Many believe motivation to learn is the key to successful language learning. However, if we take a look at research on motivation, it is hard to say what motivation is. This section begins with a brief introduction to the field followed by a discussion of the definitions of motivation. Various theories and models proposed for L2 motivation are presented. First, the researcher discusses various definitions of motivation proposed by several scholars and discusses the integrative and instrumental motivation distinction. Then, other influential psychological theories of motivation and some motivational components relevant to L2 learning which emerged after the educational shift in the 1990s will also be discussed.
Definitions of Motivation
“as the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritized, operationalized and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out”.
Integrative and Instrumental Motivation
“Meeting with westerners, using computers, understanding pop songs, studying or traveling abroad, pursuing a desirable career- all these aspirations are associated with each other and with English as an integral part of the globalization processes that are transforming their society and will profoundly affect their own lives”.
In a paper reviewing the research on motivation in Japan, Irie (2003: 91) asserts that although Japanese university students have a favourable attitude towards native speakers and the target language community, researchers avoid using the label integrative motivation because they believe that this factor is not compatible with the original definition which mirrors a desire to assimilate into the target language community. Irie (2003: 91) also argues that “Another possible reason for avoiding the label is that in many studies the positive disposition factor included items on utilitarian interests, such as traveling, which blurred the distinction between integrative and instrumental motivation as pointed out by Dörnyei (1990, 1994)”.
* This is a copy of Chapter 2 from my book: Important Topics In Applied Linguistics: Selected Essays.