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Learning English as a second or foreign language (L2) in Japan would differ greatly, for example from learning English in a country like Qatar. In the language learning classroom in Japan, learners are mainly from the same cultural background, whereas in Qatar, this learning occurs mostly in a multicultural environment, with learners from diverse nationalities and backgrounds. Benson (1991) suggests that a more appropriate approach to English Foreign Language (EFL) learning would be the desire of the individual to become bilingual, as well as fitting into that culture. Learners of English in Japan, being a more mono-cultural society, would find it therefore more difficult than learners of English in Qatar. Although Arabic is the preferred language on all official documents, English is widely spoken and understood or partly-understood by many residents, local Qataris or the various other nationalities. English also serves as the preferred language of communication to accommodate the various nationalities living in this country. In this case, learners are not learning English as a second language to fit into the culture of Qatar, but to be more widely understood by the diverse nationalities living here.
184.108.40.206 Instrumental versus integrative motivation
According to Taylor, Meynard and Rheault (1977) and Ellis (1997) both instrumental and integrative motivation are essential to sustain long-term success when learning a second language. Ellis (1997) refers to Gardner and Lambert (1972) who in earlier research, deemed integrative motivation of greater importance in language learning.
Irrespective of the underlying reason for studying English in Qatar, whether it be a promotion at work, finding employment or to develop social skills, motivation is an important variable in second language acquisition by men and women alike and cannot be overlooked. Qatar is perhaps a unique English learning environment, when taking into consideration that not all the learners will be exposed to the language once outside the classroom and might not have ample opportunities to practise newly learnt language skills, except only in the classroom.
Lecturer should be aware of the possible factors that may affect the language learners’ attitudes towards language acquisition.
2.5.3 Gender differences in motivation to study ESL Not all studies have yielded the same outcome, and some produced mixed results with regard to gender differences in motivation towards studying a second language.
According to a study in Hungary, using the Gardner’s socio-educational model, Dornyei and Clement (2001) found that females scored higher than males in all aspects of instrumental and integrative motivation factors, when studying various foreign languages. However, a survey done in Japan of English language learners and using the same model, did not confirm these results (Mori and Gobel 2006). Mori and Gobel (2006) speculated that a possibility could be differences in social standards and cultural influences.
This study tested the differences in motivation towards English second or foreign language acquisition between adult males and females, to see if the above could be confirmed or rejected.
Gardner (2010) states that second language acquisition takes place in various settings and therefore, the affective reactions towards it, and influence of the second language cultural group cannot be overlooked. These cultural influences can affect the learners’ motivation to acquire the second language. Gardner’s socio-educational model presents
interrelated variables in second language acquisition, namely:
• Social milieu, which will include the learner’s culture and environment. In this instance, the English second language class with learners from diverse nationalities and cultural backgrounds, and with native speaking English lecturers, also from diverse backgrounds, is multicultural in character.
The English language lecturer should be aware of, and take into account that they are teaching adult male and female learners from various nationalities and cultural backgrounds, but all with a desire to become proficient in the dominant language of communication in Qatar, namely English.
• Individual differences, which includes intelligence, aptitude, motivation and anxiety. The factors could all inhibit the individual male and female learner’s ability to acquire the target language, English.
English language lecturers should take the above variables into account when teaching adult learners.
• Setting, in other words, is the second language being learnt in a formal or informal setting?
Although the classes are conducted using prescribed textbooks, English language lecturers at the centre give a lot of attention to the fact that it should be done in a relaxed atmosphere to promote and encourage learning.
• Linguistic knowledge, including language and non-linguistic skills. Learners bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience about life, as well as their own respective languages; helpful elements to acquire a second language.
This study tested if motivation towards English second language learning would enable learners to obtain a higher level of proficiency.
• Integrative motive. This concept is divided into three components:
integrativeness, referring to the learner’s attitude towards the learning situation and motivation; attitude towards the learning environment and textbooks;
motivation exerted to learn new material.
At the language centre lecturers are skilled in stimulating and promoting English learning, they have a good command of English, present well-prepared lessons with interesting topics and employ a meaningful evaluation procedure to motivate learners to acquire English as a second language.
Although studies on gender differences in motivation towards second language learning is not easily found, Kay and Knaack (2007) note that there were no marked individual differences in motivation between male and female students using online based learning methods. A lack of noteworthy studies in this particular field could possibly contribute to the fact that no differences between male and female motivation towards language learning could be found. Although criticized by some, Gardner’s socioeducational model, and more specifically the Attitude Motivation Test Battery (AMTB), was applied in this study to explore differences in males’ and females’ motivation towards English second language acquisition, precisely because of its popularity and dominance in this area.
2.5.4 Experiences elsewhere concerning motivation In this section, a few examples of how other nations have gone about learning a target language are cited and similarities and contrast that could help advance the present study are drawn.
220.127.116.11 Canada Several studies done in Canada with learners of French as a second language, suggest that males are less motivated to learn the target language than their female counterparts (Massey, 1994; Netten, Riggs and Hewlett, 1999; Pagliaroli, 1999).
The motivation of adult English language learners in Qatar was also tested in the study to determine if the disinterest of Canadian male students to acquire French is in any way unique, or can it also be detected among learners in this study as well?
