Motivators That Do Not Motivate: The Case of Chinese EFL Learners and the Influence of Culture on Motivation

8169 words 33 pages
TESOL QUARTERLY Vol. 39, No. 4, December 2005 609
Motivators That Do Not Motivate:
The Case of Chinese EFL Learners and the Influence of Culture on Motivation
The Overseas Chinese Institute of Technology
Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
National Chung Hsing University
Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
National Changhua University of Education
Chunghua, Taiwan, Republic of China
It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Second Stain
(1930, p. 657)
Language learning motivation plays an important role in both research and teaching, yet language learners are still largely understood in terms of North American and
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Acquisition theories and teaching methodologies currently employed in EFL settings are derived mainly from second language research in
North America, Britain, and Australia (Holliday, 1994a, 1994b; Kachru,
1994; Prabhu, 1987; Sridhar, 1994). Adapting and developing theory outside this domain, however, can benefit EFL efforts as well as enrich language motivation constructs (Dörnyei, 1990; Gardner & MacIntyre,
1991; Liu, 1998; Ramage, 1986). Dörnyei and Ottó’s (1998) process model of second language motivation synthesizes previous research findings concerning motivational influences. The process model consists of three phases: preactional phase (choice motivation that precedes any action), actional phase (executive motivation that influences the level of language effort), and postactional phase (critical retrospection after action is completed). Each phase is itself influenced by corresponding motivation orientations. We used this framework for the current exploratory research emphasizing three specific motivation orientations, which are discussed in the next two sections.
Integrative and Instrumental Orientations
Language learning motivation research results have tended to support the paramount importance of integrative motivation, first described by
Gardner and Lambert (1972) and more recently by Shaaban