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Title: Understanding change in Chinese undergraduate students' language learning motivation during the transition to UK higher education
Author: Zhang, Qian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 4146
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis investigates changes in Chinese undergraduate students’ language learning motivation during the transition from their home cultural setting to the host cultural setting, while studying on a China-UK 2+1 collaborative programme at the University of Bedfordshire. Since the 1990s, there has been growing attention to research on L2 motivation in classroom or other educational settings. To bridge the gap between general and L2 motivational theories, a number of theoretical frameworks have been developed. The most comprehensive of these is Dörnyei’s (1994a) three-level motivational framework. However, there is as yet little empirical evidence to verify this. The study employed mixed methods. Firstly, in order to identify whether these students’ language learning motivation changed over time, a two stage questionnaire survey was carried out with 158 students. Questionnaires were first administered in October shortly after students arrived in the UK to begin their courses and again in May when they were close to completing their degrees. Factor analysis was used to verify the structure of the questionnaire. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate whether significant changes had occurred in each of the motivational dimensions addressed. Secondly, in-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with 14 of the questionnaire respondents. The interviews explored motivational change in more open-ended fashion and in greater depth. Students’ comments were transcribed, translated and categorised on the basis of Dörnyei’s (1994a) framework. The conclusions, triangulated by both the key findings and the interview results, indicate that Chinese students have strong instrumental orientations and that their language learning motivation changes significantly at the Learner Level and Language Learning Situation Level of the framework. Some patterns underlying these changes were also discovered. The research findings additionally served to support the applicability of the Dörnyei (1994a) framework. Based on the empirical research findings, some practical recommendations are offered respectively for Chinese students and academic staff. These include: 1) The university should provide more information, or relevant training, about the British academic system and culture. 2) Academic staff need to understand Chinese students more fully and might adjust their teaching style to accommodate them. 3) There is a need for the university to redesign the academic English module to help students efficiently cope with their studies in the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: language learning ; ESOL ; motivation ; Chinese students in UK higher education ; academic English ; English language teaching ; Q330 English as a second language