Faraj Mohamed Sawan, Tripoli University, Tripoli, Libya; Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abstract: This study has examined the relationship between autonomy and motivation through collecting data from 76 Libyan university English majors by means of two piloted questionnaires. The aim was to see whether motivated Libyan university English majors are autonomous learners. The statistical correlation analysis using the Pearson product moment revealed that the participants’ motivation mean scores and their autonomy mean scores were positively related but with a low degree of overall correlation (r = 0.241, p = 0.036). Thus, the more motivated the participants are, the more autonomous they are. The associated probability level of 0.036 indicates that such a result is unlikely to have arisen by sampling error. According to previous research and the fact that the low positive correlation data found in this study (r = 0.241, p = 0.036) between motivation and autonomy could not prove a causal relationship, it seems logical to conclude that motivation and autonomy reinforce each other reciprocally.
Keyword: Motivation, Autonomy, Language Learning, Language Teaching
The relationship between motivation and autonomy has only been investigated systematically with the advent of new motivation theories in the 1990s such as attribution theory and self-determination theory. Dickinson (1995) and Ushioda (1996) were among the first to research the connection between autonomy and motivation based on these new theories. Dickinson (1995: 171) considers autonomy to be another factor in the motivation-success chain and asserts that ‘Success in learning … appears to lead to greater motivation only for those students who accept responsibility for their own learning success’. Subsequent research also showed that enhanced motivation is dependent on learners taking charge of their own learning (Lamb 2001; da Silva 2002; Sakui 2002; Takagi 2003; Ushioda 2003, 2006).
Such findings are supported by well-known researchers such as Ushioda (1996: 2) who stated explicitly that “Autonomous language learners are by definition motivated learners”. She also argues that ‘self-regulated learning can occur only when the ability to control strategic thinking processes is accompanied by the wish to do so’ (Ushioda 2006: 15).With similar interests, Spratt et al (2002) conducted a large-scale study on Hong Kong tertiary students to assess students’ readiness for learner autonomy. The results of their study have shown that motivation played a key role in this readiness. This led them to explore the relationship between autonomy and motivation which, in turn, led them to conclude that “motivation is a key factor that influences the extent to which learners are ready to learn autonomously, and that teachers might therefore endeavour to ensure motivation before they train students to become autonomous” (ibid. p.2). This point is also embraced by Scharle and Szabó (2000: 7) who argued that ‘motivation is a prerequisite for learning and responsibility development’.
Deci & Ryan’s (2000) self-determination theory highlights the importance of personal autonomy in developing intrinsic motivation. In their 1985 work, Deci and Ryan assert that ‘intrinsic motivation will be operative when action is experienced as autonomous’ (p. 29). Scharle and Szabó (2000: 7) maintained that intrinsic motivation makes learners ‘more willing to take responsibility for the outcome’ and that giving students more autonomy yields intrinsic motivation. They argued that ‘motivation and responsibility can mutually reinforce each other’. Noels, Cle´ment, and Pelletier (1999) have incorporated self-determination theory into their model of L2 motivation and found that intrinsic motivation was related to perceptions of the environment as non-controlling. They maintained that this finding strengthens the argument that language courses emphasizing autonomy will likely develop learner motivation, since perceptions of autonomy and perceived competence are associated with more self-determined forms of motivation. The important connection between self-determination and autonomy is also highlighted by Dickinson (1995) and Dörnyei (1998), who argue that intrinsically motivated learners are more efficient learners because the locus of control is internalized. It is worth mentioning also that Dörnyei & Csiz´er (1998) considered fostering learner autonomy as one of the ‘ten commandments’ for motivating learners.
The findings of Noels and associates’ (2000) study revealed that instrumental orientation is related to external regulation, but the other three orientations corresponded with more self-determined and intrinsic reasons for engaging in the L2 learning task. The study also found that there is a strong relationship between self-determination theory and learner autonomy. This has led Noels et al (2000: 76) to conclude that learners who learn a second or foreign language in an autonomy-supportive context where feedback improves their perception of competence in the learning task are likely to be those who find learning enjoyable and appealing to their self-concept. This type of learners are “also less likely to feel anxious in the learning process, and they are less likely to give up L2 learning” (ibid. p.76). The studies conducted by Noels (2001) and Noels and colleagues (2000) demonstrated that intrinsic motivation is enhanced when teachers allow more autonomy to learners, are less perceived as controlling by them, and provide encouraging feedback.
