Iranian Parents' Perspectives and Motivational Beliefs towards Their Children's English Language Acquisition

By Ahour, Touran; Gholizadeh, Farideh | Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, December 2015 | Go to article overview

Iranian Parents' Perspectives and Motivational Beliefs towards Their Children's English Language Acquisition


Ahour, Touran, Gholizadeh, Farideh, Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods


Introduction

Interest in and support for second language learning has been strengthened by the growing recognition that proficiency in more than one language benefits both individual learners and the society. Research has found a positive link between second language proficiency and cognitive, school and academic ability (Marcos & Peyton 2000). Numerous research studies on English as a foreign Language (EFL) have explored facilitators and barriers to second language learning as well as strategies to overcome the barriers (Grolnick, Friendly, &Bellas 2009; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler 1997). Some factors that can affect an individual's ability and success in acquisition of an additional language include aptitude, sociolinguistic background, and motivation (Gardner, 1979). Motivation is considered as one of the paramount factors that highly influence the success of a foreign language learner (Dörnyei 1998). Motivation has been referred in the literature as a psychological feature, desire, need, and deriving force that arouses a person to act towards a desired goal(Gardner, 1985). The internal structure of language motivation has been greatly debated and widely studied in the field of English as a foreign language. Gardner and Lambert (1972) distinguished two types of motivation in language learning, instrumental motivation and integrative motivation. Learners with an instrumental motivation learn a second language mainly because of a practical reason or associated benefits, while interactively motivated learners study an additional language to fulfill their pragmatic aspiration; for example, to be able to join a second language group and become involved in their social activities. Different models of motivation have been identified mainly building on the Gardnerian social psychological model (1982). In his socio-educational model, Gardner (1982) highlighted the significant role of motivation in second language acquisition. He defined motivation as "the learner's orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language". Later, Manolopoulou-Sergi's study (2004) confirmed the important role of motivation in additional language learning, and found that motivation can predict the success of a second or an additional language learner. Findings of this study suggested that motivation orientations (instrumental and integrative) are related to a number of psycho- linguistically relevant cognitive activities, particularly information processing.

Generally, it is believed that each person is motivated in a different way, and the emphasis is on the social context and individuals' personal choices (Brown 2007). This is in line with Lambert's social psychological model, which highlights the role of cognitive factors, such as language aptitudes, intelligence and affective factors, such as attitudes and motivation, as individual factors in second language learning.

In addition to the individual factors, several studies have explored how social and cultural context can have a bearing on students' motivations or aspirations to learn a second language(Garn, Matthews; Jolly 2010).To this end, research has long documented a strong relationship between the student's achievement and their family background, such as income, ethnicity and parents' educat ional levels, although the intervening processes are still unclear(Griffith 1996).Accordingly, Garn et al. (2010) distinguished two types of social environments, creating environments and controlling environments, affecting a child's capacity to learn. Cre ating environments help the young learner develop autonomy through learning strategies that enhance the child's sense of control and ownership over their learning as well as increasing their curiosity, persistence, problem solving and self -determination. Whilst controlling environments emphasize on obedience, problem solving, rewards, punishment techniques, and overlook the child's views. These environments discourage the growth of intrinsic motivation in young learners. …

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