Relationship between students’ motivation factors and English speaking performance: A case study of the first year students at faculty of law - Vietnam national university, Hanoi

Abstract. This study was conducted to find the relationships between motivation factors and students’ English speaking performance. The survey design was used to gather data from 286 respondents who are the first year students of Faculty of Law - Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU). All the data collected were processed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Six of seven motivation factors were found affecting English speaking performance of the students. Immigration Tendency, Determination to learn, Positive Attitude, Instrumentality and Intrinsic Motivation had positive correlations with English speaking performance and factor Immigration Tendency had the most positive correlation. On the other hand, Second Language (L2) Speaking Anxiety had significant negative correlations. Meanwhile, Social Appeal does not affect students’ English speaking performance. This paper provided helpful information as the foundation in setting up plans so as to enhance motivation factors as well as improving students' English speaking performance.

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103 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1075.2018-0174 Educational Sciences, 2018, Volume 63, Issue 9, pp. 103-112 This paper is available online at RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION FACTORS AND ENGLISH SPEAKING PERFORMANCE: A CASE STUDY OF THE FIRST YEAR STUDENTS AT FACULTY OF LAW - VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI Pham Thuy Duong Faculty of English, University of Languages and International Studies, Abstract. This study was conducted to find the relationships between motivation factors and students’ English speaking performance. The survey design was used to gather data from 286 respondents who are the first year students of Faculty of Law - Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU). All the data collected were processed using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Six of seven motivation factors were found affecting English speaking performance of the students. Immigration Tendency, Determination to learn, Positive Attitude, Instrumentality and Intrinsic Motivation had positive correlations with English speaking performance and factor Immigration Tendency had the most positive correlation. On the other hand, Second Language (L2) Speaking Anxiety had significant negative correlations. Meanwhile, Social Appeal does not affect students’ English speaking performance. This paper provided helpful information as the foundation in setting up plans so as to enhance motivation factors as well as improving students' English speaking performance. Keywords: Students’ motivation, motivation factors, English speaking performance. 1. Introduction Speaking involves interaction as students are given an opportunity to express their own ideas and thoughts about a particular topic and speaking is a core aspect in language education settings [1]. English speaking performance of students will convey the competency of using this language for the ability of interacting. In teaching and learning foreign languages; to improve the students’ speaking performance, it is necessary to conduct a study on their motivation because motivation is one of the most important factors that determine the rate and success of second language attainment [2]. At the faculty of Law - VNU, general English (GE) is their obligatory subject during the first three terms: two terms in the first academic year and another one in the second Received January 17, 2018. Revised May 2, 2018. Accepted September 9, 2018. Contact Phạm Thuy Duong, e-mail address: thuyduong21087@gmail.com Pham Thuy Duong 104 year. Because these students are non English - major ones and they passed the university entrance exams from the results of literature, history and geography subjects so it can be inferred that their level of both spoken and written English is not very high. As a result, many of them find that English is a difficult subject for them at university and also have real obstacles when referring to legal English documents in their study. In addition to this, at high schools when learning English these students used to concentrate on grammar and vocabulary proficiency for the priority of national exams. Consequently, they have not paid much attention to English listening or speaking skills. From my own observations in the classrooms as well as an open discussion in Vietnamese with my students, of four language skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing; speaking is believed to be the most difficult skill to them. They encounter difficulties in making speech in English due to unfamiliarity with the pronunciation, stress, intonation and a lack of speaking skill and so on. Added to this, the time to practice speaking in class is not enough because every week my students have only two periods lasting 90 minutes to learn this skill. Nevertheless, most of my students have to admit that English is crucial for them to get a good future