The findings of such studies improve our knowledge of and raise our awareness of the practical implications involved in learning an L2 in formal settings such as the classroom and the vital-supportive role of the language teacher in fostering autonomy and increasing intrinsic motivation.
Adding another dimension, the immediate classroom environment, to the self-determination framework proposed by Noels et al. (2000), Wu (2003) investigated the influence of a number of environmental factors on L2 intrinsic motivation. The study revealed that providing a predictable learning setting, reasonably challenging tasks, required instructional scaffolding, and a method of assessment that focus on self-improvement are effective ways of developing learners’ perceived competence. The study also demonstrated that giving students the opportunity to choose the content, methods and performance outcomes plus integrating strategy training resulted in perceived competence and autonomy. Consequently, perceived competence and autonomy led to significantly higher L2 intrinsic motivation.
Moreover, the findings of a study conducted by Guay and Vallerand (1997) showed that parental autonomy support had a stronger influence on autonomy and perceived competence than the school administration and teachers’ autonomy support. The results of this study highlight the role of parents in motivating their offspring in a self-determined way towards school activities.
In a study designed to explore why few students succeed in achieving competence in English, Lamb (2002) interviewed 16 Indonesian undergraduates and found that more successful students demonstrated a personal investment in learning, and the autonomy and resourcefulness to pursue their objectives autonomously.
Horváth (2005) attempted to identify the most important cognitive components of autonomous learning by examining the dairies kept by 4 students enrolled in the European Masters in Conference Interpreting at ELTE University of Budapest, Hungary. The analysis of the dairies revealed five cognitive components of learner autonomy. These included reflection, self-reflection, evaluation, self-evaluation and self-motivational thinking. This finding is in line with Ushioda’s (1996) view which “ascribes to motivation an active functional role” in autonomous learning where self-motivation is “a capacity of effective motivational thinking” (p. 2-3).
Garcia and Pintrich (1991) surveyed 365 college students from 4 institutions in the US to explore the effects of autonomy on motivation, use of learning strategies and performance in college classrooms. The results showed that autonomy was related to all the motivational constructs and most closely to intrinsic motivation. The findings of their study led them to conclude that autonomy fosters intrinsic motivation.
The studies reported above revealed that either autonomy lead to motivation or vice versa. Some researchers (Scharle and Szabó, 2000: 7) also argued that the relationship between motivation and autonomy is mutual because they reinforce each other. Thus, the researcher of the current study expects to find a positive relationship between motivation and autonomous learning, particularly, the motivation of Libyan university English majors will be positively related to their being autonomous learners. The study is an attempt to discover whether motivated Libyan university English majors are autonomous learners or not. In other words, it examines the link between autonomy and motivation.
Having made corroborative use of qualitative information in the preliminary study, the methodology employed in the main study is exclusively quantitative to measure and analyse the hypothesized relationships between the study variables. The quantitative analysis involved asking closed-ended questions via the distribution of two questionnaires (Appendix 2, and 4) which were piloted and modified as required before being distributed to a total of 76 students. Data generated in this way arguably affords ‘‘a good deal of precision and clarity’’ (McDonough and McDonough, 2004, p. 171) and allows quick and simple answers (Oppenheim, 2001).
The researcher translated the questionnaires into Arabic to avoid misunderstanding the meaning of the instruments’ items by the participants. The translation of the questionnaires into Arabic was approved by two Arabic PhD holders of applied linguistics at Tripoli University.
2.2 Motivation Questionnaire
The participants’ motivation to study English as a foreign language was measured by a questionnaire (see appendix 1) designed by the researcher drawn from a pool of questionnaires used in similar contexts. The questionnaire was mainly based on the literature review and three tried questionnaires used previously by others to measure the motivation of Arabic students, namely a questionnaire originally developed by Wen (1997) and modified by Shaaban and Gaith (2000), a questionnaire designed by Schmidt et al (1996), and a questionnaire designed by Ghenghesh (2005). All three questionnaires had been used previously by others to measure the motivation of subjects similar to those intended for study in this research.
The motivation questionnaire which was piloted and amended in the preliminary study includes 45 items in total (see appendix 2) distributed over 7 subscales measuring Integrative Motivation (3 items), Instrumental Motivation (12 items), Attitudes towards studying English (6 items), Parental Encouragement (4 items), Intrinsic Motivation (7items), Extrinsic Motivation (5 items), and Effort (8 items).
