The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies A Motivation Case Study of Students Learning English at a Secondary School in Granada, Spain

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The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies A Motivation Case Study of Students Learning English at a Secondary School in Granada, Spain
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   THESOCIALSCIENCES.COM  The International Journal of  Interdisciplinary Educational Studies  _________________________________________________________________________     A Motivation Case Study of Students Learning English at a Secondary School in Granada, Spain CLARA REBECCA PEARSE ROMERA AND RAÚL RUIZ CECILIA   THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL STUDIES https://thesocialsciences.com ISSN: 2327-011X (Print) ISSN: 2327-2570 (Online) https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-011X/CGP (Journal) First published by Common Ground Research Networks in 2019 University of Illinois Research Park 2001 South First Street, Suite 202 Champaign, IL 61820 USA Ph: +1-217-328-0405 https://cgnetworks.org  The International Journal of Interdisciplinary  Educational Studies is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal.   COPYRIGHT © 2019 (individual papers), the author(s)   © 2019 (selection and editorial matter), Common Ground Research Networks   All rights reserved. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes   of study, research, criticism, or review, as permitted under the   applicable copyright legislation, no part of this work may be   reproduced by any  process without written permission from the    publisher. For permissions and other inquiries, please contact support@cgnetworks.org. Common Ground Research Networks, a member of Crossref  EDITOR Gerassimos Kouzelis, University of Athens, Greece HEAD OF JOURNAL PRODUCTION McCall Macomber, Common Ground Research Networks, USA EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Hannah Werner, Common Ground Research Networks, USA ADVISORY BOARD The Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research Network recognizes the contribution of many in the evolution of the Research Network. The principal role of the Advisory Board has been, and is, to drive the overall intellectual direction of the Research Network. A full list of members can be found at https://thesocialsciences.com/about/advisory-board. PEER REVIEW Articles published in The International Journal of Interdisciplinary  Educational Studies  are peer reviewed using a two-way anonymous peer review model. Reviewers are active participants of The Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research Network or a thematically related Research  Network. The publisher, editors, reviewers, and authors all agree upon the following standards of expected ethical behavior, which are based on the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Core Practices. More information can be found at: https://thesocialsciences.com/journals/model. ARTICLE SUBMISSION The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies  publishes biannually (June, December). For more about the submission  process, please visit https://thesocialsciences.com/journals/call-for-papers. ABSTRACTING AND INDEXING For a full list of databases in which this journal is indexed,  please visit https://thesocialsciences.com/journals/collection. RESEARCH NETWORK MEMBERSHIP Authors in The International Journal of Interdisciplinary  Educational Studies  are members of the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research Network or a thematically related Research  Network. Members receive access to journal content. To find out more, visit https://thesocialsciences.com/about/become-a-member. SUBSCRIPTIONS The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies  is available in electronic and print formats. Subscribe to gain access to content from the current year and the entire backlist. Contact us at support@cgnetworks.org.   ORDERING Single articles and issues are available from the  journal bookstore at https://cgscholar.com/bookstore. HYBRID OPEN ACCESS The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies  is Hybrid Open Access, meaning authors can choose to make their articles open access. This allows their work to reach an even wider audience, broadening the dissemination of their research. To find out more, please visit https://thesocialsciences.com/journals/hybrid-open-access. DISCLAIMER The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein.  The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies Volume 14, Issue 1, 2019, http://thesocialsciences.com © Common Ground, Clara Rebecca Pearse Romera,   Raúl Ruiz Cecilia, All Rights Reserved. Permissions: support@cgnetworks.org ISSN: 2327-011X (Print), ISSN: 2327-2570 (Online) http://doi.org/10.18848/2327-011X/CGP/v14i01/31-45 (Article) A Motivation Case Study of Students Learning English at a Secondary School in Granada, Spain Clara Rebecca Pearse Romera, University of Granada, Spain Raúl Ruiz Cecilia, 1  University of Granada, Spain  Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to gain insight into the motivation of students to learn English at  secondary school. In order to achieve this objective, the following research questions framed the study: (1) How motivated are students to learn English in secondary school?, and (2) What motivates students to learn English in  secondary school? The secondary school selected for this case study was located in Granada, Spain. Three class groups were observed (twelve to fifteen year olds). Additionally, students from these class groups completed a survey about motivation. Findings from the classroom ethnography revealed that students found it hard to stay motivated and engaged in class. Survey responses showed that many students do enjoy learning English or believe it is very important, but they also revealed that students struggled to stay focused as they find classes monotonous and unstimulating. Based on these  findings, the case for increasing learner autonomy in the classroom is put forward as there is considerable evidence  presented in literature showing its positive correlation with motivation.  