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Title: Attitudes, motivations and language achievement of high school students learning English as a foreign language : a study from Ma'an, Jordan
Author: Kreishan, Lana
ISNI:       0000 0001 3602 4600
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is based on a study examining possible inter-relationships between attitudes, motivational orientations and drive, on the one hand, and achievement scores on the other hand in a Jordanian sample of homogeneous (in terms of cultural and educational background and age) male and female secondary level EFL students aged 15-18 over a two-year period. The study further aims to analyze the possible effects of some variables on EFL attitudes, motivation and achievement scores, with a view to identifying any differences between male and female students as well as between students pursuing an Arts-based or Science curriculum. Since there has, for some time, been a clear acknowledgment in the SLA research literature of the importance of attitudes and motivation investigating these factors in a range of contexts and considering different variables might better highlight any differences of findings, regarding the roles of attitudes and motivation in target language learning processes. The data for the study were collected in two ways. The main source of data is a questionnaire based on Gardner’s (1985) AMTB (Attitude/Motivation Test Battery), which was distributed to 270 students on three occasions (September 2004; April 2005; April 2006); supplementary data were gleaned from follow-up interviews with a sub-set of the students (n=18), and interviews were also conducted with the teachers (N=3 in stage 2; N=2 in stage 3). A mix of quantative and qualitative methods was used to analyse the data. The students' EFL achievement scores were also obtained at the end of each stage. The findings raise some interesting issues regarding the correlation between attitudinal and motivational measures, on the one hand, and EFL achievement scores at the secondary stage, on the other. The main finding is that favourable attitudes and high motivational drive were not determinants of success in this Jordanian context for that sample of students since a negative correlation was found at stage 1 of the study and no evidence of any significant correlation between these affective variables and achievement scores was revealed at the other two stages 2 and 3. In fact, this result contradicts most research findings based on SL learning context in which positive correlations have been found between these variables. With regards to motivational orientation, instrumental orientation is shown to be dominant in the Jordanian EFL context; however, integrative orientation turns out to be a better predictor of achievement scores than instrumental orientation, at least in stage 1: no significant correlations were found between either instrumental or integrative orientations and achievement scores at the later two stages. The results further reveal some differences in attitudes and motivational orientations and drive between genders and branches of study. Students’ interviews show that internal factors (e. g. , effort and interest in learning FLs) and external factors (e.g., poor teaching environment and lack of qualified teachers, parental encouragement) affect students' EFL attitudes and motivation in the Jordanian context. The study, therefore, may highlight the important role of teachers in shaping and developing students' EFL attitudes and motivation since they (the teachers) are the main source of input in such a FL context. The possible implications of, and recommendations from these findings (mainly pedagogical) are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available