Study Abroad and Motivation: A Study of Intention for English Language Learning
and Perception of Study Abroad
In the twenty-first century, English is said to be the most widely studied second or foreign language (Leis, 2014). In the modern era of expanding globalization, Japanese learners study English not only because it is a school subject but also because they require English to become a member of the global society (Konno, 2014). Therefore, it could be said that learning English is becoming more and more important in Japan.
There are various factors which influence language learning, such as social factors, environmental factors, linguistic factors and personal factors. In recent language education research, a motivation study which focused on interaction between learners and social/language environment and temporal alteration has received attention. The word motivation is often used in the sense of drive, not only used at the field of education but also at home or in social life in Japan (Yamato & Mikami, 2012). Dörnyei and Ushioda (2011; cited in Yamato & Mikami, 2012) state that the concept of motivation consists of three things: the reason for people to take action, the persistence of the action, and the effort associated with the action.
A great number of studies have researched the motivation of Japanese learners of foreign languages, and they have shown that motivation for learning English is correlated with success in foreign language acquisition (Tsuruta, Takahashi & Murata, 1987). Masgoret and Gardner (2003; cited in Lightbown & Spada, 2006) carried out research into the relationship between learnersʼ attitudes toward the second or foreign language and its community of speakers, and success in second language learning. Their research did not show conclusively that positive attitudes and motivation lead to success in learning, however, it provided adequate evidence that positive motivation is related
with a willingness to keep on learning (Masgoret & Gardner, 2003; cited in Lightbown &
Spada, 2006). Most of the participants targeted for these studies were however people living an English-speaking country and learning English as a second language or people learning English as a foreign language at Japanese educational institutions. There are few studies that have investigated how study abroad experience influences motivation for learning English (Fujiwara, 2007).
In recent years many Japanese students go abroad on exchange programs in order to improve their English skills (Leis, 2014). It is believed that study abroad leads to a positive influence on language learning, and the study abroad experience for language learning is becoming an important issue in foreign language education (Hernandez, 2010).The Japanese government has also encouraged study abroad and set a national goal of increasing the number of Japanese students studying abroad, as part of their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 2014). According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (2015), the number of Japanese studying abroad increased significantly from the late 1980s, and reached a peak of 82,945 in 2004. After that, it decreased to 57,501 in 2011. In 2012, the number rose to 60,138. It seems that studying abroad and learning English are of growing importance. Therefore, it is worth investigating learnersʼ perceptions of study abroad.
Motivational Studies in the Social Psychological period
It is said that motivation studies in foreign language learning began from a social psychological study by Gardner and Lambert in 1972. The feeling or attitude that learners have towards the culture and people who speak their target language on a daily basis is strongly related with motivation and learning outcome (Fujiwara, 2007). They reported that there are two types of motivation. One is integrative motivation. Foreign language learners who have integrative motivation are attracted to the culture and people who speak their target language (Shirai, 2008; Lightbown & Spada, 2006). They learn language for personal growth and to develop cultural literacy, and want to be more like members of the target language group (Lightbown & Spada, 2006, p.201). Another kind of motivation is instrumental motivation, which is motivation for a practical goal,
such as to get a better job or pass an entrance examination to university (Lightbown and Spada, 2006).
One study by Gardner and Macintyre (1997; cited in Shirai, 2008) indicated that instrumental motivation is linked to successful foreign language learning in the short term, however, integrative motivation plays a more important role in the long term.
Therefore, they think that successful foreign language learning is more closely related to integrative motivation. Another study investigated a role of integrative motivation and instrumental motivation in English learning and also found that there is a relation between integrative motivation and English proficiency(Takanashi, 1991).
Motivation and concept of Self-Determination Theory
Since the second half of 1990s, motivation studies in foreign language learning have used a cognitive psychological approach. Ryan and Deci (1985; cited in Fujiwara, 2007;
Ryan and Deci, 2000) advocate a theory called . The concept underlying this theory is how one is involved in decisions about oneʼs actions. The theory is one of the most general and recognized ways of distinguishing different types of motivation. The main types of motivation in this theory are and (Fujiwara, 2007; Ryan & Deci, 2000) define intrinsic motivation as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction rather than for some separable consequence (p. 56). While extrinsic motivation is a construct that pertains to whenever an activity is done in order to attain some separable outcome (p. 60). For instance, a student who does his homework only because he fears parental sanctions for not doing it is extrinsically motivated because he is doing the work in order to attain the separable outcome of avoiding sanctions (p. 60). In Self-Determination Theory, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are not opposite concepts, they are linked to each other.
The L2 Motivational Self System
The L2 motivational self system proposed by Dörnyei (2005; cited in Yamato &
Mikami, 2012) has received considerable attention from a large number of researchers.
