The role of (de)motivational factors in the context of learning English in South Korea
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2016
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In November 2013, the Switzerland-based global English education company, EF Education First, reported that, in terms of English ability in non-native countries, South Korea was ranked moderately proficient at 24th out of 60 countries, doing only slightly better than Japan (Education First, 2013). One of the findings was also that, despite the large amount of money spent on English education, Japan and Korea have declined slightly on the rankings (Education First, 2013). The objectives of this study was to determine the motivation of Korean university students in the English language classroom. This study made use of three different methods of data collection: firstly, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 13 English teachers (native as well as non-native speakers of English) at higher education settings in South Korea, yielding qualitative data on these teachers’ perception of (de-)motivational factors influencing their students’ ability to learn English. Secondly, a questionnaire was given to 241 South Korean students in order to determine their perceptions of, and attitudes toward learning English as a foreign language. This second method yielded quantitative data on students’ perspectives on and motivation for learning English. Thirdly, English grades were obtained for a subsample of the students (N=45) who completed the questionnaire, and correlated with their responses on the questionnaire. This third method yielded quantitative data on the actual performance of a sample of South Korean students on a series of English assessment instruments, and how it correlates with students’ self-reported motivation for learning English.The results showed that a composite score reflecting students’ self-reported motivation correlated with student grades, and also highlighted some discrepancy between students’ self-reported motivation to study English and perceptions of the interview participants.