the number one which is the least value in the scale was added in order to identify the maximum of this value. The length of the values was determined as: From 1 to 1.83 (null); 1.84 to 2.66 (low); 2.67 to 3.50 (very low); 3.51 to 4.33 (average); 4.35 to 5.17 (higher than average); 5.18 to 6 (advanced). As 3 values were required (low, moderate and high), the interval width was calculated through (number of levels -1)/ number of values. That is, (6-1)/3= 1.66, then Low: 1- 2.66; moderate: 2.67 – 4.33 and high: 4.34 – 6.

The scores of 4.51 for the  male participants and 4.46 for the female respondents showed that both groups’ ability in learning English is high and approximately the same. The results suggested that the learners’ scores on reading and writing were better than speaking and listening capabilities in both groups. The level of English proficiency was calculated based on these criteria: 1- 2, low; 2-3, intermediate and 3-4 high. The average scores of the four skills showed that reading skill proficiency in both groups was high while writing, speaking and listening skill proficiencies were intermediate.

We employed the independent samples t-test to compare the two means of the male (N=35) and female (N=50) students’ reported answers on the AMTB subscales. The data analysis of the first subscale (interest in foreign languages) showed that for  the male respondents, items ‘I enjoy meeting people who speak foreign languages’ and ‘If I planned to stay in another country, I would try to learn their language’ indicated the lowest and highest values respectively (2.98 vs. 3.83), while for  the female participants, items ‘I enjoy meeting people who speak foreign languages’ and ‘I wish I could read newspapers and magazines in many foreign languages’ respectively showed the lowest and highest values (4.27 vs. 4.38). The study found that the mean scores of male (M=3.37, SD=0.32) and female (M=4.38, SD=0.11) groups were statistically significantly different (t (83) = 6.5, p=0<0.05). Comparing the performance of  the male and female participants in attitude towards learning English subscale showed that the items ‘English is a very important part of the school program’ and ‘Learning English is really great’ respectively got the lowest and highest scores (3.35 vs. 3.75) in males while items ‘I really enjoy learning English’ and ‘I love learning English’ respectively got the highest and lowest scores (3.66 vs. 4.52) in females. The mean scores of the male (M=3.5, SD=0.17) and the female (M=4.1, SD=0.37) students showed better performance of  the female participants in this subscale. The results proved that there was a statistically significant difference between  the male and female groups (t (83) =3.14, p= 0.014<0.05).  A close study of the integrative orientation items showed that the male and female teenagers’ performances were different in this variable. The results found that the mean scores of the male participants’ integrative orientation (M=3.46, SD=0.36) and the female teenagers’ (M=4.1, SD=0.24) were statistically different (t (83) = 4.17, p=0.001<0.05). Comparing the subscale desire to learn English in  the male and female participants and their achievement test scores showed that there was a significant difference in scores of the male (M=3.4, SD=0.46) and  the female learners (M=4.2, SD= 0.54; (t(83)=2.34, p=0.05). The results suggested that the nature and degree of desire had an effect on foreign language learning. The statistical analysis of instrumental orientation subscale showed that male and female participants’ motivations were different, but the difference was not so considerable, although the females’ mean score was a little higher than males. The study found that there was no statistical difference between the  males (M=3.4, SD= 0.41) and  the females’ (M= 3.7, SD= 0.75) instrumental orientation (t (83)=1.18, p=0.259>0.05). Studying the mean scores of participants’ reported views on teacher evaluation showed that  the females evaluated their teachers different from the  males. Comparing mean scores of two groups proposed that there was not a statistically significant difference in scores of the male (M=2.9, SD=0.32) and female learners (M=3.8, SD=0.56); (t (83) =1.2, p=0.74 >0.05).

The Pearson correlation was run to discover the relationship between the 6 subscales of attitude/motivation and the English language achievement test. For the test of significance, we used the two-tailed value as we do not have an assumption of whether there was a positive or negative correlation between these two variables. The descriptive statistics on the mean scores of the  participants in the 6 subscales and the English achievement test have been shown here.

 

Table 4.                    

