The following sections elaborates on the types of motivation.
22.214.171.124.1 Intrinsic Motivation
According to SDT, intrinsic motivation is a fully autonomous type of motivation with a “prototypical form of self-determination” (Deci& Ryan, 1985, p. 253); thus, this type of motivation is placed on the extreme, self-determined side. SDT further explains the feature of intrinsic motivation by the following exemplification; if one is intrinsically motivated toward a certain activity, he or she is expected to engage in it “with a full sense of choice, with the experience of doing what one wants, and without the feeling of coercion or compulsion” (p. 253). In other words, intrinsically motivated behaviors seem to be fully supported by one’s own self, and thus, they are fully self-determined (Deci& Ryan, 1985). It is also important to note that previous studies conceptualized three subtypes of intrinsic motivation based on hypothesized causes to enhance the sense of choice or self-determination; intrinsic motivation for knowledge, intrinsic motivation for accomplishment, and intrinsic motivation for stimulation. However, the research shows intrinsically motivated students an L2 because of the inherent pleasure in doing so; they are expected to maintain their effort and engagement in the L2 learning process, even when no external rewards are provided to them (Noels, Clėment, & Pelletier, 2001).
126.96.36.199.2 Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation refers to the desire to learn a second/foreign language because of some pressure or reward from the social environment, such as career advancement or a course credit, internalized reasons for learning an L2, such as guilt or shame, and/or personal decisions to do so and its value for the chosen goals (Noels, Clėment, & Pelletier, 2001).
SDT has addressed extrinsic motivation in terms of the four subtypes: external regulation, interjected regulation, identified regulation, and integrated regulation. These four types were categorized based on the quality or amount of internalization process which is a hypothesized psychological process where people actively change their behavioral regulations from externally forced regulation to self-regulation that is endorsed by the self (Deci, Ryan & Williams, 1996; Rigby, Deci, Patrick, & Ryan, 1992; Ryan &Deci, 2000). In other words, perceived sense of self-determination accompanying each of the four types is seen to increase from external regulation to integrated regulation (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
188.8.131.52 Motivation and Language Learning
According to Oxford and Shearin (1996), foreign/second language motivation is active and personal involvement in foreign or second language learning. They suggest that as unmotivated students are insufficiently involved, they are unable to develop their language skills to the full potential. Besides, Gardner and Lambert (1959) maintain that motivation is of the instrumental or integrative nature. Integrative motivation is seen as a desire to communicate and become similar to members of the L2 community. On the other hand, instrumental motivation is the desire to learn the L2 for pragmatic gains such as getting a better job. They also found thatthose students who were integratively motivated benefited more from practice opportunities, provided more answers in the classroom voluntarily, were more precise in responses, and were generally more successful language learners.
The importance of motivation in enhancing second/foreign language learning is undeniable. Lifrieri (2005, p. 4) points out that “when asked about the factors which influence individual levels of success in any activity – such as language learning –, most people would certainly mention motivation among them”. According to Brown (2000), language learners with the proper motivationwill be successful in learning a second language. Similarly, Gardner (2006, p. 241) states that “students with higher levels of motivation will do better than students with lower levels”. He also believes that if a person is motivated, he/she has reasons for engaging in the relevant activities, makes more effort, persists in the activities, focus on the tasks, shows desire to achieve the goal, and enjoys the activities.
The results of empirical studies point to benefits of motivation in language learning contexts. Arani (2004) investigated language learning needs of EFL students at Kashan University of Medical Sciences to identify the students’ attitudes towards learning English as a school subject prior entering the university. The research sample consisted of 45 medical students who enrolled in the first and second year of study. To collect the data, different types of questionnaires were administered to the sample at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the English for Medical Purposes (EMP) courses. The results showed that most of the participants had positive attitudes towards both learning English and the English language teacher.
Karahan (2007) conducted as study in the Turkish EFL context to examine the complaints raised by learners, teachers, administrators, and parents about why most of Turkish EFL students cannot attain the desired level of proficiency in English and to find out the relation between language attitudes and language learning. The sample included 190 (94 females and 96 males) eighth grade students of a private primary school in Adana, Turkey, where English was intensively taught. The findings indicated that although the students were exposed to English in a school environment more frequently than other students at public schools, they had only mildly positive attitudes; especially female students had higher rates. In addition, the students recognized the importance of the English language but interestingly did not reveal high level orientation towards learning the language. On the other hand, the results indicated that the participants had mildly positive attitudes towards the English based culture but they were not tolerant to Turkish people speaking English among themselves.