This theory is a new motivation theory which integrates past motivation studies of
second language (Yamato & Mikami, 2012). The theory has three main dimensions, the ideal L2 self, the ought-to L2 self, and the learning experience. According to Dörnyei (2005, p.106; cited in Papi, 2010), the ideal L2 self is the L2-specific aspect of oneʼs ideal self . It is an ideal image of the kind of L2 user that the L2 learner desires to be in the future. For example, if L2 learners want to be fluent L2 users who use English for their job, their image of their future self could work as a great motivator to close the gap between their actual self and ideal image (Papi, 2010). Secondly, the ought-to self is the L2-specific aspect of oneʼs ought-to self (Dörnyei, 2005, p.106; cited in Papi, 2010). This refers to the attributes that L2 learners think they ought to have in order to respond to the expectations of society and others. This type of self comes from a sense of duty, responsibility and obligation because the learners do not want to disappoint their parents or others by failing to learn English (Konno, 2014; Papi, 2010; Yamato & Mikami, 2012). Learning experience refers to situation-specific motives associated with the immediate learning environment and experience (Papi, 2010).
In addition to the above three dimensions of the L2 motivational self system, the present study included intended effort as a criterion measure, which is the amount of effort learners intend to make to learn English (Papi, 2010). Several studies in Dörnyei and Ushiodaʼs recent anthology (2009; cited in Papi, 2010) reported that intended effort is strongly related to all three dimensions of the L2 motivational self system in contexts as different as China, Iran, Hungary, Japan, and Saudi Arabia (Papi, 2010).
Study abroad studies
Several studies have targeted people with experience of study abroad and have investigated the change in motivation for learning a foreign language as a result of the study abroad experience. Fujiwara (2007) used an approach based on Self- Determination Theory and investigated differences between learners who had studied abroad and learners who had not, with a particular focus on factors that affected the strength of motivation for learning German and strategies for increasing it. According to the results, learners who had stayed in Germany had a strong desire to use German in their future jobs. On the other hand, learners who had not stayed in Germany said that they became motivated when they had the pressure of a test or examination. She
concluded that the experience of staying in Germany had a positive influence on learnersʼ motivation for learning German (Fujiwara, 2007).
Furthermore, Harada (2008) studied how study abroad influenced motivation for learning Japanese using the framework of Self-Determination Theory. The results suggest that there were many cases in which intrinsic motivation for learning Japanese became stronger through living in Japan and communicating with Japanese people.
Therefore, it could be said that the study abroad experience promotes learnerʼs motivation for learning foreign languages (Harada, 2008).
Purpose of this study
The purpose of this study is to find out if study abroad influences studentsʼ intentions for learning English and perceptions about studying abroad. According to the literature, study abroad experience appears to increasing learnersʼ motivation for learning foreign languages, and, learnersʼ intrinsic motivation especially increases through the study abroad experience. Therefore, it might be hypothesized that learners who studied abroad are more motivated to learn English than those who have not. The research questions for this study are:
1. Are there any differences between the ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, English learning experience and intended effort of learners who have studied abroad and those who have not?
2. Are there any differences in the perceptions of study abroad of learners who have studied abroad and those who have not?
Subjects and Methods Participants
A total of 84 Tokyo Womanʼs Christian University students majoring in Language Sciences in four sections of a required first-year writing class cooperated in this study.
All the participants were Japanese except for one South Korean. One of the Japanese participants was deaf.
The questionnaire used in this study has three parts and is in Japanese (Appendix).
The first section consists of questions about the learnersʼ background (e.g., scores on various English proficiency tests, overseas experience, study abroad experience, plans for study abroad, and career plans). The second section consists of 24 six-point Likert scale (1 =Strongly disagree; 2=Disagree; 3=Disagree a little; 4=Agree a little; 5=Agree;
6=Strongly agree) items for measuring the three aspects of the participantsʼ L2 motivational self system (i. e., ideal L2 self, ought-to self, and attitudes to learning English) (Dörnyei, 2005; Dörnyei et al., 2006; both cited in Papi, 2010) as well as intended effort. Each area consisted of six items from Papiʼs (2010) appendix, and arranged in random order.
The final section was a Study Abroad Perception Questionnaire (SAPQ) that consisted of items exploring the participantsʼ perceptions of study abroad (Kaypak &
Ortaçtepe, 2014). It had 15 items for students who had studied abroad and 14 G-point Likert scale items for the participants who had not. The study abroad perception section was created by combining items from different study abroad perception questionnaires (Albers-Miller, Prenshaw & Straughan, 1999; Deci, Eghrari, Patrick & Leone, 1994;
Jones & Cunningham, 2008; Kasapoglu-Önder & Balci, 2010; Lee, 2009; Ryan, 1982; cited in Kaypak & Ortaçtepe, 2014) for the participants who had studied abroad and rewording them to make them appropriate for the participants who had not. For example, Item 14 Attending a study abroad program helped me to get a more global perspective for participants who had studied abroad was changed to Attending a study abroad program will help me to get a more global perspective for the other participants.