Keywords: Autonomy, Ethnography, Extrinsic Motivation, Instrumental Motivation Introduction otivation is crucial in language learning although teachers often forget that learning will depend on student motivation more than anything else. Classes may be carefully designed and appropriate on a cognitive, linguistic, and developmental level, but it is often assumed that students are always motivated to learn. As Pourhosein Gilakjani, Leong, and Banou Sabouri   (2012, 9) put it, motivation is often considered the “neglected heart” of language teaching. It is almost as if teachers know motivation is such a complex concept that there is little that can be done about it. Instead, teachers focus on what can be explicitly controlled, that is the teaching, instead of focusing on the students’ learning. The concrete linguistic aspects are the center of attention, be it grammar, vocabulary, or controlled exercises, when in fact, teachers should be thinking of what the students actually need. Are they engaged in the lesson? Are they interested in the topic? Can they relate to the class material? These are questions that teachers should be asking themselves. They cannot motivate students  per se , but they can work to provide the conditions for students to become more motivated. In essence, it is a question of educators connecting with the students in some way, attempting to find what motivates them to learn, rather than expecting learners to adapt to a predetermined or idealistic teaching program. Since the concept of motivation is difficult to define, or indeed delineate within the classroom setting, it has not traditionally been individually addressed in the English language classroom. However, in recent decades, there has been an increase in recognizing the importance of motivation in education and foreign language learning specifically. Dörnyei (1998, 177) acknowledges this recognition when he states the following: “Motivation has been widely accepted by both teachers and researchers as one of the key factors that influences the rate and success of second/foreign language (L2) learning.” Other academics do not believe there is sufficient recognition in education but emphasize how vital motivation is in teaching methodology: “The issue of motivation, particularly in EFL settings, is so important that other considerations about teaching methodology seem to pale in comparison” (Pourhosein Gilakjani, Leong, and Banou Sabouri 2012, 10). 1  Corresponding Author: Raúl Ruiz Cecilia, Department of Didactics of Language and Literature, Faculty of Education, University of Granada, Granada, 18071, Spain. email: raulruiz@ugr.es M  THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL STUDIES The main objectives of this paper are to find out how motivation influences learning a foreign language in secondary education in Spain, and to uncover the types of motivation in the target groups. Literature Review Much research has been carried out on motivation to learn a foreign or second language, most of it spanning over the last fifty years. As motivation encompasses multiple aspects affecting the teaching and learning of a new language, it is now one of the most assiduously studied areas of foreign language learning. In spite of this, there is no real consensus as to what motivation is or its specific role in foreign language learning. One of the most prominent researchers in this area, Dörnyei (1998, 117), states that “it is rather surprising how little agreement there is in the literature with regard to the exact meaning of this concept.” Many definitions have been suggested for the term motivation with most of these sharing the idea of an impulse towards a set goal (Pintrich and Schunk 2002; Johnson 1979; Gardner 1985; Crookes and Schmidt 1991). However, a more detailed definition of the term was provided by Dörnyei (2003, 173): The motivated individual expends effort, is persistent and attentive to the task at hand, has goals, desires and aspirations, enjoys the activity, experiences reinforcement from success and disappointment from failure, makes attributions concerning success and or failure, is aroused, and makes use of strategies to aid in achieving goals. The concept of motivation, in general and not necessarily related to second or foreign language learning, has multiple definitions in the field of psychology. Deci and Ryan (2000a, 69) emphasize this relationship with the field in the following definition: “Motivation concerns energy, direction, persistence and equifinality, all aspects of activation and intention. Moreover, motivation has been a central and perennial issue in the field of psychology, for it is at the core of  biological, cognitive, and social regulation.” In the following lines, we will tackle the term motivation from the perspective of different models and theories. Gardner’s (1985, 10) socio-educational model, as it came to be known, stated that motivation “refers to the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favorable attitudes toward learning the language.” He identified two types