This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Motivations of Chinese/Japanese/Korean Language Learners and their Relationship to Pedagogical Preferences




An, Haesoon

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study was to examine motivations of Asian Language learners, their pedagogical preferences in terms of classroom structures and activities in U.S. higher education setting, and their relationship based on age, gender, self-rated target language proficiency, first language, heritage/nonheritage, prior second language experience, and the academic major. Data were collected using a short version of the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (mini- AMTB) developed by Gardner (1993), and Pedagogical Preference Questionnaire adapted from Schmidt &Watanabe (2001)’s Questionnaire Part B (Preferences for instructional activities). Using SPSS software, the collected data were analyzed to examine descriptive statistics, and primary predictors, and the relationship between motivation and their pedagogical preferences through T-test analysis, one-way ANOVAs, correlational analysis, and regression. The study indicated that the learners of the Asian languages (Chinese/Japanese/Korean) recorded high second language learning motivations (L2 Motivations) across the five subscales: integrative-ness, attitudes toward the learning situation, motivation and instrumental orientation. Gender, major, first language (L1), and target language (TL), however, were strongly correlated with their L2 Motivations. Female students had a much higher level of the integrative-ness. Chinese (L1) speaking students showed the lowest level of integrative-ness, but they showed the higher scores on the language requirement question than either English or Korean speaking students. The learners of Chinese (TL) recorded the highest anxiety; the learners of Japanese stood in the middle; the learners of Korean had the lowest anxiety. As for their pedagogical preferences, Practical Proficiency was liked the most, Innovative Approach and Traditional Approach were next highly preferred. Cooperative Learning and Challenge were liked the least by all the participants. Gender, age, and L1 were significantly correlated with the students’ pedagogical preferences. The female students had a significantly higher appreciation for Traditional Approach, Practical Proficiency, and Innovative Approach than the male students. The age group of 18-19 and 22-23 welcomed Cooperative Learning (CL) more than students of above 23 years old. The English-speaking students showed significantly higher preferences for Practical Proficiency than Chinese-speaking students. There were statistically significant links between L2 Motivations and pedagogical preferences. Integrative-ness, attitude, and motivation of L2 Motivations had a weak to moderate correlation with most types of classroom activities. A liking for challenging classroom activities was associated positively with most aspects of L2 Motivations; highly motivated L2 learners for various reasons were more likely to welcome challenging classroom activities. However, the language requirement was not a significant predictor of the pedagogical preferences in the study. This study suggests that foreign language teachers should be aware of their students’ L2 motivations to design the most effective courses. Needs analysis should be implemented to recognize their motivation at the early stage of teaching. Teachers should also incorporate the learners’ preferences in lesson planning, balancing different liked styles of teaching among the learners. However, it should not be neglected to encourage the learners to go beyond their comfort zone and explore other dimensions of communicative competence. Without balancing all the four competences—grammatical competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence, and strategic competence, they cannot use the target language successfully.