2.3 Autonomy Questionnaire
This questionnaire is a modified version of the questionnaire used by Spratt et al (2002) and Chan et al (2002). The piloted autonomy questionnaire (see appendix 4) comprises 48 items distributed over four subscales measuring: a) learners’ perceived responsibilities for their learning, b) learners’ autonomous learning abilities, c) learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom, and d) learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour outside the classroom.
Seventy six Libyan students (n=76) majoring in English at the department of English, Faculty of Arts in the University of Tripoli participated in the study. All participants were native speakers of Arabic. Of these 22 students were third year English majors and 54 students were fourth year English majors. There were 26 males and 50 females. Data were collected in two separate lectures on the 22nd and the 23rd of February 2016 and subjects received no monetary compensation for their participation. All students surveyed in this study are native Arabic Libyan university English majors who are either in their third (n=22) or fourth (n= 54) year of study. All the participants have spent their lives in Libya and had more or less the same normal Libyan state education. Only two female students were found to have stayed in English speaking countries for more than 10 years. The responses obtained from these two subjects will be treated with caution during the analyses of the data.
The participants had an overall proficiency mean score of 49 with a standard deviation of 11.79 which places them in the elementary level, but according to frequency analysis, the results indicated that the majority of students are within the intermediate level (53.9 % and Mean = 55.37). Only 2.6 % (Mean= 92.00) of the subjects are within the advanced proficiency category (these were the two females who had stayed in English speaking countries for more than 10 years). Others are either within the beginners level (21.1%, Mean= 34.00) or within the elementary level (22.4%, Mean= 43.47). Thus, according to these results, the proficiency of the majority of Libyan university English majors can be considered intermediate.
The researcher obtained the consent of the Dean of Faculty of Arts to use two lectures on two separate days (the 22nd and the 23rd of February 2016) for the administration of the instruments and also to invite English majors to participate in the study. The aims of the instruments, their structure and content, and how it was to be completed were explained to the subjects. The researcher asked the participants to give their answers as truly as possible and emphasized that he had no predetermined expectations and that no response would be deemed as better than another. The subjects were also assured that all the information collected will be confidential and will only be used for research purposes. Moreover, they were assured that their identities will be anonymous and that their personal information will be treated in strict confidence and will not be revealed. It should be noted that in Libya, unlike other Arabic countries, mixed gender classes are normal, so males and females study together in the same classroom.
The questionnaires were read aloud to the participants before they started to record their responses to ensure that they understood each item accurately. The researcher was assured that students understood all the instructions and items because students did not ask questions about any of them.
On the 22nd of February 2016, participants responded to the questionnaire measuring motivation. On the 23nd of February 2016, the subjects filled out the autonomy questionnaire. The administration and the completion of the questionnaires took 90 minutes on two separate days. Students spent 50 minutes on the motivation questionnaire, and 40 minutes on the autonomy questionnaire. The responses to questionnaires were reviewed separately during their collection to insure that each student has responded to all the items. If a response was not provided, the participant was encouraged to helpfully give his/her answer. Since the instruments were completed in class, the return rate was
The next section describes and discusses the analysis of reliability of the study instruments.
2.6 Analyses of Reliability
Although reliability had already been checked in the preliminary study, we thought it advisable to confirm it. This section presents and explains the analyses of reliability of the subjects’ responses on various five point Likert-scales, for the two questionnaires measuring motivation, and autonomy (see Appendices 2, and 4). Using SPSS 16, these analyses were conducted as it is believed indispensable to prove the reliability of scores on which data description and analysis are based. As a consequence, the researcher precludes “the accumulation of results based on relatively invalid or unreliable measures” (Wilkinson et al., 1999: 6).
The next two subsections report on the overall reliability of the instrument in question following its administration to 76 participants, and then on the analyses of reliability of each of its component subscales.
2.6.1 Reliability of the Motivation Questionnaire
After the administration of the motivation questionnaire to the 76 subjects, the researcher entered the data into an SPSS data file and reversed the negative items (items 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 3and 7).Then, investigator analysed the data to test the overall reliability of the instrument. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for internal consistency was therefore calculated for the 45 items in the motivation questionnaire. The overall reliability of the motivation scale appeared to have good internal consistency, α = 0.82.
After establishing the overall reliability of the motivation questionnaire analyses were made of the instrument subscales. The motivation questionnaire used in this study consisted of 45 items which are divided into seven subscales, as shown in Table 1 below:
TABLE 1: Subscales of the Motivation Questionnaire
Number of Items
|6||Attitudes towards studying English|
It was these seven subscales on which analyses of reliability were carried out. The approach to analysis included the examination of the overall reliability index of each of the seven motivation subscales and discussion of those scales, the scores of which were considered to be unreliable.
