Select a specific area within second language studies and identify three or four recent research-based articles which have made a significant contribution to the development of this area. Critically evaluate aspects of the articles, such as the research approach, quality and ethics. Suggest how these studies could be adapted for researching your own teaching and learning context which you are familiar with.
Research Methods for Second Language Education
Second Language is a language, which is not one’s mother tongue. In this connection, the research on second language learning motivation is increasing day by day. Motivation, the term indicates one’s motive force to learn the other language. Motivation is the most important factor, which affects the success of a language learner. Motivation plays a considerable role to develop the learning of a student to learn new languages. A student can be motivated to learn another language for emotion, desire, need to learn and for any other good reason. However, learners in the countries where English is not the mother tongue, lacks the appropriate level of motivation to learn English for various reasons. These reasons include teaching practices, English is not related to the real life conditions, lack of interest in English values and culture, etc. A less able student can achieve greater success if he is highly motivated. It can be assumed that one can be successful in any task because of his/her motivation, so as of language learning, with motivation a learner can be successful. Sometimes, paucity of motivation of the learner is the reason for which the student’s performance, attendance and participation became low. Both teachers and researchers accepted that one of the factors, which influence the success of learning the foreign or second language, is motivation (Mao, 2011).
Nowadays, the pressure is on the educational institutes to teach language classes more than earlier despite the students dislike it. The family also plays an important role to pressurise the student to learn English as to progress in academic and social life.
In Taiwan, English taught from school to university. In addition, Taiwan has educational institutes outside the formal system of schooling where the medium of learning is English. Despite the English teaching, Taiwan is not very proficient in the language. It is because the students in Taiwan are not motivated and psychologically declined to learn English, which affects their English proficiency.
Kinds of Motivation
We found four kinds of motivation. First is integrative motivation. Person possessing integrative motivation learns a language other than that of his or her in order to integrate with the speakers of the native place. Secondly, the instrumental motivation means the language uses as a tool or instrument that allows one to achieve a goal for some reason. Thirdly, the intrinsic motivation, which means the learning motivation, comes from within. The last is the extrinsic motivation. For this, one is motivated to learn any other language as someone else can penalise or reward for it. Intrinsic motivation is the reason for long-term success, extrinsic motivation related to short-term gain (Salazar-Campillo, 2015).
Motivation is the composite form of three elements of desire, effort and affect. Desire illustrates how much a learner wanted to be proficient in the language. Effort indicates to time that spent by the learner to study. And affects refers to the emotional reactions of the learner regarding the study of the language (Hinkel, 2011).
The eminent researcher in the field of motivation is Robert Gardner, who has been working on the topic since 1970s. Gardner developed his socio-educational model from time to time and examined motivation from the integrative and instrumental perspective. Integrative motivation includes the desire to integrate one person into the target culture by adapting the parts of it into one’s identity. Its example is that students of Taiwan use their English name wherever they can. Instrumental motivation described as desiring rewards by which action can be taken, for example, increasing rate in job opportunities and meeting requirements to the graduates. (Gardner, 2005)
Mao implemented the research on motivation of second language and its application in reading class of the high school senior division to understand consequence of motivation on studying. He has collected data and concluded that the integrative and instrumental motivation together can influence on the improvement of the reading class. English teachers can take initiative to awaken students’ motivation by effective application in the reading class, and can assist the students to develop their integrative motivation in approaching the English learning. (Mao, 2011)
There are many theories regarding the motivation. One of them is Self-Determination Theory (SDT) proposed by Deci and Ryan. This theory based on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Tasks considered as fun, interesting or enjoyable are intrinsic motivation. The tasks done for useful purposes, even if are not interesting, considered as extrinsic motivation. This theory later modified by Ryan and Deci (Csizér, et al. 2015).
The second motivational theory proposed by Eccles and Wigfield is Expectancy-Value theory. They suggested that the four components of motivation are the attainment value, the intrinsic value, the extrinsic utility value and the cost. The attainment value described as perception of individual about the importance of the task. The intrinsic value means happiness, what one enjoys at the time of completing the task. The extrinsic value is anticipated usefulness of a completed task relating to goals of future of the individual. Cost described as recognised negative consequences of completing a task, including financial, emotional and physical cost (Jafari, 2013).
