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Tatjana Stamenkovska Faculty of Education and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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Csaba Kálmán Department of English Applied Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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János Gordon Győri Institute of Intercultural Psychology and Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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Abstract

While the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) (Dörnyei, 2005, 2019) has been researched extensively in the Hungarian context, it has not been used to test international students' motivational dispositions towards learning foreign languages. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to report a study that aimed to test the L2MSS on 34 international students who learned Hungarian or English as a foreign language (EFL) during their studies in Hungary. The pilot questionnaire contained nine scales adapted from Taguchi, Magid, and Papi (2009). Besides the ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self, the scales measured other influential learning and environmental impacts that exert their influence on the L2 learning experience, the third constituent of the model, with a view to better understanding what motivates international students to learn foreign languages. The findings of the pilot revealed that the adapted instrument worked in the Hungarian context and that international learners' motivational dispositions were mostly affected by learners' attitudes towards the foreign language community. Linear regression analysis revealed that the participants' motivated learning behavior could be predicted by their intrinsic and instrumental motivation. Significant differences were found between male and female respondents regarding their L2 ought-to selves and instrumental motivation. Besides explaining the attitudes that the learners have towards the foreign language community, the findings can be utilized to further enhance learners' motivation once the results are fed back to the community of professionals teaching similar students.

Abstract

While the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) (Dörnyei, 2005, 2019) has been researched extensively in the Hungarian context, it has not been used to test international students' motivational dispositions towards learning foreign languages. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to report a study that aimed to test the L2MSS on 34 international students who learned Hungarian or English as a foreign language (EFL) during their studies in Hungary. The pilot questionnaire contained nine scales adapted from Taguchi, Magid, and Papi (2009). Besides the ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self, the scales measured other influential learning and environmental impacts that exert their influence on the L2 learning experience, the third constituent of the model, with a view to better understanding what motivates international students to learn foreign languages. The findings of the pilot revealed that the adapted instrument worked in the Hungarian context and that international learners' motivational dispositions were mostly affected by learners' attitudes towards the foreign language community. Linear regression analysis revealed that the participants' motivated learning behavior could be predicted by their intrinsic and instrumental motivation. Significant differences were found between male and female respondents regarding their L2 ought-to selves and instrumental motivation. Besides explaining the attitudes that the learners have towards the foreign language community, the findings can be utilized to further enhance learners' motivation once the results are fed back to the community of professionals teaching similar students.

Introduction

Motivation is an important factor in achieving success in any challenging activity, including foreign language learning. It plays a crucial role together with the learner's aptitude, intelligence, and attitudes to second language (L2) or foreign language (FL) learning (Alizadeh, 2016; Schunk, Meece, & Pintrich, 2014). There is a general consensus that motivation is so pivotal in language learning that it may even override the effects of other traditionally essential individual characteristics and may compensate for deficiencies in cognitive abilities (Crookes & Schmidt, 1991; Gardner & Lambert, 1972; Sternberg, 2002). Researching motivation in foreign language learning is a “complex and multi-faceted task” (Bower, 2019, p. 558), and during the past decades of L2 motivation research, multiple theories have been conceptualized to describe it. One of the most influential models of 21st century L2 motivation research - the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) - was proposed by Dörnyei (2005). The L2MSS considers the “impact of identity on the effort put into language learning” (Csizér, 2019, p. 71). Dörnyei (2005, 2019) created a shift in the theoretical understanding of second and foreign language (L2 and FL) learning with this proposed model and put the self in focus. He drew on Markus and Nurius' (1986) theory of possible selves and Higgins' (1987) self-discrepancy theory. According to the L2MSS, L2 motivation can be defined by the cumulative motivational effect of the learner's ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience. The model has been tested extensively to be validated empirically and to provide practical implications (Csizér, 2019). By 2015, it had dominated the field of L2 motivation research (Boo, Dörnyei, & Ryan, 2015). While studies testing or working with the L2MSS abound on an international scale (Csizér, 2020) and in the Hungarian context as well (e.g., Kormos & Csizér, 2008), it has been less extensively tested on international students learning Hungarian or English in Hungary, in spite of the fact that the number of international students who are third-country nationals in Hungary was 9% for 2017 (European Migration Network, 2019). This research niche provided the inspiration to conduct this pilot study in order to map international students' motivational disposition in the Hungarian context with the help of the L2MSS and other constructs (i.e., integrativeness, cultural interest, attitudes to the L2 community, and motivated learning behavior as a criterion measure) that had originally been developed by Dörnyei, Csizér, and Németh (2006a, 2006b). The 34 participants of the pilot were international students who had learned Hungarian or English as a foreign language in any formal (e.g., language course) or informal context (e.g., online language tutorials) during their studies in Hungary. The findings of the study, besides explaining the attitudes that the learners have toward the foreign language community, can be useful for professionals teaching in similar contexts in enhancing their students' motivation.