It can be seen in Table 2 that the reliability index for the seven subscales ranged from a minimum of 0.25 for the Integrative Motivation subscale to 0.82 for the Instrumental Motivation subscale.
TABLE 2. Reliability Index of Motivation Subscales
|Attitudes towards studying English||0.62|
As has been summarised in table 2 the scores on only four of the seven subscales of the motivation subscale when administered to the 76 participants in this study, can be considered reliable. Three of those four, Instrumental, Parental Influence, and Effort can be regarded straightforwardly as internally consistent as their corresponding Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were above 0.72. The Attitudes towards studying English subscale however, while broadly satisfactory, should be treated cautiously as it just reached the level of 0.62 for overall reliability. Hence, the researcher inspected the values of Item Deleted statistics and found that the deletion of item 30 would increase alpha by .016 which improves the overall reliability of the subscale to reach 0.64.
The three remaining subscales, Integrative, Intrinsic and Extrinsic must be considered unreliable because they failed to reach a satisfactory level of reliability. However, the reliability of these subscales could be increased by the removal of certain items.
The inspection of the Item-Total Statistics for the Integrative Motivation subscale revealed that the deletion of item 2 ‘I study English because it will help me understand English art, literature and culture’ increases Cronbach’s alpha by 0.39. The researcher has also checked the subjects’ responses to this item to find out whether students gave a low rating for this item which might have affected its correlation with other items of the integrative subscale, but it was found that students’ scores varied according to the five point Likert scale. Thus, item 2 was removed to improve the subscale’s reliability α = 0.64.
The Intrinsic Motivation subscale has an internal consistency α = 0.39, but none of the items would substantially affect the overall reliability if they were deleted. The worst offender is item 20, and removing this item would increase alpha by only 0.063 resulting in an unacceptable overall reliability of .45 (George and Mallery, 2003: 231).
Since the overall reliability index of the Intrinsic Motivation subscale did not reach an acceptable level of internal consistency even after the elimination of item 20, the researcher examined the internal consistency of the subscale at the item level to determine the overall satisfactoriness of the subscale. Hughes (1989) suggests an item-total correlation of 0.30 as the criterion necessary for an item to be regarded as relating satisfactorily to the subscale as a whole. However, only two of its seven items met the criterion of .30 item-total correlation (item 28 ‘I study English because I have a desire to learn it’ and item 31 ‘I like the English lectures’). Five items, with a minimum value of 0.001 did not meet that criterion (item 19 ‘I study English because the textbooks and the materials used in class are interesting’, item 20 ‘I study English because learning English is a challenge that I enjoy’, item 21 ‘I study English because the class tasks and activities are enjoyable’, item 27 ‘I study English because I feel superior when I speak it’, and item 36 ‘The English lectures are boring’). Thus, the researcher concludes that the participants have rather different attitudes to these intrinsic aspects of learning.
To eliminate the five poorly correlating items in an attempt to improve the reliability index would minimize the subscale to two items, thus rendering it impractical. Further, the overall reliability index was considered too low for the practical application of the Spearman Brown prophesy formula. Thus it was concluded that the Intrinsic Motivation subscale was not internally consistent.
The Extrinsic Motivation subscale appeared to have a poor internal consistency of α = 0.57, but considering Alpha if Item Deleted statistics reveals that the deletion of item 26 (I study English because it is my parents’ wish) increases alpha by .083, reflecting an acceptable degree of reliability α = 0.65. So this item was removed leaving the Extrinsic subscale with an internal consistency α = 0.65. It is worth mentioning that responses to item 26 differed from responses to the other subscale items because while item 26 asks about an extrinsic aspect before students enrolled at university to study English other items of the subscale are related to benefits after their graduation (item 22: ‘I study English because it is a requirement asked for by most well-known employers’, item 22: ‘I study English because it is a requirement asked for by most well-known employers’, item 24: ‘I study English because being able to speak English will add to my social status’ and item 25: ‘I study English because it will have financial benefits for me’). Item 23 (‘I study English because I need to pass the examinations’) is also related to the immediate benefit of passing exams.
As has been demonstrated here, and is summarized on Table 3, after revision the scores on only six of the seven subscales of the motivation questionnaire, when administered to the 76 subjects in this study, can be considered reliable. Four of those six, Instrumental Motivation, Parental Influence, Extrinsic Motivation and Effort, can be regarded straightforwardly as internally consistent as their Cronbach’s alpha coefficients are either 0.65 or above. The Integrative Motivation and Attitudes towards studying English subscales however, while broadly satisfactory, should be treated cautiously as they just met the criterion level of 0.64 for overall reliability.
