Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Motivational Goal Orientations and Language Learning Strategies Based on Maehr's Personal Investment Model

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Motivational Goal Orientations and Language Learning Strategies Based on Maehr's Personal Investment Model

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

Motivation has been considered as the most important factor in learning a second language successfully (McInerney & McInerney, 2000). It is a process which begins with a need and leads to a behavior that helps individuals achieve their goals (Melendy, 2008). In SLA, motivation refers to the attempts which are made by individuals in order to learn a language and the positive attitudes that they have towards learning a language (Dornyei, 1994). The issue of achievement goals has recently become the center of attention of many motivation researchers (Uebuchi, 1995) and they are considered as fundamental elements of motivation and learning (Schunk, 2003). Since achievement goal orientation influences students' learning behavior, achievement goal researchers have carried out studies to understand how these goals are related to students' scores (Tanaka & Fujita, 2003), learn ing strategies (Nakano, 2012; Nakayama, 2005; Sato, 2004), learning time (Nakayama et al., 2012), learning beliefs (Nakayama & Heffernan, 2013), and foreign language learning anxiety (Nakayama et al., 2012).

Considering the pivotal role of motivational goals in learning foreign languages and their relationships with effective behavioral and affective variables in learning English, this study investigates the relationship between achievement goal orientations and behavioral factors (i.e. learning strategies and learning time), language learning beliefs, and language learning anxiety in an Iranian EFL setting.

2.Literature Review

2.1 Motivation in Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

Comprehensive studies on second language acquisition theory and research (e.g., Ellis, 2004; Gass & Selinker, 1994; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; Spolsky, 1989) list several factors which explain success in learning foreign languages. These factors include the age of exposure to foreign languages, cognitive or learning style, language aptitude, personality, learning strategies, the environment of learning, as well as motivational and attitudinal factors.

As Bley -Vroman (1989) mentioned in the Fundamental Differences Hypothesis, adult second and foreign language learners not only consciously study linguistic features like pronunciation and grammar, but they also think about non -linguistic matters such as their goals, anxiety, learning beliefs, and strategies to learn the language effectively. Among these non-linguistic factors, motivation has been considered as the most important factor in learning a second language successfully which can influence other factors as well (McInerney & McInerney, 2000). On the other hand, the issue of achievement goals has attracted many motivation researchers' attention too (Uebuchi, 1995).

2.2 Achievement Goal Theory

Achievement goal theory states that learners bring different types of goals like performance goals and mastery goals into the classrooms (Elliot, 2005). Students who follow a mastery goal tend to develop academic competence, while learners who seek a performance goal would like to show their competence relative to others. The modified versions of this theory have included the approachavoidance dimensions (see Elliot, 2005) which led to four kinds of achievement goals: performance approach, mastery approach, avoidance, and performance avoidance.

Although the standards of success might be different, mastery and performance goals focus on the attainment of personal competence. The emphasis on personal competence can be seen in items which are used to utilize these two goals. Learners are asked whether the reason why they would like to study is because the material is interesting to them (mastery approach) or because they want to show that they outperform other students (performance approach) (Dowson & McInerney, 2004). It is agreed upon that the goals of mastery approach are adaptive which lead to deep learning strategies, investment of more effort in school, and motivational engagement (e. …

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