Descriptive Statistics of Mean Scores of Subscales and Achievement Test

subscales

male

female

M

SD

M

SD

Interest in foreign languages

3.6

1.13

4.3

0.7

Attitude towards learning English

3.6

1.14

4.07

0.87

Integrative orientation

3.4

0.89

4.1

0.82

Desire to learn English

3.4

1.18

4.1

0.74

Instrumental orientation

3.4

1.01

3.6

0.92

Teacher evaluation

2.7

1.29

4

0.93

Achievement test

36.18

4.4

39.2

2.06

 

The results showed that in all subscales,  the females’ mean scores in the motivation/attitude subscales and the  achievement test were higher than male participants’. Conducting the Pearson correlation between each subscale and language achievement scores revealed that although there was a positive association between all subscale variables and English language achievement scores in both groups, its degrees in all variables were not identical. The correlation coefficient between the attitudes toward learning English and achievement scores was small while it was large in other subscales.

Table 5.                                    

The Correlation Coefficient Between all 6 Subscales of AMTB and Achievement Test Scores (In Both Groups)

subscales

r

Sig (2-tailed)

No

Interest in foreign languages

0.842

.000

85

Attitude towards learning English

0.565

.000

85

Integrative orientation

0.851

.000

85

Desire to learn English

0.836

.000

85

Instrumental orientation

0.824

.000

85

Teacher evaluation

0.738

.000

85

**.The correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

 

Based on the above data, interest in foreign languages and integrative orientation items’ scores were the highest among 6 subscales. Moreover, the sig value which was less than 0.05 showed that there was a statistically significant correlation between each subscale and English language achievement test meaning that increasing and decreasing in attitude and motivation variables caused an increase and a decrease in the English achievement test.

 

Table 6.

The Correlation Coefficient Between all 6 Subscales of AMTB and Achievement Tests

subscales

r

Sig (2-tailed)

Male (N=35)

Female (N=50)

Interest in foreign languages

0.778

0.939

.000

Attitude towards learning English

0.497

0.640

.000

Integrative orientation

0.751

0.947

.000

Desire to learn English

0.755

0.911

.000

Instrumental orientation

0.752

0.910

.000

Teacher evaluation

0.582

0.940

.000

 **. The correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

 

Comparing the correlation coefficient between male and female groups revealed that the coefficient of this relationship between subscales in female participants was more strongly correlated with achievement scores.

5. Discussion

The present research studied the relationship between gender and attitude/motivation orientations in learning English as a foreign language. Moreover, the effect(s) of attitude/motivation of teenage students (male and female) in the eleventh grade of high school on English language achievement was studied. Demographic information showed that  the female students with lower age were more successful in the foreign language achievement test compared to  the male participants with higher age. Observing learning situations showed that although the age was a crucial predictor, the amount of time that students spended exposing to language also played a prominent role in learning language skills.

The mean scores of the  participants on the subscale ‘interest in foreign languages’ proved that the teenage female students were more interested in learning English compared to male participants. The study of participants’ performance showed that teenage male students’ enjoyment of people who speak English as a foreign language was very low (2.98) while those of female students were very high (4.4). Generally, in all 5 items of this subscale, the mean scores of  the female students were much greater than the male participants’. The results revealed that the mean scores of teenage female students were higher than males (4.4 vs. 3.5) in the subscale ‘attitudes towards learning English’. The higher mean scores of  the female students compared to  the male participants showed that  the female learners were more intended to learn English meaning that learning English was more enjoyable for females. Although learning English was nearly important for both groups, females were more inclined to have plans to learn English as much as possible.

Teenage female participants’ motivations in all items of integrative orientation subscale were much higher than the  male students’ revealing that  the female learners appreciated the English people’s styles of life more than males. Moreover, the interaction was more important for them and provided possibilities to behave like native English speakers and understood English books, movies, and music. Statistical analysis of instrumental orientation subscale showed that the mean scores of  the female students were a little higher than the males’ (3.7 vs. 3.4). Both groups agreed that learning English was important for travelling abroad. Moreover, male learners reported that getting a graduate degree was more important than learning for them. They think that society will greatly respect them for knowing English while the female learners firmly believe that learning English will be a success and helpful in getting a good job. Comparing integrative and instrumental motivations showed that, on the one hand, teenage learners’ (both male and female on the whole) mean scores of integrative orientations were higher than mean scores of instrumental orientation which proved that learning English, on the whole, was more integrative than instrumental (3.75 vs. 3.5). On the other hand, the identical mean scores of teenage male participants in both instrumental and integrative orientations (3.4) showed that teenage male students were equally integratively and instrumentally motivated, while the different mean scores of teenage female students in both orientations was a proof that teenage female participants were more integrative motivated rather instrumentally.