Literature review

The L2 Motivational Self System

The L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS), conceptualized by Dörnyei (2005), was inspired by the work of Markus and Nurius (1986) and Higgins's self-discrepancy theory (1987) about possible and ideal selves. As Dörnyei (2005, p. 94) claims, “classic concepts of integrativeness and integrative motivation need to be reinterpreted.” In order to reduce the gap between the learner's actual and ideal selves, he presented the ideal L2 self, which he described as “the L2-specific facet of one's ideal self” (Dörnyei, 2005, p. 105). These future self-images, first described by Markus and Nurius (1986), were not simple abstract notions but included the person's mental imagery to visualize the future in a vivid way, which created the ideal self-image (Dörnyei, 2019). These aspirations make the ideal L2 self uniquely internalized in its own way for each person. The second dimension in this model is the ought-to L2 self, which Dörnyei defines as “attributes that one believes one ought to possess (i.e., various duties, obligations, or responsibilities) in order to avoid possible negative outcomes” (Dörnyei, 2005, pp. 105–106). As Kim (2009) explains, in comparison with the ideal-self, the ought-to self is much less internalized, as it reflects the demands from the other community members towards the learner. In this way, there can be even cases of tension between the learner and the community members. The third constituent of the model is the L2 learning experience, which relates to the situated motives towards the actual learning environment and the attitudes that the learner has towards the classroom procedures (Dörnyei, 2005, 2019). The importance of the L2 learning experience was highlighted by several researchers (e.g., Csizér & Kálmán, 2019; Lamb, 2012; MacIntyre & Serroul, 2015; Olsen, 2017; Ushioda, 2009), especially in cases when the learners are demotivated (Kim, 2009).

Later, Dörnyei (2019) described the ideal and ought-to L2 selves as future self-guides, in accordance with the motivational capacity of the learner. Dörnyei (2019) explains the difference between future selves and future goals. In his words, future selves were defined as “self-states that people experience as reality” (Dörnyei, 2019, p.16), while he defined future goals as future-oriented self-guides. Furthermore, he included the role of imagination and imagery as a central motivational element that influences the learner's possible selves, depending on how vivid a future self-image the learner possesses.

The first scales, which measured the ideal and ought-to L2 selves, were developed by Ryan (2008) in his initial pilot study. In order to confirm the validity of the scales, Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficients were calculated, which at the time were 0.80 for the ideal L2 self and 0.68 for the ought-to self. After this study, the model was further developed and presented in various other studies around the world, which were gathered in an anthology edited by Dörnyei and Ushioda (2009). In this same anthology, we can find Taguchi, Magid and Papi's (2009) study. A comparative study on the validity of the L2MSS in different national contexts found that cross-cultural differences influence attitudes towards the L2 culture and community, as well as instrumentality-promotion, associated with the ideal L2 self. In the Japanese model, the influence of attitudes to L2 culture and community on the ideal L2 self was almost twice as strong as from instrumentality-promotion. On the other hand, in the data from the Chinese and Iranian participants, the contribution of these two aspects was almost the same. In addition, the reported ideal L2 self was another cross-cultural difference between Japan, China, and Iran. In China, the learning attitudes had a lower influence than in Japan and Iran.

Use of the L2MSS for English and languages other than English (LOTE) in the international context

The L2MSS has proved to be a popular and applicable model since its conception and has been used in a great number of international studies in various contexts around the world (see, e.g., Gu & Cheung, 2016; Henkel, 2010; Henry, 2010, 2011; Martinovic, 2018; Taguchi et al., 2009; Subekti, 2018; Thompson, 2017; Yang & Kim, 2011). This led to enough data for a meta-analysis conducted by Al-Hoorie (2018). The meta-analysis revealed that the three components of this model (ideal L2 self rs = 0.61, ought-to self rs = 0.38, and the L2 learning experience rs = 41) significantly relate to the criterion variable of subjective intended effort.

In the Indonesian context, Azarnoosh and Birjandi (2012) found that the ideal L2 self and intended effort were higher for females than males, while males had a higher ought-to L2 self. A study by Busse and Walter (2013, p. 443) in the United Kingdom, which lasted for a year, came to an interesting finding: throughout the year, “the decline in intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy beliefs” correspond with descending levels in students' motivated learning behavior, without any differences in their desired efforts. The L2MSS model was also used in the United States, with American students enrolled in French courses in the form of motivation workshops in order to further develop the participants' vision of their ideal L2 selves (Butler, 2016).

Also, the attitudes towards the L2 community play an important role in L2 motivation (Dörnyei, 2019; Lamb, 2019) and shape the learning process (Gardner, 1985, 2006, 2019). According to Gardner (1985), attitudes toward the L2 community, together with the integrative orientation and interest in foreign languages, compose the concept of integrativeness. However, Csizér (2020) emphasized the need to make a clear distinction between cognitive attitudes and emotions. Moreover, she suggests mapping the different kinds of attitudes inherent in L2 motivation (Csizér, 2020). Knowing this clear distinction, it is important to understand the true meaning of integrativeness, which resulted in confusing interpretations and criticism among scholars (Dörnyei, 1994, 2005, 2019; Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011; Dörnyei et al., 2006a, 2006b). In order to clarify this confusion, Gardner (2005, p. 7) made the following statement: “We never meant integrativeness (or integrative orientation, or integrative motive) to mean one wanted to become a member of the other cultural community, but rather an individual's openness to taking on characteristics of another cultural/linguistic group.”

