Exposure, attitudes, motivation and achievement in ESL among Malay learners : a socio-psycholinguistic study
The purpose of the research was, firstly, to investigate the standard of competence and the degree of some learner variables affecting competence, i.e. exposure, attitudes and motivation, amongst Malay learners of ESL. Secondly, the purpose was to investigate the strength of the relationships between the variables under study. The sample consisted of 441 Form Four pupils from selected schools in Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, who had learnt English for the past nine years. The instruments used for data collection were an achievement test, an exposure scale, an attitude scale and a motivation scale. The analysis of data was carried out by using the crosstabulation and correlation procedures. The statistical test of significance used was the chi-square. The analysis of quantitative data revealed that: (1) The standard of English competence among the pupils was low. (2) Pupils in urban schools performed better in English than pupils in rural schools. (3) Generally, the pupils received a low amount of exposure to written English, radio and television English, and unscripted spoken English. 4) Their attitudes towards English and its speakers were generally favourable. (5) Their motivational orientations, desire to learn and motivational intensity were strong. Their integrative motivation seemed slightly stronger than their instrumental motivation. The correlation analysis revealed that: (1) The relationships between competence and exposure to written English, radio and television English, and unscripted spoken English were positive and significant. (2) The relationship between competence and attitude towards English was positive and significant. But, the relationship between competence and attitude towards its speakers was insignificant. (3) The relationships between competence and integrative motivation, desire to learn and motivational intensity were positive and significant. However, the relationship between competence and instrumental motivation was insignificant. Overall, the results did not always display high correlations, and therefore in some cases, diminished the importance of the independent variables as predictors of competence.