A longitudinal investigation of Pakistani university students' motivation for learning English

Pathan, Habibullah (2012) A longitudinal investigation of Pakistani university students' motivation for learning English. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study was designed to investigate what factors influence the motivation of engineering university students in province Sindh of Pakistan to learn English. In particular the study attempted to examine the shifting role of integrative motivation in Pakistan by looking at motivational change in these students over the period from the start to the end of the English language course at the university.

To investigate these factors, I adopted a longitudinal quantitative and qualitative approach. The data were collected from the whole cohort of students who enrolled to take the English language course at university (N=541). They completed questionnaires at two points (1) at the start of the English language course and (2) at the end of the English language course. In order to have further illustrative insights some students (N=15) were interviewed at the beginning and at the end of the English language course. The questionnaires and interview tools used in this study attempted to measure students’ responses on 7 motivational factors (1) Instrumental Motivation (2) Integrative Motivation (3) Parental Encouragement (4) English course specific motivational components (5) English Teacher specific motivational components (6) English class and use anxiety and (7) Identity and English learning. The background questions explored students’ views on English learning experiences before coming to the university and students’ perceptions of their English learning at university after English language course.

The results indicate that of the multiple factors that motivate students to learn English, the first among them is integrative motivation to become part of Pakistani community and the Engineering community whose members speak English. The instrumental motivation is for passing exams, raising status in society or to be successful engineer. The perceptions show that parents, grandparents and English teachers play a vital role in this process. The longitudinal nature of the study allowed a picture of motivation that changes with the passage of time to emerge. At the beginning of English language course the students were not confident about their English from their past experience, but were nonetheless motivated to learn English. The students’ attitude to the University English course is positive because they find the tasks in it relevant and interesting. At the end of the English language course the students felt that their confidence had increased and their anxiety had decreased. The background data show that the students come from a range of backgrounds including public and private English and vernacular medium schools and urban and rural areas of Sindh and because of this they have different learning experiences and levels of success with English. At the end of the course, all of them felt positive about learning English in order to become part of the professional community of Engineers, both in Pakistan and internationally.

This suggests that the English language course at University has an equalizing effect and the students’ confidence in the English course and positive expectation to achieve their task of learning English raised their awareness of the progress they were making in learning English.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: L2 Motivation and Motivational Change, Shifting Role of Integrative Motivation, English in Professional Engineering Universities in Pakistan
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Supervisor's Name: Daborn, Dr. Esther and Baumfield, Prof. Vivienne
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr Habibullah Pathan
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-4534
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2013 12:57
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2013 13:51
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4534

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