Use of the L2MSS for English and LOTE in the Hungarian context

The foundations on which the L2 Motivational Self System was built were used for the first time in a longitudinal L2 motivation survey, which included over 13,000 language learners in Hungary. These data were collected in three periods between 1993 and 2004 (Dörnyei et al., 2006a, 2006b). The findings suggest that language learners in Hungary show high levels of integrativeness, which is very similar to Gardner and his colleagues' (1985) findings. It is hypothesized that although Hungary is an essentially monolingual country (Csizér, 2019), unlike Canada, which is multilingual, language learners in both countries may also want to identify themselves with the values and knowledge the L2 offers to them (Dörnyei & Csizér, 2002).

In Hungary and Sweden, the L2MSS model was tested on students who learn more than one foreign language (Csizér & Lukács, 2010; Henry, 2010, 2011, 2014a; Henry & Cliffordson, 2013). The results of Henry and Cliffordson's study (2013) showed gender-related variance on a measure of the L3 ideal language-speaking scale. It was also found that the preferred order for learning foreign languages influenced the motivated behavior of the ideal L2 self (Csizér & Lukács, 2010). Henry (2014a, 2014b, p. 1) recommended the need to develop L3 pedagogies which would take into consideration the “cognitive and affective individual difference factors” and, in this way, prepare learners to be aware of the negative effects on the motivation for learning the L3 that cross-referencing with the L2 can bring about.

In more recent research done on LOTE, using the L2MSS framework as an investigative instrument, various results can be found. For example, in his research among international students who study Hungarian for academic purposes in Pécs, Hungary, Krommer (2019) concluded that the relationship between language learning motivation and immersion in the local environment is at a very low level when it comes to the Hungarian language. On the other hand, Zhang's (2018) results suggest that the motivation of Chinese students learning Hungarian in Hungary has shown positive attitudes toward the L2 community, which the author interprets as an attempt to improve the quality of the participants' everyday lives. Therefore, apart from the constructs of the L2MSS, the concepts of instrumentality and integrativeness may also play a crucial role in the motivational disposition of students studying abroad.

Significant others

Williams and Burden (1997, p. 121) produced a summary of L2 motivational components which emphasized the role of contextual influences, including that of the teacher: “An individual's motivation is also subject to social and contextual influences. These will include the whole culture and context and the social situation, significant other people and the individual's interaction with these people”. They categorized motivational factors as learner-internal (including intrinsic interest, the perceived value of activity, mastery, self-concept) and external (significant individuals, interaction with significant individuals, the learning environment, and the broader context).

This notion is also described by Feuerstein and Falik (2010), who claim that human beings are modifiable creatures susceptible to changes that may come from significant others in their lives, such as parents, teachers, caretakers, supporting professionals, and institutional decision-makers. These external influences affect people's cognitive and affective motives, and, in this way, they adopt them as their own goals, which they want to achieve. All these external self-dynamics have a direct influence on the way and effort of the learners in the learning process. Depending on the intensity of this effort, different types of outcomes can be foreseen, ranging from linguistic proficiency and communicative competencies to non-linguistic outcomes, such as sociocultural knowledge, contact with the language community group, and psychological well-being (Noels et al., 2019).

Research method

In order to find answers to our research objectives above, four research questions were formulated:

Are the Taguchi et al. (2009) scales measuring motivational disposition reliable in the Hungarian context?

What characterizes the motivational disposition of international students learning Hungarian and English in Hungary?

What characterizes the relationships between the scales measuring learners' motivational dispositions?

What kind of significant differences are there between the participants concerning their age, gender, and the language learned?

Context

The research goal of this study was to investigate the motivational disposition of international students who were learning English or Hungarian as a foreign language on a voluntary basis or as part of their study program in any formal or informal way(s) while they were doing their studies in Hungary. We focused on these languages because they are the ones that are mostly used during international students' stay in Hungary. Most international students' study in English, and Hungarian is the official language of the host country. For the purpose of the investigation, the quantitative research paradigm was chosen as a research method, as we wanted to test previously validated constructs on a particular sub-population of EFL and LOTE learners.

Participants

The participants in this research were international students from all over Hungary who had an active student status at the moment of the data collection during April and March 2020. As for the default pilot sample size, at least 30 participants are recommended (Perneger, Courvoisier, Hudelson, & Gayet-Ageron, 2015); 34 participants took part in our pilot study, out of whom 10 were males and 24 females at the master's level of their studies. As reported by the participants, 19 of them were learning the Hungarian language, and 15 were the English language.

As regards the participants' self-reported proficiency, based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001, p. 32), for the Hungarian language, out of 19 participants, 16 claimed that they were basic users (A1.1, A1.2, A2.1, A2.2); two participants were intermediate users (B.1.1, B1.2, B2.1, B2.2); and only one participant was a proficient user (C1.1, C1.2) of the language. As for the English language, out of the 15 participants, 13 were proficient users (C1.1, C1.2); and two participants were intermediate users (B1.1, B1.2, B2.1, B2.2).

