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Motivational Constructs of EFL Learners: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University

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This study intended to investigate Saudi undergraduates' preferences for extrinsic/intrinsic motivational constructs as well as to identify any statistically significant difference in the perception of English major (EM) and non-English major (NEM) undergraduates in the EFL context of Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Participants were 335 NEM; male and female IT and medicine undergraduates, and 375 EM; male and female English major undergraduates who responded to a 30-item self-reported 5-point Likert-scale structured questionnaire. The results of the study indicated that Saudi undergraduates have greater extrinsic motivation for learning English but their intrinsic motivation is also fairly high: this is rather true for English-major cohort represented by EM sample of this study. The findings also suggested that motivation is a complex and multi-dimensional construct that requires the faculty to exploit not only the extrinsic but also the preferred intrinsic constructs as well for sustained and long lasting English learning motivation. The sample of the study exhibited strong inclination to use Internet, English films and talk shows for their educational purposes.
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  Asmari, A. A. & Javid, C. Z. (2011). Motivational Constructs: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University. Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, XIX(2), 73-104. 73 Motivational Constructs of EFL Learners: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University Dr. AbdulRahman Al-Asmari (PhD CALL-Applied Linguistics) Director, English Language Center, Taif University P-O-Box 888, Taif University, At-Taif, KSA. 00966-502312949 Dr. Choudhary Zahid Javid (PhD Applied Linguistics) Department of Foreign Languages, Taif University chzahidj@hotmail.com 00966-502312949  Asmari, A. A. & Javid, C. Z. (2011). Motivational Constructs: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University. Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, XIX(2), 73-104. 74 Abstract This study intended to investigate Saudi undergraduates' preferences for extrinsic/intrinsic motivational constructs as well as to identify any statistically significant difference in the  perception of English major (EM) and non-English major (NEM) undergraduates in the EFL context of Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Participants were 335 NEM; male and female IT and medicine undergraduates, and 375 EM; male and female English major undergraduates who responded to a 30-item self-reported 5-point Likert-scale structured questionnaire. The results of the study indicated that Saudi undergraduates have greater extrinsic motivation for learning English but their intrinsic motivation is also fairly high: this is rather true for English-major cohort represented by EM sample of this study. The findings also suggested that motivation is a complex and multi-dimensional construct that requires the faculty to exploit not only the extrinsic but also the preferred intrinsic constructs as well for sustained and long lasting English learning motivation. The sample of the study exhibited strong inclination to use Internet, English films and talk shows for their educational purposes.  Key words : intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, English major, non-English major  Asmari, A. A. & Javid, C. Z. (2011). Motivational Constructs: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University. Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, XIX(2), 73-104. 75 Motivational Constructs of EFL Learners: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University Positive attitude and proper motivation are closely related to the academic achievement and successful performance in any field (Yamashiro & McLaughlin, 2001; Dornyei, 1994). It has been reported that motivation is very much part of our everyday  personal and professional life and few would ignore its importance in human affairs in general (Dornyei, 2001, p.1). It becomes rather important when it comes to language learning because it is not passively received and absorbed but actively built up by the individual (Watson, 2000, p.136). Motivation has been identified as a cyclic process that goes up and down which makes it rather unavoidable to identify and keep the motivational factors high so that smooth EFL learning may be ensured. It is stated that usually people start their work with high motivational level, and then negative external factors cause them to lose their motivation (Dornyei, 2001). Thus cataloguing EFL learners' motivational constructs provides a solid ground for effective and efficient EFL learning (Nikilov, 1999). Literature Review Motivation seems a flexible phenomenon and different scholars have defined it differently and there exists as many definitions as the number of researchers who tried to define it. For example, it has been defined as the motive to create and sustain willingness to act and achieve goals (Ames & Ames, 1989), a desire to achieve a goal combined with the energy to work towards that goal (Oxford & Shearin, 1994 cited in Qashoa, 2006, p. 1) and the reason or reasons for engaging in a particular behavior (Webster Online Dictionary, 2010). Gardner (1985) has identified the following four aspects of motivation: a goal, an effort, a desire to attain the goal and favourable attitude towards the activity in question. Thus second language learning motivation is identified as the  Asmari, A. A. & Javid, C. Z. (2011). Motivational Constructs: A Cross Sectional Study of EFL Students at Taif University. Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, XIX(2), 73-104. 76 extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of the desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in the activity (Dwaik & Shehaseh, 2010, p.10). Ellis (1997) concluded that motivation includes learners' attitudes and effective states that affect the amount of effort a learner invests to learn a language. Wills (1995) stated that it is of great important to sustain a high level of motivation for success. It is also reported that it is the intrinsic motivation that ensures optimum learning and external motivation is only good in that it can inspire one to become internally motivated (Wills, 1995, p. 98) In a recent study, Belyayev (2011) has tried to interpret motivation from two different perspectives: teleological causality and efficient causality. The questions that generated much controversy in this regard have been the ones that investigated the  primary role of motivation and learning: either motivation leads to learning or vice versa. It has been reported that proponents of teleological causality believe that motivation is enhanced when learners enjoy learning whereas efficient causality believers declare that learners enjoy learning when they are motivated. Aristotle stated that both factors, motivation and learning, contribute to each other directly and positively (Belyayev, 2011). Research has offered valuable insights into the fact that motivation, a complex and multi-dimensional construct, is one of the most important factors that determines learners' attitude towards EFL learning (Dornyei, 2003; Oxford & Shearin, 1994; Wigfield & Karpathian, 1991; Ames, 1992). Motivation can be categorized as intrinsic or extrinsic (Fisher, 1990), internal and external influences along with several subcomponents (Williams & Burden, 1997), negative and positive (Salem, 2006) or integrative and instrumental: integrative motivation is identifying with the target language culture and instrumental motivation signifies the  practical need to achieve practical objectives like securing a job (Gardner & Lambert, 1959). As such, intrinsically motivated language learners learn a language due to the
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