job because nowadays the number of international legal companies in Vietnam is increasing rapidly. Currently, their main English text book is New English File series by Clive Oxenden and Christina Latham-Koenig. All the activities in this book, especially in the speaking lessons are designed to help students improve their grammatical structures, especially communicative competence. However, the issue concerned is how to motivate the students in speaking lessons when using this textbook to improve their speaking ability as its authors’ expectation. Therefore, this study was conducted to find out the relation between the above mentioned motivational factors and the speaking performance of the first year students at the faculty of Law - VNU. From that, it is hoped to make the speaking lessons more effective for both teachers and students because teachers should inevitably focus on their learners’ needs [3]. 2. Content 2.1. Literature Review 2.1.1. Motivation Factors There have been a lot of different views about the word “motivation”. Therefore, it is not easy for experts or theorists to give an exact definition of “motivation”. In general, motivation can be considered as a psychological factor which is very important to generate or take action. It cannot be denied that motivation is a very familiar term which directs students in learning. Bomia et al (1997) describes that students’ motivation refers to their willingness, need, desire and compulsion to participate in and students’ motivation can be a successful factor in their learning process [4]. Skinner and Belmont (1991) develop the definition further noting that students who are motivated to engage in school when “they show generally positive emotions during ongoing action, including enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, and interest” [5]. Positive correlations were constantly found between individual development motivation and positive self-confidence identity change, between going-abroad motivation and subtractive identity change, and between immediate achievement motivation and learning situation motivation [6]. Relationship between students’ motivation factors and english speaking performance: a case 105 Besides, Crookes and Schmitd (1991) share that “motivation is interest in and enthusiasm, persistence with the learning task, as indicated by levels of attention or action for extended duration; and level of concentration and enjoyment” [7]. Students’ motivation in this study refers to their interest, enthusiastic participation, learning persistence, high concentration and enjoyment in class activities. This definition is chosen for this study because it covers all aspects of motivation in classroom and is very useful for this kind of research, a study into classroom motivation. There are different views given by many experts. Each person shares his or her own list of factors which affect student’s motivation. Students’ motivation depends on a variety of factors such as teaching methodology, the target language environment and the learners’ demotivation [8]. Such a model for integrating motivation into instruction, with four categories of Attention, Relevance, Confidence & Satisfaction was effective for second language learning [9]. Moriam Quadir (2014) [10] carried out a study to investigate the relationships between learner’s motivation factors and speaking strategy factors to learn oral communication in English. To measure students’ degree of motivation, the researcher administered a modified version of the questionnaire used by Schmidt et al. [11]. Seven motivation factors were extracted: (a) Positive attitude, (b) L2 speaking anxiety, (c) Determination to learn, (d) Instrumentality, (e) Intrinsic motivation, (f) Social appeal, (g) Immigration tendency. In this study, reviewing the factors affecting motivation is very important for the researcher to know the main causes for students’ low motivation in speaking lessons to search for the most effective solutions to improve the problem. By discovering the literature on learner’s motivation factors, the author has found out that the theoritical framework of Moriam Quadia is suitable in this study when using them to consider with the English speaking performance of students. Therefore, the author will explain each factor more clearly in the above mentioned model. Firstly, the positive attitude reflects learners’ positive feeling for native English- speaking community and culture. Schmidt et al. (1996) in his study on Egyptian adult EFL learners named the factor Attitude to culture and Dörnyei (1990) in his investigation of motivation components in Hungary found a parallel factor and labeled it Interest in foreign languages and cultures [12]. Learners’ interest in target language culture can be exploited in material preparation for oral communication classrooms. Secondly, L2 speaking anxiety suggests learners’ hesitation to deal with the productive skill of speaking. Nakata (2006) stated in his study of Japanese university students that anxiety occurs in L2 speaking owing to lack of confidence [13]. He also reflected on the cultural aspect of anxiety in Japanese EFL context where ‘making mistakes’ is shameful. Similarly, for Bangladeshi