As far as the age of the participants is concerned, out of the 34 participants, 18 participants reported that they were in the age range between 25 and 30, nine participants were over 30 years old, and seven participants were in the age range between 18 and 25. Based on the study programs for international students offered by Hungarian universities, we decided to group the study fields into three main groups - 23 participants studied humanities and social science, seven participants studied natural sciences, and four participants studied formal sciences. The students' average length of stay in Hungary ranged from six months to four years.

Instrument

The questionnaire included two parts, presented in English. The first 15 questions were related to the participants' age, gender, education, and language learning background. In the second part of the questionnaire, we decided to adapt further the instrument validated by Taguchi et al. (2009), which had originally been developed by Dörnyei et al. (2006a, 2006b), Dörnyei and Ushioda (2009) in order to assess a broader view of foreign language learning motivation among the students than the three major components proposed by Dörnyei (2005). The questionnaire, which was adapted for this study and presented to the international students, contained the following nine scales with a total of 66 items (see below). Participants had to indicate on a Likert scale from 1 to 6 to what extent they agreed with the statements expressed in the items, with 1 meaning strongly disagree; 2 disagree; 3 slightly disagree; 4 slightly agree; 5 agree; 6 strongly agree. This six-point motivational scale was adapted from Taguchi, Magid and Papi's (2009) questionnaire.

  1. Motivated learning behavior (a criterion measure scale) (7 items): we measured the participants' actual effort in learning the language. Example: I am working hard at learning this foreign language.

  2. Ideal L2 self (10 items): we measured the participants' ideal image of themselves and whom they wish to become in the future. Example: I can imagine myself writing in this foreign language e-mails fluently.

  3. Ought-to L2 self (8 items): we measured the effect of various duties, obligations, or responsibilities the participants believed they had towards their surroundings in order to avoid possible negative outcomes. Example: I learn this foreign language because close friends of mine think it is important.

  4. Family influence (11 items): we measured the importance of parental and close family attitudes and influences that the participants exhibited in learning the foreign language. Example: My parents encouraged me to learn this foreign language.

  5. Instrumentality (13): we covered personal pragmatic goals, such as finding a job or earning money that the participants might wish to achieve by learning a foreign language. Example: Learning this foreign language can be important to me because I think it will someday be useful in getting a good job.

  6. Intrinsic motivation (6): we measured the motivational influence of joy the participants experienced while learning the foreign language. Example: Do you think time passes faster while learning this foreign language?

  7. Attitudes towards the L2 community (4): we measured the attitudes the participants had towards the foreign language community. Example: Would you like to know more about the people from this foreign language speaking country(ies)?

  8. Cultural interest (4): we measured the expressed interest the participants had in the foreign language culture, like TV, magazines, music, and movies. Example: Do you like films in this foreign language?

  9. Integrativeness (3): we measured the attitude the participants had towards the foreign language, its culture, and the native speakers of that language. Example: How important do you think learning this foreign language is in order to learn more about the culture and art of its speakers?

Procedures

First, Taguchi, Magid and Papi's (2009) ten scales were analyzed in written form as part of a pre-pilot study with the participation of 20 conveniently chosen international students from our close environment who agreed to help us in our research. After the students had filled in the paper version of the pre-pilot questionnaire, a think-aloud discussion was held with them about the structure of the instrument and the clarity of each of the questions. In the pre-pilot phase, we came across missing responses for the instrumentality (prevention) scale, as the questions from this scale did not apply to all of the participants. As a result, we decided to remove this scale from the main pilot study. Subsequently, the pilot study was launched online with the help of Qualtrics with a mixture of simple random and convenience sampling approaches.

The survey got distributed to the students through various social media channels, including Facebook and WhatsApp. Furthermore, some of the study program coordinators and language teachers at different universities in Hungary and private language schools sent the survey link to their international students. The participants gave their electronic consent to participate in this online survey on a voluntary basis. The process for collecting the pilot study started in March and lasted until April 2020. The 34 filled questionnaires were analyzed with the help of IBM SPSS 25 statistics software.

Results and discussion

The results and discussion section is divided into four main parts. In the first part, Cronbach's α reliability coefficients are presented, the second part contains the comparative analysis of the scales, the third part presents the relationships between the scales, and in the final part, we check what kind of significant differences existed between the participants based on their genders and the languages (English/Hungarian) learned.

In order to answer RQ1 (Are the scales measuring motivational disposition reliable in the Hungarian context?) Cronbach's alpha internal consistency reliability coefficients were calculated. All the scales showed favorable Cronbach's Alpha values well over the recommended 0.70 value (Dörnyei, 2007) (Table 1), which led us to believe that the scales worked on this sub-population of the Hungarian context as they proved to be reliable.

Table 1.

Reliability coefficients of the scales

Construct Cronbach's α
Attitudes towards the community 0.86
Cultural interest 0.94
Family influence 0.91
Ideal Self 0.94
Intrinsic motivation 0.90
Instrumentality (promotion) 0.95
Ought-to 0.88
Integrativeness 0.76
Motivated learning behavior* 0.89

Comparative analysis of the scales

The second research question (What characterizes the motivational disposition of international students learning foreign languages in Hungary?) was answered with the help of descriptive statistics for the scales, their mean values, and standard deviation values (Table 2). Afterward, paired-samples t-test procedures were conducted in order to determine whether the differences between the mean values of the scales were significant or not.