TABLE 3. Reliability of Motivation Subscales After Removal of Items
|Attitudes towards studying English||0.64|
The researcher has calculated mean ratings for each subscale across all the items that appeared to have an acceptable reliability. It should be mentioned that when calculating the overall mean for motivation as a whole, the researcher have left out the discarded items and all of the intrinsic subscale.
2.6.2 Reliability of the Autonomy Questionnaire
Following the administration of the Autonomy Questionnaire to 76 subjects, an analysis was made of the overall reliability of the instrument (Cronbach alpha for internal consistency). The overall reliability appeared to show good internal consistency, α = 0.88. According to George and Mallery’s (2003: 231) rules of thumb a Cronbach Alpha coefficient of 0 .88 is a good result. The report of analyses of reliability of scores of the four Autonomy subscales now follows, below.
After the analysis of overall reliability of the Autonomy Questionnaire analyses were made of the Autonomy subscales. The Autonomy Questionnaire used in this study included forty eight items which are divided into four subscales, as shown in Table 4 below.
TABLE 4: Subscales of the Autonomy Questionnaire
|Number of Items||Subscale|
|13||Learners’ responsibilities for their learning|
|11||Learners’ autonomous learning abilities|
|6||Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom|
|18||Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour outside the classroom|
The approach which researcher employed included performing statistical analyses (using SPSS 16) to examine the overall reliability index of each of the four Autonomy subscales and discussing those scales, the scores of which were considered to be unreliable.
As shown in Table 5, the reliability index for the four subscales ranged from a minimum of 0.59 for the ‘Learners’ actual autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom’ subscale to 0.92 for ‘Learners’ autonomous learning abilities’ subscale.
TABLE 5: Reliability Index of the autonomy subscales.
|Learners’ responsibilities for their learning||0.79|
|Learners’ autonomous learning abilities||0.92|
|Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom||0.59|
|Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour outside the classroom||0.82|
All subscales seemed to have good internal consistency indices except ‘Learners’ actual autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom’ which appeared to have a poor Cronbach alpha of 0.59. However, after checking the values of Cronbach’s alpha if items were deleted the reliability of this subscale could be increased by the removal of item 29 (‘how often have you inside class discussed learning problems with classmates?’). The deletion of this item would improve the reliability index of the subscale to reach 0.67. Thus the researcher removed this item and discarded it from being considered in further analyses and discussion of the data.
As has been demonstrated here, and is summarized on Table 6, the scores on all the four subscales of the Autonomy questionnaire, when administered to the 76 subjects in this study, can be considered reliable.
TABLE 6: Summary of the Reliability of the Autonomy Subscales after Removal of Unreliable Items.
|Learners’ responsibilities for their learning||0.79|
|Learners’ autonomous learning abilities||0.92|
|Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom||0.67|
|Learners’ claimed autonomous learning behaviour outside the classroom||0.82|
Given that the overall Cronbach Alpha coefficient is .88 and all the individual subscale coefficients are either above or near 0.70 with a mean of 0.80, the researcher concludes that the autonomy questionnaire is a reliable instrument.
The researcher prepared the students’ responses for data analysis by summing the scores of each subscale (excluding the removed item 29) to derive the overall score for each subscale, and then, the researcher computed these overall subscale scores to derive the overall autonomy score as a whole.
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Are motivated Libyan university English majors autonomous learners? This research question was asked to see if motivated Libyan university English majors are also autonomous learners or not. The researcher (using SPSS 16) reversed the negative items and averaged the scores of each subject across all the items of the autonomy and motivation questionnaires. Then, the researcher obtained the average for each subscale separately.
The researcher used SPSS to draw a scatter plot in order to check visually whether there appears to be a relationship between their total scores of all the motivation questionnaire and those they got on the autonomy scale. Figure 1 below shows a limited degree of correlation between the two variables. It shows that there is an imperfect positive linear relationship between the total subjects’ scores of the motivation scale and their total scores on the autonomy scale because the dots on the graph do not fall on a straight line, but they still form a rising pattern indicating a weak positive relationship.