The survey was conducted in October, 2015 in four Writing Skills I classes at Tokyo Womanʼs Christian University. All the questionnaires were filled in during class time and took the students approximately 10 minutes.
The data from the questionnaires were input into Microsoft Excel 2010 and then transferred to R (R Core Team, 2015) for statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and inferential tests (Chi-squared tests and MANOVAs) and a factor analysis carried out.
20 (24%) participants had study abroad experience for at least a week while 64 (76%) did not. The most common study abroad destination was the United States, 11 (38%). The second and third most common study abroad destinations were Australia, six (21%), and Canada, five (17%) (Figure 1). These figures include three participants who studied abroad several times in multiple countries and a student who had studied abroad twice in the same country. In addition, four students reported having lived abroad but only one had spent time in an English speaking country, for a total of two years between the ages of one and three years old.
The shortest study abroad period was one week, and the longest three months. The mean was 21.63 days. The largest number of participants, 12(41%) had studied abroad for two weeks, and the second highest number, ten(34%), for one month. The mean
Figure 1. The number of the students and their study abroad destina- tions (n=29)
length of stay was about 22 days. Seven participants (24%) studied abroad while at junior high school, 15 (52%) while at high school and six(21%) during their first year at university.
Seven students(8%) had plans to study abroad. Of these, four(57%) had already studied abroad at least once before. The shortest planned length of study abroad was two weeks and the longest was one year. Eighty one participants(96%) answered that they wanted to find the job when they graduate and three students said they want to go to graduate school. 15 (18%) students were also thinking of becoming EFL teachers.
Motivation and English learning
The second part of the questionnaire consists of items measuring the learnersʼ attitude and motivation concerning English learning. It had four sections (ideal L2 self, ought-to self, English learning experience and intended effort). The reliability of the ideal L2 self section was 0.84, the ought-to section 0.74, the English learning experience section 0.81, and the intended effort section 0.78. Table 1 shows descriptive statistics for all participants. The highest mean item score was 3.67 in the ought-to L2 self section, and the maximum score was also high, 5.67 in this section. The lowest mean score was 3.20 in the English learning experience section.
Table 1. Descriptive motivation statistics for all participants (n=84)
Table 2 shows the results of MANOVA of motivation variables by study abroad experience, Table 3 the descriptive statistics for participants who have not studied abroad and Table 4 the descriptive statistics for participants who have studied abroad.
The mean scores of students who had studied abroad were slightly higher than students who had not in the all four sections. However, the differences between the groupʼs mean scores were quite small, and a MANOVA showed that they were not statistically significant.
Table 2. Results of MANOVA of motivation variables by study abroad experience
Table 3. Descriptive motivation statistics for participants who have not studied abroad (n=64)
Table 4. Descriptive motivation statistics for participants who have studied abroad (n=20)
Study Abroad Perception Questionnaire
The third part of the questionnaire was the SAPQ, which consists of items exploring the participantsʼ perceptions about study abroad. Χ2 tests were used to compare those who had studied abroad ( ) and those who had not ( ). Because of the large number of tests being carried out, a Bonferroni correction was applied and only items with a probability (p) of under 0.003 were considered statistically significant.
The descriptive data and results are shown in Table 5.
Only Item 9, which asked if asked if students think they could develop their social relationship with foreigners during studying abroad or not, was statistically significant (Χ2= 22.553, = 0.001). Approximately 86% of students who had not studied abroad and 55% of students who had studied abroad agreed with I can/could develop my social
Table 5. Descriptive study abroad statistics for all participants (n=84)
relationship with foreigners . The mean scores were about 4.00 and 3.00, respectively. It is interesting to note that about a half of students who had study abroad disagreed with this item.
In addition to this item, two other items showed a tendency for the groups to differ.
On Item 1:
, 59 (92%) of the 64 participants who had not studied abroad and 14 (70%) of the 20 who had not agreed with this statement (Χ2= 12.932, = 0.008). The mean score of participants who had not studied abroad was 4.95, which was 0.70 higher than the mean score of those who had.
Item 2 asked whether study abroad was/would be fun or not. Approximately 94 % of those who had not studied abroad and all 20 of those who had agreed with the statement (Χ2= 13.417, = 0.008). The mean scores of participants were high in both groups, 5.55 for those who had studied abroad and 4.81 for those who had not.