Table 2.

Descriptive statistics of the motivational scales and the criterion measure scale*

Construct Mean Value Standard deviation
Attitudes towards the L2 community 4.77 1.01
Intrinsic motivation 4.30 1.20
Ideal L2 self 4.27 1.43
Instrumentality 4.14 1.37
Integrativeness 4.12 1.11
Cultural interest 3.93 1.68
Ought-to L2 self 2.62 1.16
Family influence 2.44 1.14
Motivated learning behavior* 3.81 1.16

Note. The lines indicate significant differences between the scales above and below the lines based on paired t-test procedures.

The dimension with the highest mean value turned out to be attitudes towards the L2 community (4.77), which according to Dörnyei (2019, p. 26), together with instrumentality, represent “immediate antecedents of integrativeness.” Furthermore, Dörnyei (2019) considers this component to be closely connected with the idealized L2-speaking self because it is difficult for the learners to develop their ideal L2 self if they do not have positive attitudes towards the L2 community.

The strong connection between the positive attitudes towards L2 speakers, culture, and the ideal self was found in a few other studies around the world (e.g., Gao & Lv, 2018; Lv, Gao, & Teo, 2017; McEown, Noels, & Saumure, 2014). For example, Sugita, Mceown, Sawaki & Harada (2017), in their study among Japanese LOTEs' learners, found a moderate to strong prediction emerging from the integrative orientation for LOTE in the direction toward LOTEs' intrinsic motivation and ideal LOTE self. Based on these findings, the authors argue that when people learn LOTE in order to develop positive feelings towards the LOTE community and experience intercultural contact, they also experience other positive feelings like happiness, fun, and enjoyment in learning LOTE. At the same time, this helps them build a strong future LOTE image of themselves. Later on, we will provide a more detailed analysis of our data regarding this result when the significant differences between the students learning the two languages are presented (see Table 7).

The second strongest group of constructs included: intrinsic motivation (4.30), the ideal L2 self (4.27), and instrumentality (4.14). Here we can draw the conclusion that these three variables equally motivated the international students independent of the foreign language learning, as the t-test procedures have shown that there is no significant difference between these scales. Also, the standard variation coefficients of the three values are relatively close to each other (1.20, 1.43, and 1.37), which further confirms this statement.

Intrinsic motivation as a strong motivating factor was found in a few other studies which focused on students learning foreign languages (Busse & Walter, 2013; Schmidt, 2014). For example, Stolte (2015) found that enjoyment was the main motivating factor for students who decided to continue learning German. Even more, some of the interviewed students in this study, besides the strong intrinsic motivation, showed certain levels of instrumental motivation, which was mostly connected to their career, and saw the foreign language as a way to develop their ideal selves further.

Integrativeness (4.12), in combination with cultural interest (3.93), ended up in the third band. This finding corresponds with Dörnyei and Csizér's (2002) results, as they hypothesized that integrativeness might not only refer to the actual intention of the learners to integrate into the L2 community but also to identify with the values the knowledge the L2 could bring them (Csizér, 2019). Keeping in mind that the attitudes towards the community yielded the highest value, and the second strongest construct was intrinsic motivation, we assume that the international students have positive attitudes towards the community, in which they happen to be learning the foreign language, and at the same time, they feel intrinsic enjoyment and interest in learning the language.

The last fourth group included the ought-to L2 self (2.62) and family influence (2.44). We believe that the low scores on these scales are a result of the fact that international students (except for medical students learning Hungarian) were learning the Hungarian or English language on a voluntary basis; therefore, they did not feel any pressure from their families, or any other obligations, responsibilities, or duties to learn the foreign language. It is also possible that university students might not want to meet anyone's expectations to the extent that younger language learners do.

Relationships between the scales

Correlational analysis

In response to RQ3 (i.e., What kind of (correlations and regression) relationships are between the scales measuring learners' motivational dispositions?), correlational and regression analyses were conducted. Significant correlations between the motivational scales are presented in Table 3.

Table 3.

Significant correlations between the motivational scales (P < 0.01)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Ideal L2 self - 0.766 0.634 0.735
2. L2 Ought-to self - 0.680 0.570 0.461
3. Family influence - 0.508
4. Instrumentality - 0.576 0.758 0.515
5. Insistric motivation - 0.668 0.630 0.729
6. Cultural interest - 0.487 0.651
7. Attitudes towards the community - 0.684
8. Integrativeness -

The strongest correlation can be observed between the ideal L2 self and instrumentality. This means that those students who are motivated by their ideal L2 selves are similarly motivated by instrumentality. The interpretation of this finding may lie in the fact that instrumental motivation drives the learners' interest in learning the foreign language because of pragmatic and utilitarian benefits, like finding a job or earning a good salary (Dörnyei, 2019), and it represents a tool in achieving their ideal L2 selves.