of motivation: “integrative” and “instrumental.” Integrative motivation is the desire to learn a language to become integrated with the native speakers of the language. Instrumental motivation, on the other hand, is the desire to learn a language to improve your chances of getting a good job or getting a qualification. One of the most influential theories of motivation is the self-determination theory. Deci, Connell, and Ryan   (1989, 580) stated that “to be self-determining means to experience a sense of choice in initiating and regulating one’s own actions.” This idea is closely linked to that of autonomy. Significant in both psychology and education, the theory differentiates between two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The former refers to the desire to carry out an action for the enjoyment or satisfaction it brings. As Noels (2001, 45) puts it, intrinsic motivation denotes “reasons for L2 learning that are derived from one’s inherent pleasure and interest in the activity; the activity is undertaken because of the spontaneous satisfaction that is associated with it.” Extrinsic motivation refers to the desire to perform an activity for the benefits or rewards it will bring. In Noels’ (2001, 46) words, extrinsic motivation indicates the “reasons that are instrumental to some consequence apart from inherent interest in the activity.” Self-determination theory includes the concept of amotivation too (Deci and Ryan 2000b). Also known as learned helplessness, amotivation is when an individual lacks the will to engage in an activity. This is because they see no relationship between an action and any desired outcome. A 32  PEARSE ROMERA AND RUIZ CECILIA: MOTIVATION OF STUDENTS LEARNING ENGLISH  person with amotivation has no goals and therefore has no intrinsic or extrinsic motivation to  perform an action (Noels 2001). Attribution theory was very popular in the 1980s when it was studied in relation to motivation to learn. The focus of the theory is that of the causal explanation for conducting certain actions. The idea is that individuals think back to past experiences by establishing causal attributions. Motivation is influenced by the person’s perception of that experience rather than the experience itself. The locus of causality (the causes of an event or behavior) can be external or internal, and this will depend on how the person sees themselves or others as causing a  behavior. Locus of control is the perception of how much control a person has over events. These loci are incredibly important within the classroom setting, as the explanations which students give for their learning outcomes will depend on these attributions. As definitions for motivation have shown, goals are a vital component of the concept. Although definitions for the term differ among academics, it has consensually replaced the concept of need, which was srcinally established in the field by Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs. According to Anderman and Midgley (1998), goal theories center on the reasons learners  perceive for achieving. In other words, goals affect individuals’ performance as they associate their actions with the end result. The main proponents of the theory, Locke and Latham (2002), explain that goals have directive and energizing functions and affect action by prompting discovery and arousal. Two theories are prominent in the field: goal setting theory and goal orientation theory. The  basic premise of the former is that in order to act, people must have goals. As Dörnyei (1990)  puts it, goals have to be set and sought by choice. There are internal and external aspects to goal setting theory. Ideas are the internal aspect and they are determined by the object pursued, which is external. Besides, there are three characteristics that differentiate goals: difficulty, specificity, and commitment. Difficulty relates to the more difficult a task, the more satisfying the sense of achievement. Specific goals tend to result in better performance, as the person can direct their efforts more easily. The combination of difficulty and specificity leads to the best performances. Thus, a high commitment to a goal comes about when an individual believes the goal is important and achievable (Locke and Latham 2002). Method This investigation is a qualitative, descriptive case study of the state of motivation in English language learning at a secondary school in Granada, Spain. The qualitative approach was chosen, as the main aim throughout was to attempt to describe the richness and complexity of the data gathered rather than its classification and quantification for statistical analysis. Since the concept of motivation is so complex, a descriptive and phenomenological perspective was considered more encompassing and less restrictive than quantitative methods. A case study for a specific secondary school setting was chosen for sufficient in-depth and manageable data to be collected. Merriam (2001) states that case studies consist of a single bounded system with a limited amount of data. This design permitted the development of the research within the real-life setting of the classroom and school environment.  Research Questions There are two research questions: 1. How motivated are students to learn English in secondary school?; and 2. What motivates students to learn English in secondary school?  Research Site and Participants The research site was a state-run secondary school in Granada, Spain. The school is located in the municipality of Maracena, which has seen a significant increase in population in recent years, 33
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