Gender differences in second language motivation: An investigation of micro-and macro-level influences

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The present article is part of a large-scale study conducted in Ontario that investigated gender differences in motivation to learn French. However, for this particular article second language (L2) motivation theory is the primary focus. Over the past 30 years of research, the study of L2 motivation has evolved. There appears to be a definite shift away from the societal (macro-level) approaches that dominated the research of the 1970s and 1980s toward an approach that emphasizes the influence of the L2 classroom. The researcher calls into question this evolution in research. A mixed methodology was used to determine if gender differences in a variety of motivational factors exist among Grade 9 French as a second language (FSL) students. Approximately 500 students in Grade 9 completed a questionnaire. The significant findings of the questionnaire were then explored in interviews with students and teachers. Quantitative results indicated significant differences in regard to several motivational factors. However, the qualitative data emphasized that at the root of these differences were societal influences.
Gender differences in second language motivation:
An investigation of micro- and macro-level
Scott Kissau
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The present article is part of a large-scale study conducted in Ontario that
investigated gender differences in motivation to learn French. However, for
this particular article second language (L2) motivation theory is t he primary
focus. Over the past 30 years of research, the study of L2 motivation has
evolved. There appears to be a definite shift away from the societal (macro-
level) approaches that dominated the research of the 1970s and 1980s to-
ward an approach that emphasizes the influence of the L2 classroom. The
researcher calls into question this evolution in research. A mixed methodol-
ogy was used to determine if gender differences i n a variety of motivational
factors exist among Grade 9 French as a second language (FSL) st udents.
Approximately 500 st udents in Grade 9 completed a questionnaire. The sig-
nificant findings of the questionnaire were then explored in interviews with
students and teachers. Quantitative results i ndicated significant differences in
regard to several motivational factors. However, the qualitative data empha-
sized that at the root of these differences w ere societal influences.
Cet article fait partie d’une étude à grande échelle menée en Ontario sur la
motivation comparée des garçons et des filles à apprendre le français en 9ième
année. Le présent article porte surtout sur la théorie de la motivation à ap-
prendre une langue seconde. Au cours des 30 dernières années, l’étude de la
motivation à apprendre une langue seconde n’a pas cessé d’évoluer. Les re-
cherches des années 1970 et 1980 qui soulignaient l’influence de la société
font maintenant place à une approche qui insiste sur l’influence de la salle de
classe. Le chercheur remet en question cette évolution. Une approche mixte
a été employée pour déterminer s’ il existe des différences entre les garçons
et les fill es de 9ième année en Français langue seconde. Environ 500 élèves
de 9ième année ont rempli un questionnaire. Ensuite, on a approfondi les
résultats significatifs du sondage par le biais d’entrevues avec des élèves et
des professeurs. L’analyse des données quanti tatives a mis en évidence une
différence importante entre les deux sexes par rapport à plusieurs facteurs de
motivation. Cependant, les données qualitatives indiquent que ces différences
trouvent leur origine dans l’influence de la société.
Address for correspondence: Scott Kissau, 1670 Maple Avenue, L aSalle, ON, N9J 3L2.
CJAL 9.1
Numerous studies have demonstrated motivation to be one of the main deter-
minants of second language learning achievement (Gardner and Smythe, 1975;
Crookes and Schmidt, 1991; Oxford and Sh earin, 1994). Motivation has been
reported to influence use of language le arning strategies, frequency of inter-
action with speakers of the target language and general langua ge proficiency
(Oxfor d and Sh earin, 1994). In fact, one of the most promin ent researchers in
the area of L2 acquisition, Gardner ( 1985), identified motivation as the single
most influential factor in learning a new langu age. Coh en and rnyei (2002,
p. 172) added: “Motivation is often seen as the key lea rner variable because
without it, nothing much happens.
Given the importance of motivation, the re is a growing c oncern amongst
L2 educators in Canada that our male students are lacking the motivation to
learn French. Several Canadian studies have in fact provided evidence to sug-
gest that males ar e less motivated to learn French than fema le s (Massey, 1994 ;
Netten, Riggs and Hewlett, 1999; Pagliaroli, 1999). The study by Netten et
al. (1999), for example, r a ised concern about male involvement and achieve-
ment in French p rograms. The re sults of the study indicated that boys were less
likely to study French after Grade 9. While 59% of the 380 participants indi-
cated a desire to continue studying Frenc h in Grade 10, the majority of these
participants were female by almost a 3 to 1 ratio. Of the 155 students dropping
French, approxima tely two-thirds we re male.
Although the ab ove-mentioned studies are all of Canad ia n origin, male
disinterest in learning French does not appear to be a problem that is unique
to this country. A British study conducted by Williams, Burden and Lanvers
(2002) further supports the notion th a t males are less motivated to learn French
than females. In this study involving 228 students in Gra des 7 to 9, motivational
differences were investiga ted between adolescent males and females toward
the study of French and G e rman. The results of this study indicated that girls
expressed a significantly higher degree of desire to learn French than did the
boys, and they also put forth more effort to learn the language.
A study by Csizér and Dörnyei (2005a) involving over 8000 13- and 14-
year old Hungarian students provided more rec ent evidence that male students
are less motivated L2 learners. Th e goal of the study was to describe moti-
vational profiles of L2 learners through cluster analysis. By means of a que s-
tionnaire, stu dent attitudes were assessed in regard to five different languages,
including French. Four broad motivational profiles were uncovered. The first
group consisted of the least motivated learners. Stu dents in clusters two and
three were progressively more motivated, and the f ourth cluster consisted of
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
the most motivated stude nts. The results further indicated that males domi-
nated the least motivated clusters. The more motivated clusters, on the other
hand, were largely populated by females.
In response to these conce rns and due to his own experiences as a male
French imm ersion tea cher, the researcher set out to investigate if and why
adolescent male s are, in fact, less m otivated to learn Fren ch than their fe-
male counterpar ts. The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods
to identify and explore gender differences in various factors that influence L2
motivation , so that educato rs m a y be b etter equipped to deal with unmotivated
male students. For more detailed information specific to gender differences in
motivation to learn Fr ench, see Kissau (in press).
While c onducting a thorough literature review of the topic, a definite evo-
lution was noticed in the research on L2 motivation over the p a st 30 yea rs. The
focus of such research during the 1970s a nd 1980s on societal or macro-level
factors influencin g L2 motivation sh ifted in the 1990s toward a more com-
prehen sive approach that incorporated both societal (macro) and classroom-
related (micr o) factors. Second language motivation researchers in the twenty-
first century have continued to shift their a ttention away from societal factors,
placing even greater emphasis on the L2 classroom. Researchers have in fact
begun to further narrow their focus on classroom-related factors by investigat-
ing the motivational in fluence of specific language learning tasks. Based on
the findings of the study investigating gender differences in motivation to learn
French, in the present article the researcher calls into question this narrow fo-
cus on micro-level factors an d the resulting neglect of societal influence.