The second strongest correlation appeared between instrumentality and cultural interest. Also, here, the learners try to use the foreign language as an instrument in their hands in order to affiliate themselves with the target language culture in which they happen to be learning the foreign language. In other words, they might believe that instrumental benefits may be achieved through identification with the cultural norms of the target language community.

The third highest correlation is between the ideal L2 self and cultural interest. This result might be interpreted in a way that the students might visualize their ideal selves by identifying with the norms of the target language community, which manifested in their cultural interests. Apart from calculating correlations between the different motivational scales, we were also curious to find out how each of these scales correlated with the criterion measure scale of motivated learning behavior. The results can be seen in Table 4.

Table 4.

Significant correlations between the motivational scales and the criterion measure scale (P < 0.01)

Motivated learning behavior
1. Intrinsic motivation 0.710
2. Instrumental motivation 0.687
3. Ideal L2 self 0.660

Motivated learning behavior exhibited the strongest correlation with intrinsic motivation (0.710), instrumental motivation (0.687), and the ideal L2 self (0.660), with very similar values. In our understanding, these findings suggest that if the participants' general L2 motivation is high, their intrinsic and instrumental motivations are equally high, and they are likely to be motivated by their ideal L2 selves to a very similar extent. It seems that the extent of motivated learning behavior goes hand in hand with intrinsic, instrumental, and Ideal L2 self-motivation in this context.

Linear regression analysis

With the help of linear regression analysis, we determined causality and analyzed which of the nine scales exerted the strongest influence on the motivated learning behavior of the participants. The results are presented in Table 5.

Table 5.

Results of regression analysis of the motivational scales with motivated learning behavior as the criterion variable (P < 0.01)

Variable β t P
1. Intrinsic motivation 0.471 3.47 <0.001
2. Instrumental motivation 0.415 3.06 <0.001
R 2 0.62

As can be observed in the data in Table 5, the variables of intrinsic motivation and instrumental motivation can explain 62% of the proportion of variance in motivated learning behavior. In this model, the beta value pertinent to intrinsic motivation (0.471) is slightly higher than that of instrumental motivation (0.415), which indicates that the joy learners derive from learning the L2 is slightly more determining in the general motivation towards learning the L2 than the practical benefits learning the L2 brings about.

Significant differences between the participants

Finally, in order to answer RQ4 (What kind of significant differences are there between the participants in what gender is concerned?), we ran independent samples t-tests to find out if there were any significant differences between the answers of male and female participants, as well as between learners of the two foreign languages, English and Hungarian. In this way, we wanted to check if there were any significant differences between the two genders. These results can be more informative in personalizing motivating strategies for male or female-dominated university cohorts. Table 6 shows the significant differences between the male and female participants.

Table 6.

Significant differences between male and female participants (P < 0.05)

Scales Males Females t and P
M SD M SD
Ought-to L2 self 3.41 1.11 2.30 1.04 2.82 0.008
Instrumentality  4.78 0.71 3.88 1.51 2.36 0.025

As can be seen in Table 6, the male learners exhibited a higher level of Ought-to L2 Self than the female learners. This finding might be indicative of the fact that the male participants are more motivated to meet expectations and avoid possible negative outcomes. Another dimension where there was a significant difference between males and females was the construct of instrumentality, which means that the male learners get more motivated by the instrumental benefits that learning the foreign language brings to them than their female counterparts, which makes them more pragmatic and utilitarian learners. Further studies would be necessary to explore the underlying reasons for these findings.

We also wanted to know what significant differences there were between the international students who were learning English and Hungarian. Out of the nine scales investigated, we found that there was a significant difference between Hungarian and English language learners' answers in the dimensions of cultural interest, family influence, ideal self, instrumentality, the ought-to L2 self, and motivated learning behavior. The results are presented in Table 7.

Table 7.

Significant differences between the English and Hungarian language learners (P < 0.05)

Scales English Hungarian t and p
M SD M SD
Cultural interest 5.30 0.76 2.85 1.40 6.05 <0.001
Family influence 3.17 1.13 1.87 0.790 3.95 <0.001
Ideal L2 self 5.16 0.955 3.57 1.37 3.80 <0.001
Instrumentality 5.13 0.633 3.36 1.30 4.83 <0.001
Ought-to L2 self 3.19 0.940 2.17 1.14 2.79 0.009
Motivated learning behavior* 4.25 0.991 3.46 1.19 2.06 0.047

All the dimensions with significant differences based on the language learned yielded higher values in the case of the English language. These results are not surprising if we consider the popularity of the English language around the globe (e.g., Al-Tamimi & Shuib, 2009; Muftah & Rafik-Galea, 2013; Shell & Lynch, 2018; Suryasa, Prayoga, & Werdistira, 2017).

Conclusion

This study provided answers to the four research questions related to the motivational disposition of international students learning English and Hungarian in Hungary. The first research question was to find out whether the adapted scales were reliable in the Hungarian context. This aim was successfully fulfilled as all the questionnaire scales provided favorable Cronbach's Alpha values. In order to answer the second research question, we investigated the participants' motivational dispositions for learning foreign languages in Hungary with the help of descriptive statistics for the scales. Here we grouped the influence of the scales in four bands based on paired samples T-test procedures. Attitudes towards the L2 community yielded the highest mean value, followed by the second group with intrinsic motivation, ideal L2 self, and instrumentality.