Table 6 shows the results of a factor analysis of the items on the SAPQ. Items with a factor loading of over 0.56 (2 times r-crit(0.01); Stevens, 2002) were considered to load onto a factor. The factor analysis produced two factors. Factor 1 consisted of Questions 4, 5, 12, 14, and 15. The common denominator of these five questions is that they asked about things that students would be able to do after participating in the study abroad
Table 6. Factor analysis of questionnaire items (n=84)
program, in other words, the . Factor 2 consisted of Questions 2, 8, and 10. The common element of these three questions is whether studying abroad is/would be interesting or not. Because of the negative wording of two of these questions, this factor
appears to represent .
Table 7 shows the descriptive statistics for the participants factor scores. The mean score of participants who have not studied abroad was higher for (4.93) than that of participants who had studied abroad (4.06) and for (2.11 against 1.87).
A MANOVA (Table 8) showed that these differences were not statistically significant.
Table 7. Descriptive statistics for the two factors yielded by factor analysis (n=64)
Table 8. Results of MANOVA of future and lack of interest by whether students had been abroad or not
Discussion and Conclusions Summary of the results
The first research question of this study was to find if there were any differences in the motivational variables, ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, English learning experience and intended effort, of learners who had studied abroad and those who had not. The mean scores of participants who had studied abroad were slightly higher than participants who had not for all four motivation variables. However, the differences were quite small and not statistically significant.
The second research question was about differences in perceptions of study abroad.
An item by item analysis showed that those who have not studied abroad appear to expect to be able to form social relationships with foreign people whereas those who
have studied abroad did not find that to be the case (Item 9). They also had a tendency to have greater expectations for developing English communication skills (Item 1) and also think study abroad less likely to be a fun experience (Item 2). The factor analysis of this section yielded two factors which were named and . Once again, learners who had not studied abroad had higher scores on both factors, suggesting that they estimated the future benefits of study abroad more highly than learners who had studied abroad but, at the same time have a stronger lack of interest.
Statistically, however, these differences were not statistically significant.
The major limitation of this study was the very narrow range of learners surveyed.
All were first-year students studying Language Sciences at a womenʼs university in Tokyo. In addition, the length of time that students spent abroad and when they went differed, which made the group quite heterogeneous. A more widely drawn sample may have produced a different and more reliable result.
Another limitation was that survey asked only closed-ended questions. These closed-ended types of questions were easy to analyze but may not be able to find the exact reasons why students learn English and what motivates them. More open-ended questions might shed more light on their reasons and motivation for studying English.
Thirdly, as discussed in the introduction, past studies have targeted people who have study abroad experience and investigated the change in their motivation for learning foreign language through study abroad. Unfortunately the universityʼs Ethics Committee refused to give me permission to collect data from students before and after summer study abroad programs. If they had, I believe I would certainly have been able to get clearer and probably more useful information about the effects of studying abroad.
This study found few differences between the motivation and attitudes of learners who had studied abroad and those who had not. The data does however suggest that learners who had not studied abroad have higher expectations of developing social
relationships with foreigners and improving English skills than learners experienced while actually studying abroad. At the same time, learners who have studied abroad appear to have found it more enjoyable than learners who have not expect it to be.
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日本人の外国語学習者の動機づけについては数多くの研究がされているが（Tsuruta, Taka- hashi & Murata 1987）、今日では Dörnyei（2005; cited in Yamato & Mikami, 2012）によって提唱 された「L2 動機づけ自己システム」が多くの研究者たちから大きな注目を集めている。この理 論は、それまでの第二言語の動機づけ研究を統合する新たな動機づけ理論である (Yamato &
Mikami, 2012)。これらの研究の対象は、英語圏に住む人々や日本の教育機関で英語を学んでい る人々である。しかし、留学経験がある人々を対象にした研究は少なく、留学経験が日本人学生 の英語学習の動機づけにどのような影響を与えるのかについての研究は多くはない（Fujiwara, 2007）。留学は英語学習の肯定的な影響につながると考えられており、言語学習のための留学経 験は、外国語教育において重要な研究課題となってきている（Hernandez, 2010）。
本論は、留学経験が学生の英語学習に対する意志と留学に対する考えに影響を与えるのかに ついて調べたものである。本研究の被験者は、84名の東京女子大学の学生で、動機づけのアン ケートと留学に対する考えのアンケートの二種類のアンケートに回答した。分析の結果、20名 は以前に留学をしたことがあり、64名は留学をしたことがなかった。留学経験のある学生は、留 学経験のない学生よりも英語を学ぶ意欲が高いように思われた。しかし、 つに分類されたカ テゴリー（理想自己、義務自己、英語学習経験、意図的な努力）において両方の学生の間に大き な差はなかった。留学に対する考えのアンケートでは、留学経験のない学生の方が英語力の向 上において期待が大きく、留学経験のある学生よりも留学は効果的だと考えていることが分かっ た。一方で、留学経験のあるほとんどの学生は留学が楽しかったと答えたが、数名の学生は想像 していたよりも留学はあまり有益でなかったと考えているようである。