Literature review
Much of the research on L2 motivation has been built on the work of Gard-
ner (1968, 1975, 1985, 1996, 2001). Gardner hypothesized that an individual
learning a L2 must adopt certain behaviour patterns characteristic of another
cultural group, so attitudes toward that group partly determine success in learn-
ing the L2 (Gardner, 1985). Students were classified as either integratively or
instrumentally oriented. They were co nsidered integratively or ie nted if they
had a positive outlook on the L2 community and L2 culture, to the extent that
they wanted to in tegra te themselves into the L2 culture and become similar to
the L2 sp e akers. On the other hand, students were considered instrume ntally
oriented if they emphasized that they were learning the language for practical
reasons, such as in order to obtain a jo b.
As used by Gardner, attitu des, orientations and motivation were distinc t
concepts. Positive attitudes toward the L2 and the L2 community we re thought
to be antecedents of an integrative orientation. I f individuals have positive
attitudes about French people, for example, they are more likely to want to
CJAL 9.1
immerse themselves in French culture. In the context of L2 learning, motiva-
tion was seen as the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the
languag e because of a desire to do so. Orientation, on the other hand, referr ed
just to the goal. Oxford and Shearin (1994) distinguished between orientation
and m otivation with the analogy of registering to take a language course with
the goal of learning a L2 (orie ntation), and then actually working hard to learn
the L2 when in the course (motivation).
In a study by Gardner, Smythe, Cléme nt and Gliksma n (1976), the re-
searchers found integrative orien tation to be especially im portant in the acqui-
sition of L2 skills for the development o f communicative skills. Measures of
integrative orientation were found to correlate more highly with speech mea -
sures than grades. It was also reported that those students who dropped out
of L2 pr ograms were not simply less able students. The primary reason for
staying in the program appear ed to be an integrative orientation. These find-
ings were later supported by the work of Clément, Gard ner and Smythe (1980),
who suggested that individuals who possess an integrative orientation are more
likely to speak with target language users, which in turn would improve their
self-confidence with the target language.
The importance attached to integrative and instrumental or ie ntation has,
however, met with criticism. A number of studies have found that significant
correlations b etween type of orientation and language proficiency d isappeared
when other influences such as age were statistically controlled (Au , 1988;
Crookes and Schmidt, 1991).
Dörnyei and Csizér (200 2) have taken issue with Gardner’s definition of
integrative orien ta tion. According to Gardner (1985), an integratively oriented
individual was one who wish ed to better get to know or communicate with
members of the target language community. Following this line of thought,
Dörnyei (1994) suggested that an integrative orientation might be of little use
to foreign language students who have little opportunity to communicate with
members of the target language community. However, a powerful integrative
orientation has been detected in foreig n language learn ers, such as Chin ese
learners of English in China who had little or no contact with any English-
speaking people (Dörnyei, 2003). Dörnyei and Csizé r (2002) have contended
that a n integrative orientation may not relate to a n actual desire on the part
of the learner to integrate with the target languag e community as described
by Gardner (1968, 1985, 2001), but rather to an identification with attributes
associated with that comm unity.
The results of a more rece nt study by Csizér and Dörnyei (2 005b) provided
further evidence that Gardner’s view of integrative orientation is too n arrowly
defined and does n ot include all language learning contexts. The researchers
made freq uent use of the term “ideal L2 self in order to explain the desire to
integrate with the L 2 culture in diverse learning contexts, even in the absence
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
of contact with native speakers of the target language. Lo oking at the concept
from this perspective, if one’s ideal self is associated with learning the L2, one
could be described as integratively oriented.
In 1985 Gardner published the Socioe ducational Model, a revised version
of h is theory on mo tivation. This model continues to stress the link between
orientation and L2 achievement. However, the link is now mediated by mo-
tivation. In other words, the fact that a lan guage lear ner is integratively or
instrumentally oriented is not sufficient. According to Gardner, in addition to
possessing an integrative or an instrumental orientation, the learner must also
be motivated (Gardner, 1985). Motivation in this context refers to the combi-
nation of effort and desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus
favourable attitu des toward learning the language.
Trem blay and Gardner (1995) further revised the Socioeduca tional M odel,
placing even less stress on the role of L 2 orientation. The researchers asserted
that attitudes toward the target language and its speakers influe nce valence, the
value attached to learning the language, as well as goal setting and self-efficacy,
all of which are believed to influence motivation . In other words, a number of
other var ia bles are believed to mediate the relationship between attitudes and
motivation .
In his most recent version of the Socioeducation al Model, Gard ner (2001)
continued to d ownplay the significance of an integrative orientation. An in-
tegrative or ie ntation and attitudes toward the learning situation are now con-
sidered correlated variables that influence motivation, and that motivation in
turn, along with language aptitude, have an influence on achievem ent. Gardner
stated that an integrative orientation is a complex of attitudes that involves a
favourable attitu de toward the target langua ge commu nity, as well as an o pen-
ness to other groups in general. In this latest model, Gardner (2001) empha-
sized the role of motivation, not integrative orientation . The researcher stated
that integrativeness and attitudes toward the learning situation are supports
for m otivation, but it is motivation that is responsible fo r achievement. The
researcher also acknowledged that the Socioeducational Model is not compre-
hensive and does not account for many other varia bles that influence a learner’s
L2 motivation: “The mode l is silent with resp e ct to o ther attributes of th e mo-
tivated individual” (Gardner, 2001, p. 6).
It is in regar d to this last point that Gardner’s work has received the great-
est amount of resistance. Following the numerous and influential studies con-
ducted by Gardner and his associates throughout the 1970s and 1980s, in th e
1990s researchers began to question the narrow approach of Gardners So-
cioeducational M odel (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991; Dörnyei, 1994; Oxford
and Shearin, 1994; Johnstone, 199 5). Factors influencing L2 motivation are
thought to exist at two levels. There is the societal or macr o-level that Gardner
focused on, but there is also the micro- or classroom-level of factors. Jo hnstone
CJAL 9.1
(1995) argued that Gardner’s model, incorporating instru mental and integrative
orientations, is grounded in the social milieu rather than in the foreign language
classroom. While recognizing the influence of G a rdner’s research, it must also
be acknowledged that f or the past decade researchers (Crookes and Schmidt,
1991; Oxfo rd an d Shearin, 1994; Dörnyei, 2001, 2003) have been calling for a
broade r, more c la ssroom-friendly approach to L2 motivation research, one that
allows for gre ater input from the classroom teacher.
Recent trends
Recent studies involving the L2 student’s willingness to communicate (WTC)
represent an attempt to design a more comprehensive and classroom-friendly
approa c h to L2 motivation research. As define d by MacInty re, Baker, Clé-
ment and Donovan (2002), WTC refers to an individual’s readiness to enter
into discourse at a particular time with a specific person. The WTC construct
is composed of a variety of linguistic and psychological variables, inclu ding
self-confidence, desire to affiliate with a person, interpersonal motivation, in-
tergroup attitude s, motivation, communicative c ompetence an d a number of
other personality traits. Thus, the model attempts to incorporate a number of
well established classroom and societal influences (Dörnyei, 2001).
Another recen t trend that focuses on the temporal nature of learner motiva-
tion in the language classroom also represents a broa der and mo re c la ssroom-
friendly appr oach to L2 motivation research. This line of research acknowl-
edges the fluctua ting nature of motivatio n. As any experienced L2 teacher
will attest, stude nt motivation in the L2 classroom can change not o nly from
one year to the next, but even from one activity to the next. Such research
also brings to light concerns raised by Peirce (1995) in regard to Gardner’s
Socioeduc ational Model. Peirce felt that Gardner (1985) por trayed learners
unidimensionally and in capable of change. They were either integratively or
instrumentally oriented, motivated or unmotivated.