Fig. 1: The Relationship Between Motivation and Autonomy
After examining the graph the researcher performed a statistical analysis using the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (Pearson r) to check whether the two variables co-vary or not. The researcher found that the participants’ motivation scores and their autonomy scores were positively related but with a low degree of correlation (r = 0.241, p = 0.036). Thus, the more motivated the participants are, the more autonomous they are. The associated probability level of 0.036 indicates that such a result is unlikely to have arisen by sampling error.
In order to better understand the reason for this overall weak result, the researcher also explored the relationships between the motivation subscales and the autonomy subscales to see where any stronger relationships lay. As can be seen in Table 7 below, learners’ claimed degree of responsibility for their learning was found to be moderately and positively related to instrumental motivation (r= 0.293, p= 0.01), intrinsic motivation (r=0.230, p= 0.046), effort (r= .355, p< 0.01), attitudes towards studying English (r= 0.373, p< 0.01), and parental encouragement (r= 0.235, p= 0.04). These relationships indicate that more intrinsically or/and instrumentally motivated learners who have more positive attitudes towards studying English, have encouraging parents and exert more effort tend to claim higher responsibility for their learning.
TABLE 7: Relationships between motivation and autonomy subscales.
Learners’ autonomous learning abilities were found to be positively related to intrinsic motivation (r= .306, p< 0.01), attitudes towards studying English (r= .321, p< 0.01), and parental encouragement(r= 0.380, p< 0.01). This means that more intrinsically motivated learners who have more positive attitudes towards studying English and have encouraging parents claim to be potentially more able to learn autonomously.
Learners’ actual autonomous learning behaviour inside the classroom was found to be positively related to effort only (r=0.581, p< 0.01) while learners’ actual autonomous learning behaviour outside the classroom was found to be related negatively to instrumental motivation (r=- -0.376, p< 0.01) and to parental encouragement (r= -0.331, p< 0.01), and positively to effort (r= 0.528, p<0.01).
The strongest relationship found was between effort and learners actual autonomous behaviour inside (r=.581, p < 0.01) and outside (r= .528, p < 0.01) the classroom. These relatively stronger positive correlations might be due to the fact that the items of these subscales conceptually overlap because both measure the extent to which learners engage in learning activities.
The statistical correlation analysis using the Pearson product moment revealed that the participants’ motivation mean scores and their autonomy mean scores were positively related but with a low degree of overall correlation (r = 0.241, p = 0.036). Thus, the more motivated the participants are, the more autonomous they are. This finding is consistent with previous works by other researchers (Deci and Ryan, 1985; Garcia and Pintrich, 1991; Ushioda, 1996; Spratt et al, 2002; Scharle and Szabó, 2002; Noels, Clément, and Pelletier, 1999; Noels et al, 2000; Noels, 2001; Wu, 2003; and Horváth, 2005).
This result supports previous research which showed that motivation is dependent on learners taking charge of their own learning (Lamb 2001; da Silva 2002; Sakui 2002; Takagi 2003; Ushioda 2003, 2006). For instance, the finding of this study is supported by well-known scholars such as Ushioda (1996: 2-3) who “ascribes to motivation an active functional role” in autonomous learning” and argues that “Autonomous language learners are by definition motivated learners”. Moreover, Ushioda (2003: 99) found that autonomy and motivation interact and she argues that “only under conditions which provide autonomy . . . can learners be brought to . . . view their motivation as emanating from within themselves and to view themselves as agents in its regulation”. In addition, the current study result is also consistent with Garcia and Pintrich’s (1991) study which explored the effects of autonomy on motivation and demonstrated that autonomy was related to all motivational constructs. Moreover, this result is also in line with Spratt et al’s (2002: 2) conclusion that “motivation is a key factor that influences the extent to which learners are ready to learn autonomously” and is consistent with Scharle and Szabó’s (2000: 7) argument that ‘motivation is a prerequisite for learning and responsibility development’.
Several studies have shown that autonomy lead to motivation (e.g. Dörnyei and Csiz´er, 1998; Noels, Cle´ment, and Pelletier, 1999; Noels et al, 2000; Noels, 2001; and Wu, 2003), and others (e.g. Ushioda, 1996 and 2003; Garcia and Pintrich, 1991) have revealed that autonomy fosters motivation. Thus, according to previous research and the fact that the low positive correlation data found in this study (r = 0.241, p = 0.036) between motivation and autonomy could not prove a causal relationship, it seems logical to conclude that motivation and autonomy reinforce each other reciprocally. This conclusion is consistent with Scharle and Szabó, (2000: 7) who argued that the relationship between motivation and autonomy is mutual because they reinforce each other.
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