The higher mean scores of the  teenage female participants than the male students in all 5 items of the subscale ‘desire to learn English’ showed that  the male respondents were not inclined to spend all their time learning English while females were more prone to do. Moreover, being a fluent and natural speaker was more important for females than males.

The results on the ‘teacher evaluation’ subscale suggested that female students had better emotional experiences with their teachers. Moreover, their teachers’ teaching styles were more dynamic and interesting than  the male participants’ teachers which indicate that teachers were key figures who influence the motivational quality of learners and play a major role in the progress process of L2 learners’ achievement which is in line with the findings of Kazemi et al. (2017) regarding the relationship between teachers’ support variable and motivation. Although the English language is just taught for two or three hours a week in schools, teachers have a primary role as a medium of communication. Accordingly, classroom experience will be the critical determinant for the quality of learners’ learning which in turn will affect their motivation. Based on the findings of this study, classroom teachers have a positive and negative influence on learners’ motivation meaning that teachers’ use of immediacy behavior (perceived physical and/or psychological closeness between people) influences learners’ motivation. That is, teacher’s appropriate uses of immediacy behaviors positively affect learners’ motivations and help them engage in the long process of foreign language learning whereas lack of motivation and engaging are attributed to teachers’ inappropriate use of immediacy behaviors. Female participants’ higher mean scores of language achievement test compared to the male learners’ indicate the influence of  the teachers in the process of foreign language learning via creating motivation and positive attitudes towards English foreign language learning. According to Veronica (2008), the important qualities of a good teacher in the classroom are enthusiasm, acknowledgment and stimulation of learners’ ideas, the creation of a comfortable and enjoyable environment in context of learning, the presentation of activities in a clear,  interesting and  motivating way, and the encouragement of the learners that help them to increase their expectations of themselves making them to extend their practice in using verbal or non-verbal alternatives for communicative expressions, structures or language items. The theoretical implication of this finding is that the teacher is an essential variable in L2 learning with two sides.  If teachers play their roles as motivators, learners will have successful foreign language learning. While they down play their roles, students will not succeed in learning, and the groups with prior motivation will also lose their motivation. They play a vital role in reshaping the culture and beliefs of students. Teachers can decrease negative beliefs that learners hold regarding foreign language learning or theories about it and develop positive ones by doing activities making students indulge in deciding on the course and choosing activities that are motivating for their age and interests of the learners to lower the student’s affective filter by encouraging communication.

The findings of this study on foreign language learning are in accordance with what Krashen (1982) states on second language learning. A natural situation which was created by a classroom teacher helped learners to use language to meet their authentic purposes. As this study shows, in the same learning situations, some students progressed , while others just struggled along and never achieved command of a foreign language. According to Krashen (1982), two important variables in second language acquisition were the amount of comprehensible input which the learner received and understood and the strength of the affective filters such as motivation which affected learning by facilitating or preventing comprehensible input. The comprehensible input hypothesis indicated using the target language in the classroom. For learning situations in which learners were not exposed to the target language outside the classroom, the role of the teacher was so crucial in providing opportunities for learners to communicate effectively to acquire language. The safe and desirable environment helped learners to produce language. Furthermore, in this situation, learners felt that they were able to make mistakes and take risks which were helpful to develop language learning relating directly to Krashen’s hypothesis of affective filters. When students have favorable attitudes towards the foreign language and its speakers, towards the teacher, they will probably be more attentive in class, would take assessments more seriously, willing to achieve more and would look for situations to obtain further practice in the foreign language. The practical implication of this finding is that motivating language learners extrinsically creates natural context which helps them communicate actively in a less stressful situation to achieve the higher levels of proficiency.