The te mporal d imension of motivation was thou ght by rnyei (2001,
2003) to be o f particular importance in an area such as language learning that
can take place over a number of years. In response, Dörnyei (20 01, 2003)
developed a process-oriented mode l of L2 motivation which organizes the var-
ious motivational influences along a seque nce of events in initiating, enacting,
and sustaining motivation. This model emphasizes the influence of a wide va-
riety of both classroom and societal factors, such as expectancy for success,
attitudes toward th e L2 com munity, goal setting, parental, teacher and peer
influences, an d appraisal of the learning experience.
Most rec e nt research on L2 motivation has continued to stress the im-
portance of the micro- or classroom-level, only with a more narrow f ocus.
Instead of looking at various course-specific factors influencing L2 motiva-
tion, su ch as the influen c e of the teacher, several research e rs now appear to be
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
directing their attention to task-specific factors (Dörnyei, 2003). The growing
interest in task-specific motivation appears to be due in part to the practical
classroom implications of such research. While certain motivational attributes
are gener a lized across learnin g situations and are relatively fixed, thus difficult
to change, learner motivation varies considerably according to different learn-
ing tasks (Dörnyei, 2001). As a case in po int, Gardner, Masgoret, Tennant and
Mihic (2005) investigated the possibility for change amongst 197 university
students enrolled in a year-long in te rmediate level French course in regard to
a variety of variables b elieved to in fluence L2 motivation, such as integrative
and instrumental orientations, language a nxiety, motivation and attitudes to-
ward the learning situation. While the researchers found that the possibility for
individual chan ge was not great in regard to any of the variables, th e greatest
likelihood for change was found amongst variables associated with the learning
env ironment. The motivational factor the least likely to change was re ported
to be integrative orientation, and the factor offering the greatest po ssibility for
change was attitudes toward the learning situation.
A comprehensive approach to L2 motivation was employed in the study inves-
tigating gender differences in motivation to learn French. Despite the recent
trend focusing specifically on classroom-related factors, a model was d e signed
that included bo th micro- and macro-level factors found to influence L2 mo-
tivation. In the data an a lysis, a number of these factors were composed of
sub-scales (in brackets). As a result, a total of 18 different variables were in-
vestigated. These variables include desire, m otivational intensity, integrative
and instrumental orientations, self-efficacy, anxiety, self-determination (effort,
luck and context), intrinsic/extrinsic motivation (challenge, mastery, curiosity),
perceptions of French, encouragement to study French (parental, teacher and
peer), goal salience (goal frequency, goal specificity) and tolerance of ambigu-
ity. A mixed methodology was then employed to identify and explore gender
differences in regard to the various motivational factors included in the mo del.
All Grade 9 stude nts from a southwestern Ontario school board enro lled in
core French were invited to participate in the study. In total, 490 students par-
ticipated. Of these students, 254 w e re females and 236 were males. The age
of the students ranged from 13 to 18, but most were 14 years old (74%) at the
time of the study. Of the 490 students, 122, or approximately 25%, indicated
that they planned to study French in Grade 10. Two hundred and two stud ents
had not yet decided (41.2%), and 166 students (33.9%) stated that they did not
intend to continue studying French after Grade 9.
CJAL 9.1
The stude nt-participants came f rom urban and rural areas, from diverse
socio-economic backgrounds, and possessed a wid e variety of cognitive abil-
ities and a ttitudes to L2 study. This large and diverse group of participants
provided a fairly representative cross-section of Grad e 9 students in Ontario.
From the 490 student-participants, eight students (f our females and four
males) were selected to participate in interviews. Stratified random sampling
was used to select these students in order to ensure that males and fema le s
were equally repre sented. The eight students were selected from urban, rural,
inner-city and su burban high schools in an effort to ensure the sample was
more representative of the population.
Grade 9 FSL teachers whose students took part in the study were also
asked to participate in interviews. The se teachers were chosen in order to help
explain and elaborate on the r e sults obtained from the student questionnaires.
The six teache rs (three females and three males) who were interviewed repre-
sented a very diverse sample of professionals. Not only were they diverse in
their work locations, but also in their ag es, experiences and responsibilities.
Total teaching experience among the six teacher-participants equaled 93 years
of teaching French, and individually ranged from as little as three years ex-
perience to over 30 years. Three of the teachers were head of the Language
Departmen t at their respective schools, and one of the teachers also tau ght
Quantitative data were collected from the student-participants with the use of
a questionnaire (see Appendix). Although a brief section of the questionnaire
sought demographic info rmation from the participants (age, sex and future
plans for studying French), the primary goal of the que stionnaire was to evalu-
ate student perceptions toward the motivational factors. Students were required
to circle a number on a 7-point Likert scale that best represented their response
to a number of items pertaining to the motivational factors. An answer of 7
would indicate strong agreement and an answer of 1 strong disagreement. For
the purpose of this article, items in the questionnaire were organized under
heading s to clarif y the relationship between the items and the motivational
factors being measured. The questionnaire was an adaptatio n of a variety of
instruments. Inf ormation pertaining to each instrument, including reliability
coefficients (in parentheses), is provided below.
The Attitude/Motivation Test Batte r y (AMTB) The AMTB, designed by
Gardner, Clément, Sm ythe and Smythe (1979), provided the measure for Mo-
tivational Intensity (.82), Desire to Learn French (.89), In tegra tive Orientation
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
(.86), I nstrumental Orientation (.83), French Class Anxiety (.77) and Parental
Encouragement (.89).
Causal Attribution Measure The Causal Attribution Measure designed by
Trem blay and Gardner (1995) is associated with the conce pt of self-determin-
ation. It assesses students’ feelings of control (internal or external) over events
in the language classroom . The three scales used to m easure self-deter mination
are Effort (.73), Context (.70), and Luck (.78). A h igh score in regard to Effort
would indicate an individual who ascribes failure in French class to a lack
of effort, and thus displays an internal locus of control. High scores on the
measures for Context and Luck would indicate someone who attributes su c cess
and failure in French class to externa l sources such as the level of d ifficulty
or lu ck.
Goal Salience Measure The Goal Salience Measure was also designed by
Trem blay an d G ardner (1995) and is used to measure Goal Specificity (.73)
and Goal Frequ ency (.78). High scores on this measure would indicate the
establishment of specific goals with re spect to the French course and the use
of frequent goal strategies to learn Fren ch.
Self-Report Scale of Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Orientation This scale de-
signed by Harter (1981) measures intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Three
sub-scales, Challenge (.86), M astery (.73) and Curiosity (.69), were used as
part of the measure. A high score in these sub-scales is revealing a preference
for challenging work, motivation to learn for one’s own satisfaction and an
internal curiosity.
Grade 9 French Survey The sub-scale, Peer and Teacher Encourag ement
(.72), o riginated from the Grade 9 Fre nch Survey (Ne tten et al. 1999). The
sub-scale assesses the degree of encouragement students perceive themselves
to receive from tea chers and peers to study French.
The sub-scale, Self-efficacy (.84), also originated fro m the Grade 9 French
Survey (Netten et al. 1999 ). The su b-scale assesses student judgm e nt of capa-
bilities in FSL.