18.104.22.168 Britain A British study also concluded that males are less interested and motivated to learn French, than females (Williams, Burden and Lanvers, 2002). As the nationalities of these learners were not mentioned, it is assumed that they were English speaking and therefore learning French as a second language.
In her study on two male Italian English language learners at the University of Northumbria, UK, (Macleod, 2002) and the effect of instrumental motivation on their language acquisition, Macleod concludes that, “Key influential factors included: beliefs about language learning, certain personality traits (sociability, personal determination, flexibility and open-mindedness), preferred learning style and setting, including location, teaching method and length of course.” As mentioned before, the situation in the second language classroom in Qatar is entirely different, as the learners are from various nationalities and cultural backgrounds, and they all want to acquire English. Therefore the differences in motivation of male and female English language learners were also tested in this study. Although second language learners should be self-motivated to study, lecturers should encourage them to rely more on themselves than on the lecturer to be successful.
2.6 Learning strategies The word strategy is derived from the Greek word strategia, meaning steps or actions taken for the purpose of winning a war. Although the warlike meaning has fallen away, the control and goal-directedness remain in the modern version of the word (Oxford, 1990:8).
Richards, Platt and Platt (1992:208:209) define learning strategy as a way in which a learner attempts to work out the meanings and uses of words, grammatical rules and other aspects of language. In second language learning this could be intentional behaviour and thoughts that learners make use of during learning in order to help them remember newly learnt information (Richards, Platt & Platt, 1992:208:209). The effectiveness of second language learning is thought to be improved by lecturers’ abilities to teach learners more effective strategies. Chamot and O’Malley (1996) suggest the general communicative language teaching approach. They prefer the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA), using a strategies-based instruction to second language learners that includes clear strategy instruction, content area instruction and academic language development (Chamot and O’Malley, 1996).
Oxford (1990) describes language learning strategies as specific action or techniques used by learners to assist their progress in developing second or foreign language skills and that gender is among a number of factors that influence their learning style and strategies. Research has shown that conscious, tailored use of tools such as active, selfdirected involvement is needed for L2 learning (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990).
When teaching English as a second language to learners from diverse nationalities and cultural backgrounds, the teaching of strategies might not always be high on the priority list. This could be because of a volume of work that has to be covered by a specific syllabus within a given time-frame within the classroom, and lecturers might not have the necessary time or energy to contemplate teaching strategies as well. Just by teaching adult learners how to learn, will enable them to become more successful in English language acquisition.
2.6.1 Main categories of L2 learning strategies Although O’Malley and Chamot (1990) offered alternative ones, Oxford (1990) identified
six major groups of L2 learning strategies:
Memory related strategies. Memory-related strategies help learners’ link one • L2 item or concept with another, but do not always involve deep understanding.
Purpura (1997) concludes that the use of memory strategies in test-taking had a significant negative relationship to learners’ test performance in grammar and vocabulary.
The English language lecturer should remind the adult language learner to be careful when using memory-related strategies, as opposed to understanding the grammar structure, in order to avoid confusion during recall, because the adult learner has already developed an individual learning style.
Cognitive strategies. With cognitive strategies the learner is able to manipulate • the language material in direct ways, e.g., through reasoning, analysis, notetaking, summarizing, synthesizing, outlining, reorganizing information to develop stronger knowledge structures and practicing structures and sounds formally in naturalistic settings. Studies in the English Foreign Language (EFL) teaching field were done in particular by Ku (1995), Oxford, Judd and Giesen (1998) and Park (1994).
Within the language learning classroom, lecturers should give learners enough time to take notes and organize work, in order to acquire newly learnt knowledge.
Compensatory strategies. Compensatory strategies refer to guessing from the • context in listening and reading and “talking around” the missing word to aid speaking and writing and help learners make up for missing knowledge. Oxford and Ehrman (1995) demonstrate the significance of compensatory strategies in relation to L2 proficiency in their study of native English speaking learners of foreign languages.
Learners often use gestures if they do not have the words for a specific expression and then wait for the lecturer to “give” them the word. This can be helpful to encourage fluency when speaking.
Meta-cognitive strategies. Meta-cognitive strategies are those like identifying • one’s own learning style, planning for a L2 task, gathering and organizing material and work space and evaluating success are employed for managing the overall learning process. These strategies had “a significant, positive, direct effect on cognitive strategy use, providing clear evidence that meta-cognitive strategy use has an executive function over cognitive strategy use in task completion”, (Purpura, 1999).
Adult learners should be encouraged by English language lecturers to develop their own style of learning to better accommodate individual needs of the adult language learner.
Affective strategies. Affective strategies were identified as one’s mood and • anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding oneself for good performance and using deep breathing or positive talk and has shown to be significantly related to L2 proficiency in research by Dreyer and Oxford (1996) among South African EFL learners.
The experienced lecturer should be in touch and in tune with their learners to identify the individual personal feelings and try and alleviate negative influences from them within the English language learning classroom.
Social strategies help the learner work with others to
• Social strategies.
understand the target culture as well as the language by asking questions for verification, asking for clarification of confusing information and conversing with a native-speaking partner. In a study by Dreyer and Oxford (1996) these strategies were strongly associated with L2 proficiency in studies on the South African English foreign language learning.