Based on 5-graded Likert scales of AMTB, the results suggested that the mean scores of male participants in all six subscales and their 32 items were 3.39 implying that male participants’ attitudes/motivations were moderate while the general mean scores of females were 4.05 suggesting that females’ attitudes/motivations were high and higher attitudes/motivation was closely related to their success in language learning. Based on the statistical analysis of AMTB and its subscales, it was revealed that female students’ attitudes were positive in learning English which in turn affected their motivation. Moreover, having an integrative orientation created more profound effects on English foreign language learning.

The findings revealed that there is a reciprocal relationship between attitudes/ motivation and foreign language achievement, in a way that having positive motivation and attitudes help learners to have successful foreign language achievement and learners’ degree of success affects their feelings (motivation and attitude). That is, showing more considerable interest in foreign languages, having the greater and stronger integrative and instrumental motivation, expressing a positive attitude towards learning English and more desires of female participants than males cause them to be better and to have higher scores in English language skills. Moreover, their teachers’ interesting and dynamic teaching styles also play a role in paving the way for them to do better in English test and persuades students to look forward to attending English foreign language classes. In addition, the implication of this finding is that the identification of the motivational factors influencing teenage Iranian students’ achievement in EFL will help teachers to work on promoting and enhancing them in order to have and create a better condition to develop the learners’ English proficiency level. Knowledge about the relationship between motivation types and demographic characteristics will lead teachers to use and researchers to offer ways which help students to improve their language skills.

6. Conclusions

In this study, we examined the role of motivation/attitude in learning English as a foreign language in teenage Iranian male and female learners to know whether EFL learners motivated instrumentally or integratively. The study was also an attempt to discover if participants’ motivation levels and orientations differed according to gender. The effect of initial age on learning language skills and the relation between teenage participants’ motivation and their language proficiency was studied as well.

The findings showed that females were more interested in foreign languages and especially English than the male participants. They also were more inclined and intended to learn English. Comparing integrative and instrumental orientations showed that teenaged females were integratively motivated while the male learners’ motivation was equally integrative and instrumental. The intermediate desire of teenage males in comparison with the high desire of the female participants indicated that females were more inclined to spend most of their time learning a foreign language. Moreover, the teenage females experienced more dynamic and interesting teaching styles which were an indication of teachers’ major role in the motivational quality and in turn learners’ experience of learning quality. Teenaged female learners’ higher mean scores of language achievement test proved the significant role of teachers in foreign language learning by shaping and reshaping the attitudes of learners towards the learning process and creating an enjoyable atmosphere for learners to communicate to improve their learning skills.

The study concluded that the initial age of learning a foreign language had a prominent role in learning language skills in a way that whatever it will be earlier, the learner will be more successful, a biological issue ignored in the socio-educational model of Gardner (2010). Moreover, the higher scores of the female learners in the achievement test showed the impact of gender on learners’ motivation and achievement. It is also revealed that the male participants’ attitude/motivation in learning English was moderate while female learners’ was high and their success in language learning was due to higher motivation. Moreover, the teacher played a leading role in creating a natural situation for language learners helping them to acquire language rather learning by communicating effectively through providing the desirable environment.

 

 

Appendix A

Adapted Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (English version)

Part I: general information

1. Age:

2.Sex:  M □     F□

3.Eucational year in which you are studying:

4. Education: where did you study?

B:High school

1.  public □

2. Gifted □

3. non-profit □

5. How old were you when you first began taking English classes?

6. You feel that your aptitude to learn English is : 

  null □       low  □      very low □     average□       higher than average□        advanced □ 

7. Rate your own English proficiency in the four different language skills. (circle the adequate option)

Reading: null □       low □     intermediate □       advanced □

Writing:  null  □      low □    intermediate  □        advanced□

Speaking: null □       low□     intermediate □         advanced□

Listening:  null □       low □    intermediate □        advanced□

Part II: attitude/ motivation

 

We would like to know your opinion about each statement by circling the alternative under it, which best indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree. Please provide your answers to all of the items. Use this scale as a reference for your answers.

Strongly disagree

disagree

Neither agree nor disagree

agree

Strongly agree

1

2

3

4

5

1

 I wish I could speak many foreign languages perfectly.

1

2

3

4

5

2

Studying English enables me to transfer my knowledge to other people e.g.,  giving directions to tourists.