Student Percept ions of the French Language (.82) This scale was designed
by the researcher to uncover differe nces between genders in how the Fre nch
languag e is perceived. A high score would indica te a more negative perception
of th e language.
CJAL 9.1
Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity (.90) The Second Language
Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (Ely, 1995) was designed to measure individ-
ual differences in a L2 learning environment. A high sco re on this measure
would indicate a low toleran ce of the ambig uity often found in L2 classrooms.
Followin g the quantitative phase o f the study, qualitative data were collected
via interviews. The eigh t student and six tea cher interviews lasted 30–45 min-
utes each. Due to time limits on the interviews imposed by the pa rticipating
school board, motivational factors in the quantitative pha se of the study where
male and female responses wer e quite similar were not pursued in the inter-
views. During the interviews, a number of o pen-ended questions were asked.
Questions pertaining to each motivational factor investigated followed a very
similar format. Without inform ing the pa rticipants of the quantitative results,
they were initially asked wha t ge nder differences, if any, they noticed in re-
gard to the motivational factor in their FSL classroom. They were then asked
to speculate why, in their opinions, possible gender differences may exist in
regard to this area, and what they felt could be done to address such possible
differences. The data provid ed by the interviews were intended to not only help
validate the quantitative findings, but also to elaborate upon these findings, to
explore the reasons behind these gender differences and to provide possible
Data analysis
A Discr iminant Fu nction Analysis (DFA) was performed on the data obtained
from the questionnaires using 18 variables as predictors of mem bership in two
groups (Males a nd Fema le s) . This analysis helped to determine (1) which vari-
ables discriminate males from females, (2) th e relative importance of each
indepen dent variable when examining gender differences and (3) the ability
to successfully classify males and females based on these variables. Overall,
the findings allow for the building of a profile of male and female students with
respect to French language studies.
The data provided by the interviews were then analyzed. In a man ner con-
sistent with data analysis procedures in groun ded the ory (Glaser, 1992), the
researcher compared the data, looking for themes to emerge.
Quantitative results
The correlations for each variable with the standardized canonical discrimi-
nant functions are provided in Table 1. The variables were ranked fr om the
strongest predictor of the sex of the student to the we akest. The loading ma-
trix of cor relations between pred ic tors and discriminant functions, as seen in
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
Table 1, suggests that the best predictor for distinguishing between males and
females in Grade 9 core French is their Desire to Learn French. In other words,
a student- participant’s sex could be most accurately predicted by his/he r re-
sponses to the items that pertained to Desire to Learn French. This variable
had a loading in excess of .75. The female students responded much more
favourably to items pertaining to Desire to Learn French than did the males.
Student r esponses to the items that dealt with Integrative Orientation (.641)
and Motivational Intensity (.508) were also relatively accurate predictors of the
sex of the student and contributed to this discrim inant function. Again, the fe-
male students responded much more positively than did the male students. On
the other hand, the Discriminant Function Analysis showed Mastery (.001),
French Class Anxiety (.017) and Tolerance o f Ambiguity (.081) to be the
least related to the sex of the student. A student’s sex could be least accurately
predicted based upon his/her responses to the items that pertained to these three
indepen dent variables. This analysis allowed for the construction of a profile of
the male and the female student. Male students are characterized by less desire
to learn Fren c h, a lower sense of integrative orientation and lower motivational
intensity. In fact, all but a small number of the 18 variables investigated had
a loading in excess of .30, and as such, contributed to the p rofile of the male
student and the female student. Although the weightings reported wer e lower
than those previously men tioned for Desire to Learn French, Integrative Ori-
entation and Motivational Inte nsity, males and females still did respond quite
differently in regard to all variables except those pertaining to Challenge, Con-
text, Tolerance of Am biguity, French Class Anxiety and Mastery.
Qualitative results
The qualitative data obtain ed during the interviews, while successful in vali-
dating the quantitative findings for the variab le s where significant gend er dif-
ferences were reported, seemed to highlight one particular area. During dis-
cussions of possible gender differences in a variety of factors influencing L2
motivation , students and teachers alike were frequently commenting on macro-
level factors, specifically societal perceptions of French.
The message that French is perceived by boys as a female domain was no t
only conveyed by the stu dents while completing questionn a ires, but also by 11
of the 14 individuals interviewed. L arge discrepancies in the number of males
and females en rolled in senior French courses, and also in the number of males
and females that teach these courses, were routinely provided by teachers and
students as reasons for these gender differences. Another frequently mentioned
reason by both teachers and stude nts was that of traditional views of what is
appropriate for a boy as co mpared to what is appropriate for a girl. The words
of an experienced male French teacher summarized this point: “There’s still
a lot of sexist thinking that a man doesn’t learn languages. A man does math
CJAL 9.1
Table 1: Standardize d canonical discrimin ant function coefficients
Variable Coefcient
Desire .759
Integrative Orientation .641
Motivational Intensity .508
Goal Frequency .496
Self-efficacy .476
Peer and Teacher Encouragement .473
Luck .472
Perceptions of French .462
Goal Specificity .406
Parental Encouragement .391
Curiosity .366
Instrumental Orientation .307
Effort .301
Challenge .240
Context .236
Tolerance of Ambiguity .081
French Class Anxiety .017
Mastery .001
or engine e ring, or whatever. Sexist behaviour still pla ys a great role. Learning
French, it’s not perceived as a man’s job.
The ab ove quote cannot be emphasized enough because its repercussions
were felt through out the study. Student perceptions of French were d eemed by
teachers and students to be mere reflections of societal perceptions of French ,
and societal perceptions were mentioned in interviews as an underlying rea-
son behind gender differences in every variable investigated in the student and
teacher interviews.
The quantitative analysis of the data would seem to support the comprehe n-
sive view o f L2 motivation employed in the stu dy. Statistical analyses revealed
that every factor incorporated in this model was functionally related to a stu-
dent’s decision whether or not to study French the following year. Stud ents
who repo rted more positive scores on items pertaining to Goal Sp ecificity, for
example, were more likely to study French in Grade 10 than tho se whose re-
sponses were more negative. Th e same could be said for every other factor
incorporated in this broad approach to L2 motivation research. The need for
L2 motivation research to look beyond G a rdner’s model, which focused on
societal influence, was further suppo rted by th e qualitative data. Students and
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
teachers alike were in agreement that the many classroom-related factors incor-
porated in the study, such as goal-setting, encouragement, self-determination,
self-efficacy and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, were all influenc ing student
motivation to learn Fr ench.
However, while acknowledging the need for a broad approach to L2 m o-
tivation research, one that incorporates both macro- and micro-level factors,
underlying themes in the qualitative da ta seem ed to be drawing attention back
to Gardner’s model. After carefu l analysis of the qualitative data, it became
evident that societal factors were significantly influencing classroom-related
As th e study progressed, it became appa rent that traditional, societal views
of what is appropriate for a male and what is ap propriate for a female were
weighing significantly on the results. Boys were reporting that they felt less
capable tha n girls in French because society has told the m in no uncertain
terms that they are not supposed to be as capable. Boys reported being less
interested in learning about French culture because society has made it clear
that that is more of a female concer n. They felt that they had to be lucky to do
well in French, once again, because society has let it be known that it is not
“normal” for a boy to do well in French. Instead of admitting to be different, or
unlike other “real” boys, males attribute their successes in Fr e nch to external
sources like luck. In the end, societal perceptions were found to influ e nce all 13
of the 18 variables where gender differences were reported in the Discriminant
Function Analysis.
