Second language learners' motivation and their perceptions of teachers' motivation

Masanori Matsumoto

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Recent research on motivation in second language acquisition (SLA) has focused on factors affecting second language (L2) learners’ motivation. Among the factors, teachers are commonly regarded as one of the most significant determinants of L2 learners’ motivation. Researchers claimed that a number of effective teaching strategies can promote the enhancement of L2 learners’ motivation. However, it can be argued that no matter how hard L2 teachers try to enhance students’ motivation, how the teaching strategy works depends chiefly on each learner’s perception of the teacher’s performance. Based on this, the present study investigated international students studying English in Australia to find how their perceptions of teachers’ motivation differ depending on the level of study. 119 students learning English at Bond University English Language Institute (BUELI) at three levels; elementary, intermediate and advanced levels participated in the survey.
Questionnaire was employed to collect self-reporting data regarding the learners’ 1) level of intensity in motivation, 2) perceptions of the level of their teacher’s commitment to teaching English, 3) level of agreement on the effect of teacher’s commitment to the learners’ own motivation for learning English, and 4) perception on which teacher factors affect most strongly the learner’s motivation. Five-point Likert scale was used to identify each student’s level of agreement/disagreement and intensity of teacher’s and their own motivations. Statistical analysis was conducted to find a correlation between students’ and their perceived teacher motivation according to the levels of study, and the affecting teacher factors and the level of study.
The results found that there is a meaningful correlation between students’ motivation and perceived level of teachers’ motivation depending on the level of study. The results also showed that the difference in the levels of study can be a meaningful determiner for the students to perceive which teacher factors affect most strongly their own motivation. These results seem to indicate that, generally speaking, language teacher may be an important influencing factor of language learner’s motivation, but according to the development of proficiency, students’ may tend to be affected by different aspects of teachers; that is, a simple use of particular teaching strategy may not work if it does not match the current level of students’ proficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
EventInternational Conference on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2009 (ICTLHE09): Quality Learning in Higher Education - The Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 23 Nov 200925 Nov 2009


ConferenceInternational Conference on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2009 (ICTLHE09)
Abbreviated titleICTLHE09
CityKuala Lumpur
Internet address


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