1

2

3

4

5

3

Learning English is really great

1

2

3

4

5

4

Studying English is important because it will allow me to be more at ease with people who speak English.

1

2

3

4

5

5

I have a strong desire to know all aspects of English.

1

2

3

4

5

6

Studying English is important because I will need it for my career.

1

2

3

4

5

7

I wish I could read newspapers and magazines in many foreign languages.

1

2

3

4

5

8

I mainly focus on using English for class assignment and the exams.

1

2

3

4

5

9

I really enjoy learning English.

1

2

3

4

5

10

Studying English is important because it will allow me to meet and converse with more and varied people.

1

2

3

4

5

11

I want to learn English so well that it will become natural to me.

1

2

3

4

5

12

Studying English is important because it will make me more educated.

1

2

3

4

5

13

If I planned to stay in another country, I would try to learn their language.

1

2

3

4

5

14

Studying English enables me to behave like native English speakers: e.g accent, using English expressions.

1

2

3

4

5

15

English is a very important part of the school program.

1

2

3

4

5

16

Studying English is important because it will enable me to better understand and appreciate the English way of life.

1

2

3

4

5

17

I would like to learn as much English as possible.

1

2

3

4

5

18

Studying English is important because it will be useful in getting a good job.

1

2

3

4

5

19

I enjoy meeting people who speak foreign languages.

1

2

3

4

5

20

I am more interested in earning a degree than learning English language itself.

1

2

3

4

5

21

My English teacher has a dynamic and interesting teaching style.

1

2

3

4

5

22

I plan to learn as much English as possible.

1

2

3

4

5

23

Studying English is important because I will be able to interact more easily with speakers of English.

1

 

2

3

4

5

24

I wish I were fluent in English.

1

2

3

4

5

25

Studying English is important because other people will respect me more if I know English.

1

2

3

4

5

26

Studying a foreign language is an enjoyable experience.

1

2

3

4

5

27

I really like my English teacher.

1

2

3

4

5

28

I love learning English.

1

2

3

4

5

29

Studying English enables me to understand English books, movies, pop music etc.

1

2

3

4

5

30

If it were up to me, I would spend all of my time learning English.

1

2

3

4

5

31

Learning English is important for travelling abroad.

1

2

3

4

5

32

I look forward to going to class because my English teacher is good.

1

2

3

4

5

                                 

 

 

 

Appendix B

Adapted Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (English version)

مجموعه آزمون‌های انگیزش و نگرش یادگیرنده در مورد زبان بیگانه (نسخه فارسی)

بخش اول: اطلاعات عمومی

1- سن:

2- جنس: الف- مذکر □           ب- مونث  □

3- سال تحصیلی:

4-  دبیرستان:   الف- دولتی   □               ب- غیرانتفاعی    □                                    پ- نمونه  □

5- در چند سالگی یادگیری زبان را آغاز کردید؟

6- فکر می‌کنم که استعداد شما در یادگیری زبان انگلیسی:

الف- صفر  □

ب- کم  □

پ- خیلی کم  □

ت- متوسط  □

بیش از متوسط  □

پیشرفته  □

7- ارزیابی شما از میزان تسلطتان بر 4 مهارت یادگیری زبان (دور گزینه درست دایره بکشید)

الف) خواندن

صفر □

کم □

متوسط □

پیشرفته □

ب) نوشتن

صفر □

کم □

متوسط □

پیشرفته □

پ) صحبت کردن

صفر □

کم □

متوسط □

پیشرفته □

ت) گوش دادن

صفر □

کم □

متوسط □

پیشرفته □

بخش دوم: انگیزش/ طرز نگرش

در این بخش دیدگاه خود را از طریق خط کشیدن دور عدد مربوط بیان نمایید. اگر کاملاً مخالف هستید گزینه 1،  مخالف گزینه 2، اگر نظری ندارید گزینه 3، موافق گزینه 4 و اگر کاملاً موافق هستید گزینه 5 را انتخاب نمایید. لطفاً به همة گزینه‌ها پاسخ دهید.

کاملاً مخالف

مخالف

نظری ندارم

موافق

کاملاً موافق

1

2

3

4

5

1- ای کاش می‌توانستم زبان‌های خارجی زیادی صحبت کنم.