The fear of negative societal appraisal as a possible explanation for male
disinterest in French class lends further su pport to Gardne rs concept of in-
tegrative orientation and more specifically, the previously mentioned research
by Csizér and rnyei (2005b) involving ideal selves. A n important aspect of
one’s ideal self is not only what one would like to become, but more to the
point here, what one is afraid of becoming. Aspiring to become their “ideal
selves”, boys steer clear of activities, such as French class, that may come with
negative associations for males.
Although these findings lend some support to Gardner’s Socioeducatio nal
Model that emphasizes the role of societal factors, they also point out its in-
herent weaknesses. Social-p sychologica l models like Gardner’s give th e false
impression that individual lea rners can choose whether or not they wish to
“integrate” in to the target language culture. Tollefson (1991) stated that social-
psychological mo dels in L2 ac quisition imply that learners are free to make
choices about why they interact with speakers of the target language or why
they are motivated to learn the language. It became increasingly clear durin g
the student interviews that many boys were not truly free to make c hoices. The
stigma attach ed to the French langua ge was preventing even those boys who
may have been intere sted in learning French from pursuing their studies in the
CJAL 9.1
languag e. Tollefson criticized these mode ls for ignoring the power of societal
factors that often dictate the language learner’s decision.
Flaws in Gardner’s model may in fact extend to include its emphasis on
learner attitudes toward the target language community. While positive student
attitudes are undeniably an important compone nt of L2 motivation, negative
societal perception s were actually found in the study to override positive atti-
tudes. Male students who wanted to le a rn French, who liked French and who
were good at it, were bowing to societal pressures and abandoning their pur-
suit of learning the language. A comment made by a department head at one
of the participating schools clearly demonstrates this message: “I’ve got Gra de
9 male students who like French and who are doing really well, but who are
thinking, you know, ‘Why am I going to pursue something, if th ere is going to
be som e negative backlash?”
Limitations o f the study
It mu st be acknowledged that while it was a stated goal of this study to broaden
the concept of L2 m otivation beyon d Gardner’s Socioeducational Model, one
component of Gardners model was actually omitted from the study. Gardner’s
influential model has three main compo nents: motivation, integrative/instru-
mental orientation and attitudes toward the learning situation (Gardner, 1985).
The third c omponent of this model, attitude s toward th e learning situ a tion,
was not inc luded in the pre sent study. The researcher was required to remove
this component due to reticence on the part of the participating school board.
Elements related to this third, and smallest co mponen t of Gardner’s model,
deal specifically with student attitudes toward their French teacher, as well as
toward various French class activities (Gardner et al., 1979). The school board
involved in this study did not wish to have its students appraising its teachers
or its classroom activities. In order to obtain perm ission to conduct this study,
the researcher was required to remove the items pertaining to attitudes toward
the learning situation, which were deeme d inappropriate by the school board.
In this researcher’s opinion, the removal of the third c ompone nt of Gard-
ner’s definition, while unfortunate, did not adversely affec t the ou tc omes of
the study. One of the studys strongest finding s was that classroom experiences
and student attitudes are of r elatively less significanc e than soc ie ta l percep-
tions. Male students involved in this study who had positive attitudes toward
French culture and French class were nevertheless reporting that they were not
motivated to learn French, for fear of so cial reper cussions.
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
Implications and ap plications
In a period of time when L2 motivation re search is growing more and more
interested in micro-level or classroom-related factors, this study has drawn at-
tention back to the importance of societal influence. While classroom-related
factors were also foun d to be influential, the pervasive influence of society
on the study’s results was undeniable. Societal perceptions were discoura g-
ing even those students who enjoyed French from studying the lan guage. In
light of this finding, researc hers need to re-open the debate over macro- and
micro-level factors in L2 motivation. When d esigning research models of L2
motivation , researc hers should not overlook the influence of society.
Although factors existing at the societal level we re found to be highly
influential, it is not this researcher’s intention to minim iz e the influenc e of
classroom factors influencing L2 motivation or to present micro- and macro-
level factors in a binary opposition. In fact, another contribution of this study
is the realization that classro om, or micro-level factors, and societal (m acro-
level) factors are mu tually influential. Co mments made during student and
teacher interviews suggested that elements of the micro-level, the FSL class-
room, are, in fact, helping to uphold many of the societal perceptions of French
that are negatively influencing stud ents. Modifications made at the classroom-
level, for example, may h e lp to change societal perceptions of French, which
in return may have a beneficial im pact on other classroom-related factors. For
instance, it was thought by several student participants that if more ma le s wer e
seen in the textbooks, and if mor e traditionally male top ics we re discussed
in the classroom, French may no longer be perceived by society as a fe male
domain. A classroom-related consequen c e of this societal change in percep-
tion could be that male students have greater desire to learn the language and
exhibit more confidence in doing so.
The study’s results d emonstrating the influence of both mac ro- and micro -
level factors also help to further validate the work of a growing numbe r of
researchers (Dörnyei, 1994; Oxford and Shearin, 1994; Siegel, 2003). Dörnyei,
for example, suggested analysis of factors influencing L2 motivation at the lan-
guage status level (macro-level), as well as at the learner and learning situation
level (micro-level). In fact, recent research involving task-specific m otivation,
that has attempted to move away from societal facto rs and focus narrowly on
classroom-related factors, seems to have actua lly reinforced the notion that one
level of factors cannot be separated fro m the other. Researchers (D örnyei and
Kormos, 2000; Dörnyei, 2001; Julkunen, 2001) have found task-specific mo-
tivation to be a combination of trait and state motivation. State motivation is
thought to be influenced by classroom-re la ted factors such as task demands and
the emotional state of the learner prior to the task (anxiety, satisfaction). Trait
motivation , on the other hand, is said to be a combination of numerous factors,
CJAL 9.1
many of which are societal in natur e , including integrative o rientation, the de-
sire to meet and get to know members of the L2 community. Thus, even at the
most narrowly focused level of the classro om, both micro- a nd macro-levels of
influence are present.
Building upon the trad itional and wide ly-used mo del of L2 motivation in-
troduced by Gardne r (1975), the pr esent study used a broad approach to L2
motivation , one that included a number of societal and classroom-related fac-
tors that have been found to influ ence L2 motivation. In so doing, the stu dy
has respon ded to a growing demand in the research community for a more
classroom-friendly approach to L2 motivation (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991;
Dörnyei, 1994; Oxford an d Shearin, 1994; Johnstone, 1995).
Although the findings d o strengthen the argument for a broad, more class-
room- friendly appr oach to L2 motivation, the data , particularly in the qualita-
tive phase, clearly revealed factors at the societal or macro-level to be highly
influential. Wh ile gender differences were consistently foun d in regard to a
number of classroom-related factors, the qualitative data often suggested th a t
the impetus beh ind such gender differences was societal in na ture. It appeared
that how French is perceived by society at large not only influences how stu-
dents perceive French, but also influences a number of other classroom-related
factors that have been foun d to influ e nce L2 motivation.