learners losing face in public is a humiliating experience and learners with low confidence would probably try to avoid anxiety provoking tasks like speaking. Aida (1994) emphasizes the importance of teachers’ role in alleviating classroom tension by creating a friendly and supportive atmosphere that can help to reduce students’ tension of embarrassment in front of their peers [14]. An interactive and enjoyable teaching approach is recommended to help learners to reduce anxiety in speaking English. Thirdly, the factor “determination to learn” means learners’ dedication, intention to spend time and money and perseverance to continue learning; thus, it indicates learners’ commitment to Pham Thuy Duong 106 enhance English speaking skill. Schmidt et al. (1996) named a factor Determination, and Schmidt & Watanabe (2002) in a comparative study among different target language learners named a factor Motivational strength [15]. This learner characteristic can be utilized by language instructors to encourage students for extensive practice outside of the classroom and to develop autonomous learning. Fourthly, the factor “instrumentality” is related to professional utility of learning English: such as getting a desirable job, receiving financial benefits, enjoying status and luxury. Dörnyei (1990) labeled a factor Instrumental orientation, which reflects similar social features. Therefore, it is recommended to incorporate language for professional purposes in pedagogical preparation to address learners’ interest. Fifthly, the factor “intrinsic motivation” suggests Vietnamese high school students’ interest to learn spoken English without any expectation of external awards or benefits. This motivation factor has found a match with many other factors yielded in different EFL contexts. Schmidt et al. (1996) labeled a factor with the same name and Dörnyei (1990) named a factor Desire for knowledge and values associate with English which came up with almost the same language learning aspects. The sixth factor concerns impressions to parents and other people, and this factor is named Social appeal. This factor indicates that learners learn spoken English not only to improve personal quality but also to impress people in society. In the study of Schmidt et al. (1996) a corresponding factor was found with the name Sociability. Factor 7 suggests learners’ intention to stay abroad and to develop friendship with foreigners. This factor is named Immigration tendency. This factor reflects a typical motive of many Vietnamese learners who learn English speaking skill with the purpose of immigration and establishment in developed countries. Dörney (1990) named a factor Spend time abroad, and Schmidt et al. (1996) named a factor Foreign residence, which are comparable to the factor labeled Immigration tendency of the present study. The items of the used scales will be mentioned in details in the content of Insttruments part. 2.1.2. Speaking Performance According to Brown (2007), there are several definitions of speaking in relation to language teaching and learning in the literature [16]. However, this study draws on the definition of speaking proposed by Johnson (1996) who describes speaking as a “combinatorial skill” that entails “doing various things at the same time” [17]. This perspective involves communication discourse that enables learners to enhance their speaking competence. On the other hand, Koizumi (2005) states that speaking can be manifested through two categories-speaking performance and speaking ability [18]. Koizumi also notes that speaking performance involves a case of oral production in real time or production of spoken language in an authentic context. On the contrary, speaking ability is viewed as a more complex aspect which is assessed and observed through learners’ performance either in written or oral forms. Many researchers indicate that speaking performance, by nature, is a multi-faceted construct; and specifically, Ellis and Barkhuizen (2005) points out that four main aspects of speaking include syntactic complexity, accuracy, fluency, and lexicon [19]. These authors further stress that these four aspects are subsumed into the concepts of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. While complexity and fluency underlying speaking activities are likely to provide learners with Relationship between students’ motivation factors and english speaking performance: a case 107 opportunities to communicate effectively, accuracy may hinder these learners from speaking well in a variety of learning contexts where the target language is used. Besides, Goh and Burns (2012) note three aspects of speaking competence [20]. They are core speaking skills, knowledge of language and discourse, and communication strategies. In this study, the four elements of Speaking Performance include precise and various usage of grammar in the speaking activities; students’ relative enough vocabulary to fulfill class speaking tasks; clear & understandable pronunciation and coherency & fluency. This is suitable for assessing the students’ competency at VNU as well as collecting the data from the students to serve for research purposes. 