1

2

3

4

5

2- با مطالعة زبان انگلیسی می‌توانم دانشم را به افراد دیگر منتقل نمایم مثل آدرس دادن به‌گردشگران.

1

2

3

4

5

3- یادگیری زبان انگلیسی واقعاً جذاب است.

1

2

3

4

5

4-  یادگیری زبان انگلیسی اهمیت دارد زیرا این امکان را برای من فراهم می‌آورد تا با افرادی که انگلیسی صحبت می‌کنند راحت‌تر باشم.

1

2

3

4

5

5- اشتیاق زیادی برای یاد گرفتن همة جنبه‌های زبان انگلیسی دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

6- من مطالعة زبان انگلیسی را برای حرفه‌ام  نیاز دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

7- ای کاش می‌توانستم روزنامه‌ها و مجلات خارجی زیادی بخوانم.

1

2

3

4

5

8- بیشتر بر استفاده از زبان انگلیسی برای انجام تکالیف کلاسی و امتحان تمرکز دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

9- واقعاً از یادگیری زبان انگلیسی لذت می‌برم.

1

2

3

4

5

10- مطالعة زبان انگلیسی این امکان را به من می‌دهد تا با افراد زیاد و متفاوتی ملاقات کنم.

1

2

3

4

5

11- می‌خواهم زبان انگلیسی را آن‌قدر خوب یاد بگیرم تا برای من طبیعی شود.

1

2

3

4

5

12- من با مطالعة زبان انگلیسی باسوادتر می‌شوم.

1

2

3

4

5

13- اگر تصمیم به اقامت در کشور دیگر بگیرم، سعی می‌کنم زبان آنها را یاد بگیرم.

1

2

3

4

5

14- مطالعة زبان انگلیسی من را قادر می‌سازد تا مانند گویشوران زبان انگلیسی از عبارت‌های انگلیسی استفاده کنم.

1

2

3

4

5

15- زبان انگلیسی بخش خیلی مهمی از برنامه دبیرستان است.

1

2

3

4

5

16- مطالعة زبان انگلیسی من را قادر می‌سازد تا درک بهتری از روش زندگی انگلیسی داشته باشم.

1

2

3

4

5

17- مایلم تا جایی که امکان دارد زبان انگلیسی را یاد بگیرم.

1

2

3

4

5

18- مطالعة زبان انگلیسی در به دست آوردن شغل خوب مفید است.

1

2

3

4

5

19- از ملاقات افرادی که زبان‌های خارجی صحبت می‌کنند لذت می‌برم.

1

2

3

4

5

20- علاقة بیشتری به گرفتن مدرک تا یادگیری زبان انگلیسی دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

21- معلم انگلیسی من سبک جالب و پویایی دارد.

1

2

3

4

5

22- تصمیم دارم تا جایی که می‌توانم زبان انگلیسی یاد بگیرم.

1

2

3

4

5

23-  با مطالعة زبان انگلیسی راحت‌تر با گویشوران زبان انگلیسی ارتباط برقرار می‌کنم.

1

2

3

4

5

24- ای کاش انگلیسی را روان صحبت می‌کردم.

1

2

3

4

5

25- اگر زبان انگلیسی را بدانم، دیگران به من احترام بیشتری می‌گذارند.

1

2

3

4

5

26- مطالعة زبان خارجی تجربة لذت‌بخشی است.

1

2

3

4

5

27- من واقعاً معلم انگلیسی‌ام را دوست دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

28- یادگیری زبان انگلیسی را دوست دارم.

1

2

3

4

5

29- با مطالعة زبان انگلیسی می‌توانم موسیقی پاپ، کتاب‌ها، فیلم‌های انگلیسی و ...... را بفهمم.

1

2

3

4

5

30- اگر می‌توانستم همة وقتم را صرف یادگیری زبان انگلیسی می‌کردم.

1

2

3

4

5

31-  زبان انگلیسی برای مسافرت به خارج از کشور اهمیت دارد.

1

2

3

4

5

32- مشتاقانه منتظر رفتن به کلاس هستم زیرا معلم انگلیسی‌ام خوب است.