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Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
Student Questionnaire
Section I
Your sex: Male Female
When were you born? Month: Year:
Sex of your present French teacher: Male Female
Do you intend to continue studying French in Grade 10?
1. Yes 2. Unsure/Undecided 3. No
Section 2
For each of the following statements circle the number which best represents your an-
strongly moderately slightly neutral slightly moderately strongly
disagree disagree disagree agree agree agree
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Motivationa l I ntensity
1. When I am studying French, I i gnore distractions and
stay on task.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I really work hard to learn French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I make a point of trying to understand all the French I
see and hear.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I keep up to date with French by working on it almost
every day.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. When I have a problem understanding something we
are learning in my French class, I always ask the teacher
for help.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I approach my Fr ench homework in a random and un-
planned manner.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. I don’t bother trying to understand the complex aspects
of French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I don’t bother checking my corrected assignments in
French class.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. I tend to give up w hen a French lesson gets off track. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. I don’t pay too much att ention to the feedback I get in
French class.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Desire to Learn French
1. I w ish I had begun studying French at an early age. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I w ish I were fluent in French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
CJAL 9.1
3. I want to learn French so w el l that it becomes second
nature to me.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I would like to learn as much French as possible. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. If it were up to me, I would spend all my time learning
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. Knowing French isn’t really an important goal in my
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. To be honest, I really have little desire to learn French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I sometimes daydream about dropping French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. I haven’t any great wish to learn more than the basics
of French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. As I get older, I find I’m losing any desire I had in
knowing French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Integrative Orientation
1. Studying French is important to me because it will al-
low me to be more at ease with fellow Canadians who
speak French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. Studying French is important to me because it will al-
low me to meet and speak with more and varied people.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. Studying French is important to me because it will
enable me to understand and better appreciate French
Canadian art and literature.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in French class. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. Studying French is important to me because I will be
able to participate more freely in the activities of other
cultural groups.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Instrumental Orientation
1. Studying French is important to me because I’ll need i t
for my future career.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. Studying French is important to me because it will
make me a more knowledgeable person.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. Studying French is important to me because it will
someday be useful i n getting a good job.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. French is important because people w ill respect me
more if I have a knowledge of a foreign language.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
French Class Anx iety
1. It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in French class. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking in
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I always feel that the other students speak French better
than I do.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
4. I get nervous and confused when I am speaking i n
French in class.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I am afraid the other students will laugh at me when I
speak French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Parental Enco urageme nt
1. My parents really encourage me to study French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. My parents try to help me with my French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. My parents feel that since I live in Canada, I should
learn French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. My parents feel t hat I should devote more time to my
French studies.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. My parents show considerable interest in my French
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. My parents encourage me to practice my French as
much as possible.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. My parents have stressed the importance French will
have when I leave school.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. My parents feel that I should study Fr ench all through
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. My parents feel that I should really try to learn French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. My parents urge me to seek help from my teacher if I
am having problems with my French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Self-determina tion
1. I can overcome the obstacles of learning French if I work
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. If I receive a poor mark in French, it i s because I didn’t
study much.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. At times when I don’t succeed in French exercises as
much as I want to, it is due t o a lack of effort on my part.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. When I receive a poor grade in French it is because the
teacher failed to make the course interesting.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. The reason that my French grades are not higher is be-
cause French is a difficult subject.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. When I get a poor grade in French class it is because the
teacher presented complicated material.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. If I do well in French, it is because I am lucky. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
CJAL 9.1
2. My success in French is due to destiny. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. My success in French depends on good breaks. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Goal Salience
Goal Specificity
1. I don’t have any specific intentions when it comes to
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I have a clear idea of how much French I want to learn. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I have a specific goal of how much French I want to
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I don’t know w hat my purpose of studying French is. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I often think of what I want to accomplish in my French
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I don’t have any specific plans when it comes to learn-
ing French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. When it comes to learning F r ench, my goals change all
the time.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I have planned out well what I want to achieve in my
French course.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Goal Frequency
1. When I study French, I rarely follow a plan. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I sometimes ask f or advice on t he best way to learn
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I often make a list of things I have t o do in my French
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. It is of great benefit to me to have a course schedule in
French class.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I don’t spend much time thinking about my goals to
learn French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. When I study French I often refer to a goal. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. I rarely take the time to think about my French learning
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I rarely follow a time schedule when I study French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Intrinsic/Extrinsic Orientation
1. I prefer hard, challenging work. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I like difficult problems. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I like to learn as much as I can. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I do not like new, difficult work. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I nd difficult work interesting. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Gender differences in L2 motivation Kissau
6. I do not like hard school subjects. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. I usually read because I have to and not because I am
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I sometimes do extra projects to learn. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I like to work to learn new things. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I rarely ask questions when I want to learn new things. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I enjoy working on solving problems. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I like learning about things that interest me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. I like to figure things out myself. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I usually ask my teacher to help me with my mistakes. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I prefer to ask for assistance when solving hard prob-
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I usually try to figure out assignments on my own. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I prefer to plan things myself when completing assign-
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I often seek out help when completing school work. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Peer and Teacher Encouragement
1. I have been encouraged by my teachers to continue
studying French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I think my teachers feel French is as important as other
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I think my friends feel it is important to learn French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. My friends make fun of me for l earning French. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I feel that I have been encouraged more by my teach-
ers to study other subjects, such as Math, Science and
Computers than French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Student Perceptions of French
1. I think girls are better at learning French than boys. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. French is a gentle and pleasant sounding language. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I think French is more suitable for girls than boys. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. The French language is for sissies. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I am afraid of what people will think of me i f I study
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. I expect to do well in French class. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
CJAL 9.1
2. I feel that I can write well enough in French to describe
an event, or a person, or tell a story.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. I feel that I can identify the main points in a French con-
versation or passage.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I feel that I am able to understand a conversation in
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I feel that I can speak well enough in French to make
myself understood on certain topics.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Tolerance o f Ambiguity
1. When I am reading something in French, I feel impa-
tient when I don’t totally understand the meaning.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. It bothers me that I don’t get everything the teacher says
in French.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. When I write French compositions, I don’t like it when
I can’t express my ideas exactly.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. It is frustrating that sometimes I don’t understand com-
pletely some French grammar.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I don’t like the feeling that my French pronunciation is
not quite correct.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I don’t enjoy reading about something in French that
takes a while to figure out.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. It bothers me that even t hough I study French grammar,
some of it is hard to use i n speaking and writing.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. When I am writing in French, I don’t like the fact that I
can’t say exactly what I want.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. It bothers me when the teacher uses a French word I
don’t know.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. When I am speaking in French, I feel uncomfortable if
I can’t communicate my idea clearly.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11. I don’t li ke the fact that sometimes I can’t nd French
words that mean the same as some words in English.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12. One thing I don’t like about reading in French i s having
to guess what the meaning is.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • ... For the purpose of analysis of the data and exploring the answer to the question with the help of evidences, the variables were taken from Kissau (2006). Therefore, the questionnaire was distributed to the male and female participants of undergraduate level who were studying in the second semester of their BS programs. ...
