The relationship between motivation and achievement in foreign language learning in a sixth form college in Hong Kong
thesisposted on 21.04.2010, 11:20 by Chiu Yuet Chan
Motivation is crucial in learning a foreign language as it probably determines one’s success in mastering the target language. This study attempts to unveil the relationship between motivation and achievement in learning English in a sixth form college in Hong Kong. The methodological dimensions of the investigation were twofold. First, by means of questionnaires distributed to 33 Advanced-level students, their motivation intensity and orientations in learning English were explored. Pearson Product Moment Correlation was computed to examine the students’ motivation components and their English grades both in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination. Second, four high, four average and four low achievers of learning English, altogether 12 students aged 17 to 20, were invited to attend semi-structured interviews. Through the account of their English learning experience, the relationship between motivational factors and academic achievement in foreign language learning was investigated. The findings indicated that there was a positive relationship between motivation and achievement among this sample of Hong Kong Advanced-level students in this sixth form college. The results also indicated that all the high, average and low achievers had strong extrinsic motivation, but this did not have any significant correlation with students’ English attainment. Instead, it was intrinsic motivation that had a positive correlation with students’ English grades. The results further suggested that, in this sample, intrinsic and extrinsic motives did not inhibit each other as they had no significant correlation. Students pursuing both intrinsic and extrinsic orientations achieved better grades in English than those whose main motivation was extrinsic. Thus it might be necessary to create a learning environment where intrinsic and extrinsic values of learning English were equally emphasized. Finally, some suggestions on how to enhance Advanced-level students’ motivation in learning English were also offered.