1

2

3

4

5

                                         

 

 

 

Appendix C

English Language ability tests

 

Part 1. Vocabulary

A. Match the signs with their meanings. There is one extra sentence.

                                      

   1. ………                        2. ………..                     3. ……….                 4. …………

 

a. There is a parking lot around.

b. Keep off the grass.

c. Please be quiet.

d. Men at work.

e. Do not swim here.

 

B. Fill in the blanks with the given words. There is one extra word.

laughter – available – rarely – jog – host

 

5. The information that you need for the project is easily ……………………… on the internet.

6. I don’t know which country will ……….………….….. the Olympic Games?

7. She could hear the ………………..….…… of children in the next room.

8. Mary goes for a two- kilometer ………..…………..… ever morning.

 

C. Match the words with their meanings.

9. Physical (  )

a. a person who changes a writing into a different language

10. Lifestyle (  )

b. relating to the body

11. Translator (  )

c. the way a person lives

12. Despite (  )

d. without taking any notice of

 

D. Fill in the blanks with your own words.  

13. Persian is the ………….…………… language of Iran.

14. My grandfather has high blood …………………………….. .

E. Circle the odd one out.

15.  a. Russia          b. Italy          c. German          d. Europe

16.  a. disease        b. diet          c. history            d. illness

 

Part 2. Grammar 

F. Look at the pictures and complete the following sentences.                                                  

                                                                                         17. He bought …………………………………… .

 

 

 

18. Sara drank …………………............this morning.

 

 

G. Read the following paragraph and choose the correct answer.

My mother and I went to a supermarket near our house yesterday. We needed many things. First we bought 19 (some – many) rice, 20 (two – a little) bottles of milk and 21 (a lot of – many) meat. On the way home, we also bought 22 (a few – a little) bananas.

 

H. Choose the correct option.

23. There is a ………………… of paper on the table.

a. slice                              b. bottle                  c. kilo                             d. piece

24. Mr. Johnson needed ………………..… information about that company.

a. a few                        b. many                       c.an                                   d. a lot of

25. We ate two …………………….. of melon.

a. bottles                      b. slices                       c. bags                              d. glasses

26. Unfortunately there is ………………… money left. We can't buy the book.

a. a little                      b. few                          c. little                              d. a few

 

 

Part 3. Writing

I. Unscramble the following words into correct sentences.

27. sugar / much / Helen  / yesterday / did / how / buy / ?

28. beautiful / in / there / twenty three / were / trees / the garden / .

 

J. Find the subject (S), verb (V), object (O) and adverb (ADV) in the following sentences.

29.  John studied Arabic carefully in the library.

30. We usually visit our grandmother on Fridays.

 

K. Fill in the blanks with an appropriate subject, verb or object.

31. My little sister ……………………. loudly.

32. ……………………. speaks ………………… very well.

33. They are going to learn ……………………………. .

34. Many …………………live in ………………………… .

 

Part 4: Reading

L. Conversation

Maryam is shopping in a supermarket. She is talking to the shopkeeper. Match her questions to the shopkeeper's answers.  There is one extra answer.

35. May I help you?      (      )

36. We have different kinds of it. Which one do you want?         (      )

37. How much do you need?          (   )

38. Anything else madam?             (    )

a. No, thanks.

b. Yes, please. I need  some cheese.

c. Half a kilo please.

d. I need some feta cheese.

e. 3500 tomans.

 

M. Read the following passage and answer the questions.

It is important for people to eat as much as they need to give them energy.  If they eat little food or the wrong food they won't have enough energy. If they eat a lot, they will gain weight and will need to do more exercise. We should keep the energy balance: we should eat enough amounts of food and get enough exercise.

Fat and sugar are very high in calories. They make you fat and can increase the risk of heart diseases. Researchers believe that a good diet should contain as little fat and sugar as possible.

However, fiber is an important part of a healthy diet.  Fiber can keep you healthy by moving food quickly through your body.  Recent research showed that people who eat at least 30 grams of fiber a day can lose weight more easily. It can also decrease the risk of heart diseases and diabetes. A simple way of eating more fiber is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

39. Eating less fat increases the risk of heart attack.                          a. True    b. False

40. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lots of fiber.                         a. True    b. False

41. What does "keeping the energy balance" mean?

42. How does fiber help your body?

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