In addition, Qashoa (2006) conducted a study among secondary school students in Dubai. The study aimed at examining the students’ instrumental and integrative motivation for learning English and recognizing the factors affecting learners’ motivation. Two instruments used to collect the data were questionnaire and interviews. The sample, for the questionnaire, consisted of 100 students. For the interviews, on the other hand, the sample included 20 students, 10 Arab English teachers and 3 supervisors. The results suggested that students had a higher degree of instrumentality than integrativeness. In addition, the findings indicated that difficulties with the subject (English) aspects such as vocabulary, structures and spelling were found to be the most demotivating factors for the students.
2.1.3 Language Proficiency
The term “language proficiency” has been defined in different ways by different researchers. Many researchers distinguish between the skills that govern oral fluency and those related to successful functioning in an academic environment. For example, Cummins (2000) uses the terms Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency to distinguish these two aspects of language proficiency. On the other hand, other researchers such as MacSwan and Pray (2005) consider proficiency as including all aspects of language development, including phonology (pronunciation), morphology (word formation), the principles of oral discourse including semantics (word meanings), the rules governing syntax (word order), and pragmatics (the social uses of language).
Bailey, Huang, Shin, Farnsworth, and Butler (2007) developed a more comprehensive conceptualization of academic English language (AEL) that is beyond linguistic features and includes the language skills learners need to comprehend instruction in school and to deal with the linguistic requirements of the academic content presented in classroom e
nvironments. Evaluation of academic English language proficiency would include tests of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
2.2. Empirical Studies Done in the Field
This section presents empirical studies on foreign language anxiety, motivation, and language proficiency. First, studies related to anxiety and language learning are reviewed. Then, motivation, language learning, and the relationship between them are discussed followed by a review of the previous studies in the field of anxiety and language proficiency. Finally, an overview of the literature is presented.
2.2.1 Anxiety and Language Learning
The effects of anxiety on foreign language learning have been addressed since the 1970s. According to Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986), foreign language anxiety shows itself only in specific situations. Individuals who have it may be very competent, calm and resilient in most other contexts. Learners suffering from foreign language anxiety report feelings of apprehension, worry, and dread, sometimes to the extent that they must take several deep breaths to take heart to walk into a foreign language classroom. Faced with foreign language learning tasks, such learners may have extreme difficulty concentrating, become forgetful, sweat, tremble, and have palpitations, experience sleep disturbances, and exhibit avoidance behavior in the form of skipping class and putting off homework, class projects, and studying.
Students who experience foreign language anxiety typically feel communication apprehension, which is a type of shyness accompanied by nervousness and fear when communicating with others (Horwitz, 1987). As Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986) points out, if you feel frightened about speaking in your native language to a small group of people, that fear is going to be increased ten times when you try to speak a language you barely know to a large class while being assessed by a teacher. Anxious individuals also feel that other students are much better in learning the language than they are and show worry about being less competent than their peers. In order to avoid being laughed at by others or called on by the teacher, students report skipping class, over-studying, or hiding in the last row in hopes of escaping humiliation. They see the foreign language classroom as a place where evaluation is uncomfortably frequent and any correction means failure (Soupon, 2004).
The relationship between language anxiety and second/foreign language proficiency has been explored in different studies. For instance, Gardner (1985) and Gardner, Tremblay, and Masgoret(1997) observed high correlation between language anxiety and language proficiency. According to MacIntyre and Gardner (1991), anxiety is the stronger predictor of success in the second language. However, Koizumi (2002) did not observe anxiety as a predictor of language proficiency among Japanese learners. Besides, MacIntyre and Gardner (1991) observed that the language proficiency of adult learners’ language proficiency is more influenced by anxiety than children’s language proficiency. Although anxiety may sometimes be facilitating, it negatively affects learners’ achievement in most cases and leaves its harmful effects on students’ learning. According to Zheng (2008), language learning experience could become a traumatic experience and may deeply disturb one’s self-esteem or self-confidence as a learner. Anxiety has been shown to negatively affect achievement in the second language learning (MacIntyre& Gardener, 1991).
MacIntyre and Gardner (1989) studied 94 first-year college students in Canada using nine anxiety scales. The results supported Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986) generalizations about communicative apprehension and social-evaluative anxiety, which were shown to have a negative effect on production. The students with high communicative anxiety tended to have lower