In order to answer our third research question, we conducted correlational and regression analysis as we wanted to investigate the relationships between the scales, which measured the learners' motivational dispositions. Here we found that intrinsic motivation and instrumental motivation predict the motivated learning behavior of the participants. Another interesting finding is that the effect of intrinsic motivation was slightly higher than that of instrumental motivation, a finding which suggests that the learners experience higher levels of joy and excitement from learning the L2 than the practical benefits learning the L2 brings them.

Regarding the fourth and last research question, we investigated significant differences between the male and female participants. Here we found that the male learners had a higher level of ought-to L2 self and instrumentality than the female learners. We also investigated significant differences between the English and Hungarian language learners. The findings revealed that there were differences between the Hungarian and English language learners in the dimensions of cultural interest, family influence, ideal self, instrumentality, the ought-to L2 self, and motivated learning behavior. However, no differences were found between them in intrinsic motivation, attitudes towards the L2 community, and integrativeness.

Based on the findings of this research, several implications can be drawn that can be utilized by stakeholders, such as language teachers, education policymakers, language teaching institutions, and everyone else who is involved in the teaching process of foreign languages to international students. The first implication is that the attitudes that international students have towards the L2 community play a vital role in their motivation to learn the foreign language. Therefore, in order to increase international students' L2 motivation, language teachers should strive to strengthen or possibly awaken students' positive attitudes towards the L2 community. Intercultural information about the L2 community can be helpful for the students to develop their intercultural competencies and, in this way, feel more empowered to live in a global world (Pinto, 2018). Another implication is that the intrinsic and instrumental motivation that international students have can potentially explain their motivated learning behavior. As a consequence of this, we recommend teachers use teaching methods that create an enjoyable learning environment and possibly raise awareness of the pragmatic benefits speaking a foreign language entails to keep them motivated.

This study aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the motivational disposition of international students who were learning English or Hungarian while they were doing studies in Hungary. Although we fulfilled all of our research goals, the study has some limitations, for example, the sample size, as only 34 students filled in our questionnaire despite our efforts to distribute the questionnaire to as many international students as possible.

As for the possible future directions of research, we found that the male participants have higher ought-to L2 selves and instrumentality than the females. Therefore, we suggest investigating the reasons behind these findings. Also, it is necessary to explore further the reasons behind the significant differences between English and LOTE, and those between different LOTEs.

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. (2010). Contexts of possibility in simultaneous language learning: Using the L2 Motivational Self System to assess the impact of global English. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31(2), 149162.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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    • Export Citation
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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Alizadeh, M. (2016). The impact of motivation on English language learning. International Journal of Research in English Education, 1(1), 1115.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Azarnoosh, M. , & Birjandi, P. (2012). Junior high school students’ L2 motivational self-system: Any gender differences. World Applied Sciences Journal, 20(4), 577584.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boo, Z. , Dörnyei, Z. , & Ryan, S. (2015). L2 motivation research 2005–2014: Understanding a publication surge and a changing landscape. System, 55, 145157.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bower, K. (2019). Explaining motivation in language learning: A framework for evaluation and research. The Language Learning Journal, 47(5), 558574.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Busse, V. , & Walter, C. (2013). Foreign language learning motivation in higher education: A longitudinal study of motivational changes and their causes. The Modern Language Journal, 97(2), 435456.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Butler, J. (2016). The L2 Motivational Self System in the American second language classroom. Doctoral dissertation, Vanderbilt University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Council of Europe. Council for Cultural Co-operation. Education Committee. Modern Languages Division (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Crookes, G. , & Schmidt, R. (1991). Motivation: Reopening the research agenda. Language Learning, 41(4), 469512.

  • Csizér, K. (2019). The L2 motivational self-system. The Palgrave handbook of motivation for language learning (pp. 7193). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Csizér, K. (2020). Second language learning motivation in a European context: The case of Hungary. Springer.

  • Csizér, K. , & Kálmán, C. (2019). A study of retrospective and concurrent foreign language learning experiences: A comparative interview study in Hungary. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 9(1), 225246.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Csizér, K. , & Lukács, G. (2010). The comparative analysis of motivation, attitudes and selves: The case of English and German in Hungary. System, 38(1), 113.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (1994). Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 78, 273284.

  • Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Creating a motivating classroom environment. International handbook of English language teaching (pp. 719731). Springer.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2019). From integrative motivation to directed motivational currents: The evolution of the understanding of L2 motivation over three decades. The Palgrave handbook of motivation for language learning (pp. 3969). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. , & Csizér, K. (2002). Some dynamics of language attitudes and motivation: Results of a longitudinal nationwide survey. Applied linguistics, 23(4), 421462.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. , Csizér, K. , & Németh, N. (2006a). Motivation, language attitudes and globalisation. In Motivation, language Attitudes and globalisation. Multilingual Matters.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. , Csizér, K. , & Németh, N. (2006b). Motivation, language attitudes and globalisation: A Hungarian perspective. Multilingual Matters.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. , & Ushioda, E. (Eds.), (2009). Motivation, language identity and the L2 self. Multilingual Matters.

