Motivation Variables and Second Language Acquisition with Special Reference to Rural Students


Sawant B. A. Deptt. of English Karmaveer Bhaurao PatilCollege Urun-Islampur Tal- Walwa Distt- Sangli 415509. Introduction: At the outset of this paper, we confess that the terms Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Motivation variables are adopted from ELT.

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If asked to identify the most influential factor in language learning /acquisition, motivation factor would probably be high on most teachers’ lists. Majority learners in India come from rural background as India is primarily an agrarian society.If the learners coming from rural background want to succeed at international horizons, they need to learn/ acquire English which is a second language of India and also a lingua-franca of the world. In this paper, we are trying to find out motivation variables that help learners especially coming from rural background, to overcome fear of English language and to master it. Meaning of Motivation: However, the term motivation is rather difficult to define.

Yet some scholars invested their efforts in defining the term.Gardner (1985) describes the term ‘motivation’ in the context of second language learning as “referring to the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity”. According to the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary (2004) motivation is 1. The reason or reasons behind one’s actions or behaviour and 2. Enthusiasm. A motivated learner is one who is willing or eager to learn new activities and to progress.

Different Types of Motivation: On psychological ground, motivation is of two major types: . Biological motivation: an inborn motivation that deals with the basic instincts like hunger, thrust, sex, etc and nothing to do with second language learning or acquisition. 2. Social motivation: Man, being a social animal, is motivated by some social factors to learn a second language. In the context of a second language learning, variables like sense of achievement, power, status, attachment, etc. motivate learners to learn/ acquire.

In the specific context of language study, Gardner and Lambert (1959, 1972) pioneered work to explain the nature of motivation.Gardner focuses on two different types of motivation. 1. Instrumental motivation: willingness to learn language to fulfill certain utilitarian goals such as passing an examination, getting a job, etc. 2.

Integrative motivation: willingness to learn language in order to communicate with people from another culture that speak that language. There is also a willingness to identify closely with the target language group. Gardner and Lambert (1959, 1972) showed that success in second or foreign language learning is likely to be less if the underlying motivational orientation is instrumental rather than integrative.It simply means that in a second language learning focus is to be on integrative motivation. Another distinction is that between ‘intrinsic’ motivation (the usage to engage in learning activity for its own sake) and ‘extrinsic’ motivation (motivation that is derived from external incentives). Role of Teacher in SLA The teacher in second language classroom should ask certain question like • What are the problematic areas of my learners? • What problems or traits do they wish I could help them solve? • What things concern them? • What are the needs of my learners? • What is the socio-cultural background of my learners? What extra do I teach beyond the prescribed syllabus? A good teacher should understand problems of his/her students with empathy, and provide them with the support that they so greatly need.

Reinforcing Motivation Variables for Students Achievement motivation: McClelland (1953) have done pioneering work on ‘achievement’ motivation. It is necessary for success in any undertaken task. The second language learners should feel that learning second language is an achievement. Power motivation: The second language acquisition should bring a sense of empowerment among the learners. Status motivation:The second language learning/acquisition should be associated with status issue, so that learners would be motivated to learn second language. Attachment motivation: The second language learners should desire to identify themselves closely the target language group.

They should be eager to understand the culture of second language. Goal orientation: Goals are part of motivational framework in which human behavior is energized and directed toward the achievement of personally relevant outcomes. We also know that there may be other variables that motivate students but we have concentrated on these variables only. Conclusion:We feel that students should be aware of these variables so that they may be motivated to learn a second language with interest. We also know that there are other aspects also that motivate students, but we have concentrated on these five elements only.

References: • Baumgardner, S. R. & Crothers M. K. Positive Psychology (2009) • Gardner, R. C.

, & Lambert, W. E. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning : Newbury House. • Gardner, R.

C. , & Lambert, W. E. (1959). Motivational variables in second language acquisition.

Canadian Journal of Psychology. • Article by R. Narayanan, Karen’s Linguistic Isssues