Motivation Expectancy-Value Theories
The contemporary expectancy-value theories point out that students will not be engaged effectively in tasks unless they hold positive outcome expectations and believe that the tasks have value (i.e., that learning is important and/or useful). Wlodkowski (1999) has argued that when expectancy of success is low, learners tend to protect their well-being by remaining withdrawn or negative. For this reason, Brophy (2004) suggests that teachers will need to stay aware of the learning outcomes that a lesson or an activity is designed to develop in order to know how to frame it so that students can appreciate its value.
Oxford and Sherian (1994), who defined expectancy in terms of the effort that will lead to successful performance, establish that expectancy-value theory helps remind us that L2 learners’ expectancies of success or failure are very important determinants of their motivation to learn the language. They propose that language learners will feel continuously motivated if the effort they are exerting on tasks is viewed as leading to significant outcomes. They add that if language learners do not believe that their performance leads somewhere that is ultimately valuable, their motivation will be lowered. Oxford and Sherian (1994) recommend that teachers can help shape their students’ beliefs about success or failure in L2 learning through inculcating the belief that success is not only possible but probable, as long as there is a high level of effort.
Dörnyei (2001a) assumes that no real expectancy-value model has been proposed in L2 motivation research. He maintains, though, that the most explicit treatment of value expectancy related components in the L2 field has been offered by Clément’s (1980) investigation of linguistics self-confidence and the research on attributions in L2 learning.
18.104.22.168.1. The Concepts of Self-Confidence and Linguistic Self-Confidence
Dörnyei (2001a) has conceptualised self-confidence as “the belief that a person has the ability to produce results, accomplish goals, or perform tasks competently,” (p.56). Dörnyei (1994) claimed that self-confidence is an important dimension of self-concept. “Linguistic self-confidence is conceptualised as a confident, anxiety-free belief that the mastery of an L2 is well within the learner’s means” (Dörnyei, 2009, p.26). Dörnyei (2005) believe that this concept was primarily a social construct that was introduced for the first time in 1977 by Clément, Gardner and Smythe to describe a powerful mediating process in multi-ethnic settings that affects a person’s motivation to learn and use the language of the other speech community. Clément (1985) have proposed that, in a multicultural setting, self-confidence is the most important determinant of motivation to learn and use the L2. Furthermore, Clément and colleagues (1994) have claimed that even in the absence of a direct contact with members of the L2 community in a specific foreign language learning situation, self-confidence is considered a significant motivational construct in case there is a considerable indirect contact with the L2 culture through for example the media.
Many scholars have argued that self-confidence is akin to self-efficacy but based on Clément’s view, self-confidence is different in that it is a social construct, in contrast to self-efficacy, which is a cognitive concept. Moreover, Dörnyei (1994) has claimed that self-confidence is used in a more general sense than self-efficacy. This may be why we notice him treating self-efficacy as a component of self-confidence in his L2 motivation model (see Figure 5). Tremblay and Gardner (1995) have also differentiated between self-confidence and self-efficacy by stating that self-confidence in the language learning context is usually assessed with measures of perceived proficiency at the time of testing, whereas self-efficacy is more closely tied to the level of performance that an individual believes he or she could achieve at some point in the future. Dörnyei (2000), nevertheless, has pointed out that “although Clément’s linguistic self-confidence is principally a socially determined construct, it bears a close resemblance to the cognitive concept of self-efficacy, which has come to be seen as one of the key motivational factors in mainstream psychology,” (p. 427). Despite these attempts to differentiate between the two concepts, both remain of special importance to the foreign/second language learning. Beside what has been elaborated before about the importance of self-confidence in this respect, Oxford and Shearin (1994) have emphasized the fact that when students do not have an initial belief in their self-efficacy, they as a consequence, may feel lost in the language class. According to them, teachers therefore should help students develop a sense of self-efficacy by providing meaningful and achievable language learning tasks.
Dörnyei (1996) has recognised language anxiety, L2 motivational attributions, and perceived L2 competence as three important components of L2 learners’ self-confidence. He argues that learners who are less anxious, have better previous experiences with using the second language, evaluate their own proficiency more highly, and consider the learning tasks less difficult — in short, those who are more self-confident about their second language learning and use are more motivated to learn the second language than those whose motivation is hindered by a lack of self-confidence. Moreover, Guilloteaux (2007) proposes that learners with a high degree of linguistic self-confidence are likely to be more effectively engaged in tasks and they usually believe that they have the ability to achieve their goals or complete tasks successfully.
22.214.171.124.2. Language Anxiety
Horwitz and colleagues (1986) have defined anxiety as “the subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with an arousal of the autonomic nervous system,” (p.125). They point out that educators must first acknowledge the existence of foreign language anxiety. Researchers have identified several specific anxiety situations associated with school learning, such as test taking, and with specific academic subjects, such as mathematics or science.
Horwitz and Young (1991) have explained that language anxiety is one of several types of anxiety identified by psychologists. They argue that this type of anxiety is unique for language learning as it distinctively refers to situations that make some individuals nervous when learning a language. Gardner and colleagues (1997) hypothesise that language anxiety reflects the individual’s apprehension in the language class or in settings where the language is used. Horwitz and colleagues (1986) explain that because foreign language anxiety concerns performance evaluation within an academic and social context, it is useful to draw parallels between it and three related performance anxieties: communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation.
126.96.36.199.3. Attribution Theory of L2 Learning
Ellis (2008) has defined attributions in L2 learning as the explanations learners give for their progress in learning an L2. Weiner (1986) has hypothesised that the theory of causal attributions is based on the assumption that future behaviour is partly determined by the perceived causes of past events. Dörnyei (2001b, pp. 119-20) has argued that attribution theory is particularly relevant to the study of language learning for two reasons. The first reason is that failure in learning an L2 is very common despite the great number of people who spend a considerable amount of time studying foreign languages. The second is that people usually tend to use negative ability attributions when learning a foreign language.
Tremblay and Gardner (1995) have categorised causal attributions in terms of internal and external attributions. They suggest that internal attributions such as ability and effort are usually perceived as within the individual, whereas external attributions such as luck and task difficulty are perceived as outside the individual. Schmidt and colleagues (1996) have included items relating to the general teacher behaviour as an external factor for causal attributions.
Skehan (1989) asserted the need for more research on attributions in the L2 field. He supposes that it would be desirable if more attribution theory research were carried out in the language learning field as such research might synthesise many of the individual differences variables into a more coherent account of language learning. In response, two recent studies were conducted by Ushioda (1996) and Williams and Burden (1999) to identify some aspects of the common causal attributions made by L2 learners. In the first study, Ushioda (1996) found that Irish learners of French attributed positive L2 outcomes to personal ability or other internal factors such as effort and the negative L2 outcomes, such as lack of success, to unstable deficiencies that might be overcome, such as lack of effort or lack of opportunity to live in the L2 environment. There were clear differences between the age groups that were recruited in the study conducted by Williams and Burden (1999) in terms of the attributions students provided for success and failure. The interviews of this study revealed that 10-12-year-old participants attributed success to listening and concentration while older participants provided a variety of attributions such as ability, level of work, circumstances, and the influence of others.
188.8.131.52. Achievement Motivation Theory
For Dörnyei (1994), that the need for achievement is a relatively stable personality trait that affects a person’s behaviour in every facet of life, including language learning; further, individuals with a high need for achievement are interested in excellence for its own sake, tend to initiate achievement activities,
Motivation Expectancy-Value Theories