The Self-Determination Theory and the Expectancy-Value Theory examined within a general environment of education. The socio-educational model always examined within a second language acquisition environment. English still is not considered as the second language in Taiwan, but a foreign language. The development of socio-educational model specifically based on the context of acquisition of second/foreign language and not in a general setting as adopted for the development of the two theories. Though English is not the second language of Taiwan, still the students of Taiwan have the opportunity to interact with English culture and language. Motivation is the socio-educational model and a complex phenomenon that offers a holistic approach. Thirdly, the AMTB used in some studies around the world that is found to be reliable, useful and relevant to identifying the components of learner motivation as well as the impact of motivation on learning outcomes (Gardner, 2001).
The basic fundamental of putting English as a main language is to give a broader view of the people a global aspect. The skeleton structure of this was made keeping in mind the attitudes of the puipil towards learning English as the second language in comparison to the other languages provided in the syllabus. By keeping the feedbacks of the students learning the language by calculating the motivation given to them. Adding up to it is the maiontaining the value of customs and beliefs and then learning the subject and the importanvce of it in their eyes along with the consent of their parents. The perception or concept of the the guardians of the students, teachers and their fellow classmates on this particular sector.
As per the assessment of the students and their verdict over the foreign language which was taught to them. The students were to give feedback on the scale of 5 and most of them were said that they did not like the language. On the scale of ranging from “stringly disagree” to “strongly agree” the first two sections did not like the subject.
The five-point response scale concerning how many students liked the subject, resulting in a 16.1% of the puipils like the English subject as per the report given, 37% of the puipil liked English as a subject a little 33.3% of the puipil neither disliked nor did they like the subject, 9% of the puipil disliked it a little and 3.8% of the puipil completely disliked English as a language. The report thus drawn from the feedbacks of the students was slightly satisfying than it was expected.
Foreign Language Learning Strategies
Learning strategies are exclusive behaviours or thoughts by which individuals help them to learn, retain or comprehend new information (O'Malley and Chamot, 1990), and the procedures, which facilitate the learning at the novice stage (Chamot, 2005). Learners are assisted by the learning strategies to achieve their goals by taking the conscious actions, such as the students of Taiwan use to memorise what exactly their teachers teach them. Language learning strategies must be problem-oriented, should encourage the learners to become self-directed, and involve the learner more than his/her cognition. In addition, it must help learner to integrate and organise the new knowledge. The learning strategies may have an effect on the motivational state of the student. Taiwanese students became accustomed with the authoritarian teaching modes, so the strategies seem to be strange for them (Plonsky, 2011).
An instrument, that measures the use of the learning strategies is Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). SILL consists of six types of strategies, these are cognitive, mnemonics, mega-cognitive, affective, compensation and social. Cognitive strategies include the interactions of the learner and how he processes the new information, for example, repeating new words, searching for patterns and practicing. By mnemonics strategies, one concern adopting the different path to remember like using semantic maps and pictures. Meta-cognitive strategies engage the plan to practice and improve target language, for example, seek the native speakers and engage them in language exchange. Affective strategies involve management of one’s own emotions, for example, positive self-talk and relaxing. By compensation strategies, one deploy different modes to communicate when one found unknown gaps in target language. Social strategies involve interaction with others, for example, asking the questions and practicing with other students.
Proposed Research Method
There is studies to examine the relationships between three selected factors, i.e. foreign language motivation, foreign language learning strategies and foreign language anxiety. To research the educational phenomena, various methods may be used. Ary, Jacobs, Razavieh, and Sorensen (2010) explain the qualitative research methods as examining the setting in connection with context not attempting to predict the future by producing a rich account of the events. Quantitative research methods, attempting to predict the future by determining dependant factors associated with the phenomenon under examination by testing the relationships. After analysis, the conclusion would be formed by the deductive reasoning and would be dictated by statistical analysis of the results (Ary, et al. 2010).