2.2. Methodology 2.2.1. Participants The respondents of the study are the first year students of Faculty of Law - VNU. All students were chosen randomly in all eleven classes. The number of students of each class participating in the survey was identified basing on the number of students of each class. After finishing the survey instrument, the author of this study conducted the survey to all students. The researcher also asked for the agreement from the students at Faculty of Law to voluntarily take part in the process of data collection. To ensure easy understanding of the questions, the instrument was presented in Vietnamese. The survey questionnaires were then distributed directly to respondents. Then, the respondents sent their completed questionnaires back to the author. It was worth noting that students at Faculty of Law may include a foreigner. However, respondents who were from other countries were not included in this study. Therefore, this study was based on a sampled data set that only contained Vietnamese respondents. After collecting and checking the filled up instruments, 286 filled instruments which meet the requirements were included in the final processing and analysis. Of them 133 were males (46.5%) and 153 were (53.5%) females. In terms of their living places, 32.2% of them were living in urban areas, about two third (67.8%) were living in rural areas. 2.2.2. Instruments To collect the necessary data for this study, a two-part survey instrument about motivational factors, English speaking performance and general information of respondents was developed and used. The first part of the instrument included questions about the students’ demographic characteristics such as gender, hometown, grade of student and their majors. In the second part, the survey participants were asked to respond to the different items on motivation factors using a five-point Likert scale, ie.: (1) = Strongly disagree, (2) = Disagree, (3) = Neutral, (4) = Agree, (5) = Strongly agree. In this study the subscales of motivation were Positive Attitude, Second Language Speaking Anxiety, Determination to Learn, Instrumentality, Intrinsic Motivation, Social Appeal and Immigration Tendency. There were 30 questions in which the respondents expressed their perceptions. 28 items (with seven scales) were taken from Schmidt’s study (1996), adapted by Moriam Quadir (2014). The author added two items that is English speaking skill will support me with my current further study in the Scale Instrumentality and English speaking performance is important to me because it can broaden my social knowledge in the Scale Social Appeal. This item can be suitable when considering the Pham Thuy Duong 108 students’ motivation when they are studying at university. At university study and higher study level in Vietnam, English is chosen to be the main foreign language, mentioning that many students will use English as a language to abroad. It also included the questions on English speaking performance of students which are also answerable using a five-point Likert scale. There were 4 questions in which the respondents expressed their perception. 2.2.3. Data Analysis This research was carried out quantitatively and it involved some quantitative analyses with the use of statistical tools. There are several software packages for the analysis of the quantitative data; some of which are broader in scope and user friendly like SPSS. SPSS may obviously not be the best one but its user friendly and the mastery the author has of SPSS automatically makes it better for him. There may be spread sheet packages that are better than the SPSS but SPSS is widely in use now. Therefore, it has been decided that the collected data were processed and analyzed using the SPSS 20 software. In Reliability Test of Scales, Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient was calculated to see how the items explain the research concepts. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient is a statistical test to see whether items in a scale are inter-correlated. The acceptable level of Cronbach’s Alpha ranges from 0.6 to 1 [21]. In each scale, corrected item - total correlation would show how one item is inter-correlated with all other items. Therefore, the higher this value is, the closer the relationship between the item and others in the scale. According to Nunnally and Burnstein [22], if the corrected item - total correlation is lower than 0.3, the item should be removed from the scale. In order to identify the relationships between motivation factors and English speaking performance of the first year students at Faculty of Law, regression method factor scores were generated from the two sets of factors and afterwards Pearson correlations (2-Tailed) were examined to understand the relationships between second language motivation and speaking performance. 2.3. Results and Discussion Table 1. Results of Reliability Test of Scales Factors Cronbach’s Alpha Number of Items Positive Attitude 0.642 5 Second Language Speaking Anxiety 0.655 5 Determination to Learn 0.805 5 Instrumentality 0.717 5 Intrinsic Motivation 0.759 4 Social Appeal 0.679 3 Immigration Tendency 0.743 3 English Speaking Per
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