  • Dörnyei, Z. , & Ushioda, E. (2011). Teaching and researching motivation (2nd ed.). UK: Longman.

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  • Feuerstein, R. , & Falik, L. (2010). Learning to think, thinking to learn: A comparative analysis of three approaches to instruction. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 9(1), 420.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gao, X. , & Lv, L. (2018). Motivations of Chinese learners of Japanese in mainland China. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 17(4), 222235.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. Arnold.

  • Gardner, R. C. (2005). Integrative motivation and second language acquisition. (Joint plenary talk at Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics/Canadian Linguistics Association, May).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardner, R. C. (2006). The Socio-Educational Model of Second Language Acquisition: A Research Paradigm. EUROSLA Yearbook, 6, 237260. https://doi.org/10.1075/eurosla.6.14gar.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardner, R. C. (2019). The socio-educational model of second language acquisition. In M. Lamb , K. Csizér , A. Henry , & S. Ryan (Eds.), Palgrave Macmillan handbook of motivation for language learning (pp. 2137). UK: Palgrave.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardner, R. C. , & Lambert, W. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Rowley.

  • Gu, M. , & Cheung, D. (2016). Ideal L2 self, acculturation, and Chinese language learning among South Asian students in Hong Kong: A structural equation modelling analysis. System, 57, 1424.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henkel, B. (2010). Ukrainian and English motivational self-system of minority learners in Transcarpathia. Working Papers in Language Pedagogy, 4, 86107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. (2010). Contexts of possibility in simultaneous language learning: Using the L2 Motivational Self System to assess the impact of global English. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31(2), 149162.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. (2011). Gender differences in L2 motivation: A reassessment. In S. Davies (Ed.), Gender gap: Causes, experiences and effects (pp. 81102). Nova Science.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. (2014a). Swedish students’ beliefs about learning English in and outside of school. In D. Lasagabaster , A. Doiz , & J.-M. Sierra (Eds.), Motivation and foreign language learning: From theory to practice (Language learning & language teaching ed. (Vol. 40, pp. 93116). John Benjamins.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. (2014b). The motivational effects of crosslinguistic awareness: Developing third language pedagogies to address the negative impact of the L2 on the L3 self-concept. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 8(1), 119.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henry, A. , & Cliffordson, C. (2013). Motivation, gender, and possible selves. Language Learning, 63(2), 271295.

  • Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94(3), 319340. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.94.3.319.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kim, T. Y. (2009). The sociocultural interface between ideal self and ought-to self: A case study of two Korean students’ ESL motivation. Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self, 274294. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847691293.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kormos, J. , & Csizér, K. (2008). Age-related differences in the motivation of learning English as a foreign language: Attitudes, selves, and motivated learning behavior. Language Learning, 58(2), 327355.

    • Crossref
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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Helga DORNER

Associate Editors 

  • Csíkos, Csaba (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Csizér, Kata (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Dorner, Helga (Central European University, Hungary)

 

Editorial Board

  • Basseches, Michael (Suffolk University, USA)
  • Billett, Stephen (Griffith University, Australia)
  • Cakmakci, Gültekin (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
  • Damsa, Crina (University of Oslo,Norway)
  • Dörnyei, Zoltán (Nottingham University, UK)
  • Endedijk, Maaike (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Fejes, Andreas (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Guimaraes, Paula (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Halász, Gábor (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Hansman, Catherine A. (Cleveland State University, USA)
  • Kroeber, Edith (Stuttgart University, Germany)
  • Kumar, Swapna (University of Florida, USA)
  • MacDonald, Ronald (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
  • Marsick, Victoria J. (Columbia University, USA)
  • Martensson, Katarina (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Matei, Liviu (Central European University, Hungary)
  • Matyja, Malgorzata (Wroclaw University of Economics, Poland)
  • Mercer, Sarah (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Nichols, Gill (University of Surrey, UK)
  • Nokkala, Terhi (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland)
  • Ostrouch-Kaminska (Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski, Poland)
  • Pusztai, Gabriella (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Ramesal, Ana (Barcelona University, Spain)
  • Reischmann, Jost (Bamberg University, Germany)
  • Rösken-Winter, Bettina (Humboldt, Germany)
  • Ryan, Stephen (Waseda University, Japan)
  • Török, Erika (Pallasz Athéné University, Hungary)
  • Wach-Kakolewicz, Anna (Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland)
  • Watkins, Karen E. (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

 

 

 

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Editorial Office
Eötvös Loránd University
Faculty of Education and Psychology
Institute of Research on Adult Education and Knowledge Management
Address: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy u. 23-27. HUNGARY

E-mail: jalki@ppk.elte.hu

2020  
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Days from submission to acceptance 130
Days from acceptance to publication 222

 

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Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Publication Model Gold Open Access
Submission Fee none
Article Processing Charge none
Subscription Information Gold Open Access

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2016
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
2
Founder Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem
Founder's
Address
H-1053 Budapest, Hungary Egyetem tér 1-3.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2631-1348 (Online)

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