This study also examines the relationships between various factors as foreign language motivation, foreign language learning strategies and foreign language anxiety learning the second language. These factors try to predict the factor which collectively or individually influenced the achievements to learn the foreign language. The three basic instruments that have been used in the present study is extensively tested, developed and implemented in various situations of language learning program. These instruments are found to be highly reliable and fit for the purpose. So, quantitative research methodology deploying established the survey instruments used for this study appropriately.
In order to analyse the data adequately, various procedures will be implemented to set up the reliability and validity. The second set of data analysis procedures which will run, will be the descriptive analysis that shows the profile of the sample used. The information which is shown will be the medium, frequency distribution and standard deviation of the gender, age, study major and the number of years of English learning of the participant. Also the demographics descriptive analysis, the procedures will be run only to show the median level of anxiety of the participants, use of strategies of language learning, motivation by which one can learn a second or foreign language and the achievement of the foreign language at a particular point of time when the data collection will be taken. The independent factors have their own sub-scales and they will also include in descriptive analysis (Chang and Liu, 2013).
The sub-scales of independent factors will be compared with the other independent factors for any statistically significant relationship. For example, the FLCAS has three sub-scales namely communication apprehension, test anxiety and fear of negative evaluation. There are four sub-scales of the AMTB, i.e. attitudes toward the learning situation, integrativeness, instrumental orientation and motivation. The six sub-scales of the SILL are mnemonics, cognitive, compensation, metacognitive, affective and social. These all sub-scales will be completed against each other. Each of the sub-scales of individual factors and achievement of foreign language will be compared with the final Pearson’s correlation coefficient (Wigfield and Eccles, 2002).
By inferential statistical procedures, they will test the impact and predictive nature of independent variables on the dependant, that being the foreign language achievement. The set of inferential statistical procedures to be run are multiple regression analysis. There are two parts which have to be completed. The first type multiple regression analysis uses the ‘enter’ method with the collinearity diagnostics included. Factor that shows any value of more than 10 in the variance inflation factor (VIF) that will be removed. This will show the impact that each of the independent variables will have on the dependent variable. The impact of anxiety in foreign language, and/or foreign language learning strategies, and/or motivation to learn a foreign language will have on the foreign language achievement. The second multiple regression analysis to be run will be using the “the stepwise” method (Lepp-Kaethler and Dörnyei, 2013).
Why this study is important
English is taught as the second or foreign language throughout the Taiwanese education system, yet Taiwan has slipped its position in the world rankings. The gestures of teaching English in the classroom are the combination of many factors. Previously, the researches focus on specialised areas which helped gaining an insight into a part of the psychology of the language learners’. The areas discussed above are the motivation learning a second or foreign language, anxiety in the foreign language classroom and language learning strategies. Individually, the researchers were guided by these factors over the years. But these instruments and factors have been proven measures. It is time to combine these factors together and seek to reveal more of the holistic picture of foreign language acquisition (Mitchell, et al. 2013).
The acquisition of foreign or second language is a complex process involving a lot of factors. These include some personality factors specially non-intelligence factors, like the motivation, character, attitude, etc. The most significant factor among all the factors is motivation, which is the solution of learning (Dahmardeh and Hunt, 2012). When we examine the success of the learning of the second language, we found that motivation plays a vital variable (Mao, 2011). The best step to facilitate learning of a second language is to inform the learners about the requirements of motivation in the learning. Motivation for every student is different, as students with different characteristics should have different kinds of motivation to motivate themselves. With classroom motivation trainings, students will become more motivated. Both the teachers and students knew that more emphasis should be placed on other skills incorporating interesting life relating materials of their university courses, writing and their later professions. The teachers may help to motivate the students by involving them in choosing material for the class. Teachers also have the responsibility not to focus on the accuracy in language, but to see whether the students are sharing their ideas with each other. Teachers may engage students to set their own goals for learning the language as well as providing the activities, which allow to use the language for practical and academic purposes in and outside the class. Motivating the students to learn the second language must be the priority as it is to make them understand that by learning, they will be successful in academic and professional lives. Besides the factors which influence the motivation of the students, teachers must consider some other factors as per the classroom environment, aptitude of student, course goals, and so on.
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