The role of attitudes and motivation in teaching and learning foreign languages : a theoretical and empirical investigation into the teaching and learning of English in Iraqi preparatory schools
Attitude and motivation, two central concepts in the domain of educational psychology, have not been attended to as required in the literature on English language teaching and learning in Iraq. Consequently, the current study aims at launching a theoretical and empirical investigation into the role of both concepts in bringing about the current discouraging situation of teaching and learning English as a foreign language in Iraq. The theoretical part of the work subsumes the first four chapters. Chapter One is the introduction where the problem to be investigated, the hypotheses, the aims of the research, and the reasons behind the choice of this topic for research have been stated. Chapter Two describes the educational system and the current situation of English language teaching and learning in Iraq. Worth mentioning in this respect are the different pre- and in-service training establishments, English textbooks and tests, and the supervision of teachers of English. Chapter Three is on attitude. The concept has been initially considered from a purely psychological viewpoint with focus on the historical review of attitude development, definition, basic components, main characteristics, formation, and change. Attitude in education forms a second point of departure with emphasis being laid on the role of the concept in teaching and learning foreign languages. Chapter Three ends with attitude measurement. Motivation, the topic of study of Chapter Four, is tackled in terms of its historical development, definition, and different theories. Reference is also made to the role of motivation in education in general, and in foreign language teaching and learning in particular. Accordingly, types of motivation, factors affecting pupils' and teachers' motivation, and teachers' role in motivating pupils form main subjects of discussion. Chapter Four ends with two sections; the first of which tackles the facets of difference between attitude and motivation, while the second deals with the differences between interest on the one hand, and attitude and motivation on the other. Chapter Five is on the method of research adopted to gather the data for the current study. It also contains the analysis of the Pupils' and Teachers' Attitudes and Motivation Questionnaires. Finally, some general remarks about the empirical part of the work are also made. Chapter Six presents the statistical analysis and survey results. It also contains some hypotheses on pupils' and teachers' attitudes and motivation. There is further analysis of some responses made by pupils and teachers which could not be hypothesized. This chapter ends with the analysis of headteachers' and supervisors' perceptions of English language teaching and learning in Iraq. The final chapter titled 'conclusion' contains the general conclusions arrived at by the researcher, followed by some implications for future work.