    ... From this population, a sample of 39 males and 39 females was taken, and they were provided with the questionnaires. The questionnaire has been taken from Kissau (2006) where the variables are set according to the difference judging micro and macro factors influencing English learning as the second language on gender level. The study, therefore, highlights the fact that there is a difference in motivation of learning English as a second language at the gender level in Pakistani context, who are continually being influenced by individual and contextual factor of their Pakistani society. ...
    ... As mentioned earlier, the present study is to explore the motivation level in both the genders. In this case, the immense literature can be related, see e.g., Gardner (1968Gardner ( , 1985Gardner ( , 1996Gardner ( , 2001, Clément, Gardner and Smythe (1977), Dörnyei (1998Dörnyei ( , 2003, Baker and MacIntyre (2000), Clément and Donovan (2002), Kobayashi (2002), Ushida (2005), Kissau (2006), Mori and Gobel (2006), Dörnyei (2009), Bernard (2010, Zeynali (2012),Dergisi (2012) and Gardner (1968Gardner ( , 1985Gardner ( , 1996Gardner ( , 2001. Gardner (1985) hypothesized a notion that the second language learning varies according to the cultural and personal factors and reasoning and emphasized that desire to be integrated in L2 culture and it was a major factor behind the motivation of the sample. ...
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    The present study investigated the interrelationships between academic procrastination, mindfulness and stress among the students of University of Gujrat, Pakistan. It also explored the mediating role of mindfulness for the association between academic procrastination and resulting stress. A correlational research design with stratified proportionate random sampling technique was employed. The six faculties of Hafiz Hayat Campus were selected as main strata and corresponding thirty-nine departments as substrata. Sample consisted of 385 students of University of Gujrat between age range 18-26 years selected in proportion to strata and substrata size and gender ratio. General Procrastination Scale - for Student Populations (Lay, 1986), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006) and Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen & Williamson, 1988) were used for data collection. Pearson Product Moment Correlational analysis revealed highly significant positive correlation between academic procrastination and stress and highly significant negative correlations between mindfulness and academic procrastination and also between mindfulness and stress. Results of bootstrapped mediation analysis conducted using SPSS macro INDIRECT by Preacher and Hayes (2008) revealed that mindfulness significantly mediated the indirect relationship between academic procrastination and stress.
  • ... In a study conducted by Lin and Wu (2003) ‚It was unfolded that males outperformed females in the grammar, vocabulary, and cloze test sections in TOEFL test, however, listening comprehension obviously favored females. In contrast, Kissau (2006), conducted a study on 490 French language learners (254 girls, 236 boys), reported no gender difference in tolerance of ambiguity. Shamsodini (2005) investigated Ambiguity Tolerance/Intolerance and Performance on Cloze Test. ...
    ... The results are in accordance with Maubach and Morgan's (2001) study which revealed that male students had higher level of ambiguity tolerance in comparison to their female counterparts. However, the findings were in contrast with Kissau (2006) who reported no gender difference in tolerance of ambiguity. Furthermore, the results of a study by Erten and Topkaya (2009) reported a significant difference between males and females in their tolerance of ambiguity in which females outperformed males. ...
  • ... Thompson and Lee 2018). Gender differences in L2 motivation can be attributed to a combination of numerous factors, many of which are socio-cultural (Kissau 2006). Henry (2011) suggested understanding gender differences in relation to the construction and construal of selves, where male selves were characterised by independence whilst female selves emphasised interdependence. ...
    ... You et al. (2016) implied that Chinese women enjoyed superiority in visualisation capacity in L2 motivation (for ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self) 3 , and others also reported more favourable findings on the part of females, like stronger motivation intensity (e.g. Kissau 2006). Meanwhile, gender was found to affect technology use (for learning) because males took more favourable attitudes towards it than females, especially on the dimensions of belief (e.g. ...
    As a ubiquitous personal tool, the smartphone has shown advantages in the language learn- ing process by taking away problems of fixated learning time and place (cf. Godwin-Jones 2011). A widespread smartphone application (app) for language learners is that of a dic- tionary, accessible online or offline. It can be a stand-alone dictionary, such as Merriam- Webster. It may also be embedded in a dictionary integrating system like Youdao ( ,, which combines different dictionary databases into one query system. This mobile learning tool adds new dimensions to traditional dictionary use with various functionalities brought to our fingertips. However, such features as mobility and connectivity have not been fully exploited (cf. Burston 2014), and as a result problems have emerged with the design and use of smart- phone dictionary apps. On the one hand, these problems were attributed to the digitalisa- tion of paper dictionaries without taking format differences into sufficient consideration (Dziemianko 2012). The e-versions of OALDCE 7 (Wehmeier 2005) and LDOCE 5 (Mayor 2009), for instance, proved to be no better for language reception, production and learning than their paper counterparts (Dziemianko 2012). Studies of new literacies have shown that the technical transition from paper-based to electronic layout demands different cognitive attention and visual engagement (Leu et al. 2007). But users’ individual and col- lective needs seem to be seldom taken into account by e-dictionary designers. On the other hand, the language of some smartphone dictionaries is of low quality. For example, there are mistranslations and lack of usage information in Jinshan Ciba ( , and Youdao in China (Kurtz 2012; Nesi 2012). In spite of such poor quality, they are widely used by language learners. The developers of Jinshan Ciba claimed that it was ‘used in more than 50,000 educational institutes, businesses and government agencies, by more than twenty million people’ (Nesi 2012). Youdao claimed that its desktop and smartphone versions were used by over 550,000,000 people (as of April, 2016). Despite these problems, there has been little investigation into learners’ reflections and their views concerning the use of mobile devices (Kim and Kwon 2012), as well as their in- dividual interests, preferences and goals (cf. Stockwell 2013; Bodnar et al. 2016). Due to the quick transition from paper dictionaries to e-dictionaries, dictionary designers may find themselves in a void when it comes to user studies specifically addressing this new format (Lew 2012). The exact impact of a smartphone dictionary on how and why EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners use it is still not well understood. An inquiry into dictionary user motivations for revealing the underlying classes may help us gain deeper understanding. Synthesising the problems aforementioned, we are interested in examining the following three research questions: 1. What themes do the interviews with Chinese EFL learners reveal regarding how they use and view smartphone dictionaries? 2. Can a model of smartphone dictionary users be identified from the survey data? If yes, what are the underlying classes? 3. How can the probability of latent class membership be predicted by gender, English proficiency and university type?
  • ... Another striking conclusion given by Kissau is when he stated that social perception greatly affects the classroom activities. According to the study, boys admitted that they are not as capable as girls when learning French, and this statement from the male respondents are attributed to their claims that the society looks at them as not effective language learners [7]; thus, they do not see themselves to be fully involved in the said undertaking. Such finding is also supported by the conclusion by Mathew, Job, Al Damen and Islam (2013) when they found that because females are more inclined to language learning tasks, they become more successful learners. ...
  • ... Research on CF student motivation broadly has shown that implementing communicative teaching practices with CF students in elementary (e.g., Naumovski, 2017) and secondary (e.g., Dicks & Leblanc, 2009;Early & Yeung, 2009;Rovers, 2013) grades can result in a positive change in student attitudes toward studying French. Interviews with CF students (Kissau, 2006) and teachers (Chan, 2016) also highlight the complexity of male CF student engagement. Newcomers to Canada and those with multilingual backgrounds are significantly more motivated to study CF than their Canadianborn unilingual counterparts (Mady, 2010), as they often associate studying French as adding to their multilingual repertoire, enhancing their Canadian identity and improving job opportunities (Mady, 2012). ...
    This article explores student motivation to learn French as a second language (FSL) in school. Ontario Grade 9 students (N = 63) were surveyed on their intention to (dis)continue studying French in the Core French (CF) program in Grade 10 when FSL becomes optional. Survey participants shared their reasoning, and a subset (n = 7) took part in a focus group. Although motivating factors to (dis)continue in CF align with previous studies, participants openly contemplated the relevance of these factors to their lives. In response, this article explores the discourse on the benefits of learning French and debates its applicability to adolescent FSL learners. The implications for efforts to address CF attrition and promote FSL learning are also discussed.
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    This paper investigated how gender differences can be seen in L2 English persuasion role-plays by Japanese learners of English at three proficiency levels (Lower, Middle, and Upper). A quantitative analysis of the data from the ICNALE Spoken Dialogue (Ishikawa, 2019), which is a newly compiled learner interview corpus, showed that (1) female participants have an overall tendency to speak less, but with a greater variety of vocabulary; (2) the gender differences, however, shrink as the proficiency level of participants increases; (3) female participants tend to use articles and past-tense verbs more often than male participants, suggesting their better control of grammar; and (4) participants' persuasion style is influenced more strongly by the differences in gender rather than those in proficiency. These findings suggest that language teachers need to pay due attention to the possible differences between female and male learners.
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    The use of a computer as a means and/or a source of feedback provision has facilitated the process of teaching and learning writing. The integration of computers into writing classes enabled teachers to provide timely and reliable feedback. Taking into account these opportunities that computers bring to the classroom, the present study attempted to investigate the efficacy of using computer-mediated teacher feedback and computer-generated feedback on learners’ writing skill. In addition, learners’ motivational level was explored. To do so, 60 intermediate EFL learners were selected from two intact classes and were randomly assigned to treatment groups. The results of paired samples t-test and independent samples t-test revealed a significant improvement in writing ability of the two groups from pretest to posttest. Only computer-mediated feedback significantly improved learners’ writing ability from posttest to delayed posttest. In addition, no significant difference was observed between the posttest scores of the two groups, while there was a significant difference between the delayed posttest score of the two groups. The result of interview indicated learners’ motivation in using computer-mediated feedback while there was disagreement in the other group concerning the motivation to use this approach. The study concluded that computers are a good medium for feedback provision. Furthermore, learners do not appreciate the role of computers as the source; rather, they accept it as a supplement to teacher feedback.
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    Learning English as a target language (LETL) is likely learning something that is not native to undergraduates of Indonesian language. For this reason, if they learn the target language determination should be kept and motivation should be filled as well. This study is aimed at of knowing the influence of motivation in Indonesia department undergraduates' performance when learning English as a target language in English classroom setting. The method chosen for this study is a quantitative approach in the form of survey where questionnaire instrument was used to collect essential data in this study. Data were collected through a questionnaire comprising 10 questions and can be located in the appendix. The participants of this research were 30 undergraduate students (16 females and 14 males) of Indonesia language Education Study Program of Teacher Training and Education Faculty, Madura University (UNIRA)-Pamekasan. The result of the study suggests that motivation is proved can be the key incentive for performing performance in learning a target language. In addition to that, the effect of students' motivation intrinsically and extrinsically when learning English as a target language essentially both can provide a strong influence on the students' performance and plays a key role to learn a target language.
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    This study represents program‐level action research. A U.S. university Spanish language program had a goal for students to reach the ACTFL (2012) Intermediate Mid level after 2 years. An empirical question that resulted after regular end‐of‐year testing was whether the students were doing their best on assessments. To investigate this, 253 end‐of‐second‐year students were divided into two experimental conditions: (a) 95 students received up to 10% of their final grade based on meeting the speaking goal, and (b) 73 students received up to 5% of their grade on the same criterion. Eighty‐five students formed a control group with no grading incentive. All took ACTFL tests in speaking (the Oral Proficiency Interview‐computerized [OPIc]), listening (Listening Proficiency Test), and reading (Reading Proficiency Test). The group whose OPIc score counted for 10% performed significantly higher than other two groups. Females were more positively affected by the incentivization. Programs with language goals should consider incentivized proficiency‐based exit tests to motivate their students (Chalhoub‐Deville, 1997).
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    Inspiration dynamics between students and teachers have great impact on learners' perceptions, attitudes and psychological well-being in the ESL classroom. Gender-based differences in opinions about foreign-language acquisition often shape students' approaches and learning structures. Nowadays, great emphasis is placed on the presence of native English-speaker teachers in English language teaching institutions. However, such teachers may struggle to understand local students' attitudes. Seventy-four university students were asked about their perceptions and preferences on English teachers' nationality and teaching-style in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The data were analysed according to gender-based differences in opinions. The findings reveal that, in general, students have no preference for native or non-native teachers, yet prefer educators who teach exclusively through the medium of English. Female students expressed less self-confidence, more need for continuous reinforcement and social interaction in the classroom, while male students displayed more self-confidence, more autonomy and the need for practical knowledge-focused learning content and strategies.
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    Robert C Gardner is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. He obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University in 1960 and joined the University of Western Ontario in 1961. He has published more than 150 articles on second language acquisition, ethnic stereotypes, language behavior, and statistics. In addition, he is the author of two books (Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation, London, England: Edward Arnold (1985); Psychological Statistics Using SPSS for Windows, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (2001)) and co-author of two others (Attitudes and motivation in second language learning (with W E Lambert), Rowley, MA: Newbury House (1972); A Canadian social psychology of ethnic relations (with R Kalin), Toronto, ON: Methuen (1981)). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, where he has served as Director and Chairman of the Scientific Affairs Committee, and was editor of the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science from 1981 to 1985. In 1999, he received the Canadian Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training. He has also served as consultant with the Ford Foundation, Manila, Republic of the Philippines, and on projects with the Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC, and the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California.
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    The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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    Introduction - language policy and language learning the ideology of language planning theory mother-tongue maintenance and second language learning modernization and English language teaching language policy and migration revolutionary language policy education and language rights conclusion - language policy and democracy.
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    The author argues that second language acquisition (SLA) theorists have struggled to conceptualize the relationship between the language learner and the social world because they have not developed a comprehensive theory of social identity which integrates the language learner and the language learning context. She also maintains that SLA theorists have not adequately addressed how relations of power affect interaction between language learners and target language speakers. Using data collected in Canada from January to December 1991 from diaries, questionnaires, individual and group interviews, and home visits, the author illustrates how and under what conditions the immigrant women in her study created, responded to, and sometimes resisted opportunities to speak English. Drawing on her data analysis as well as her reading in social theory, the author argues that current conceptions of the individual in SLA theory need to be reconceptualized, and she draws on the poststructuralist conception of social identity as multiple, a site of struggle, and subject to change to explain the findings from her study. Further, she argues for a conception of investment rather than motivation to capture the complex relationship of language learners to the target language and their sometimes ambivalent desire to speak it. The notion of investment conceives of the language learner, not as a historical and unidimensional, but as having a complex social history and multiple desires. The article includes a discussion of the implications of the study for classroom teaching and current theories of communicative competence.
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    The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.