Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Research on "Motivational Orientation in Pakistani Students Learning English as a Second Language"

                                                               By Qurat ul ain Ayyaz
This research analyses and determines the prominent motivational orientation in students learning English as a second language (L2). The study focuses on instrumental and integrative orientations of Pakistani students learning English as a second (L2). In order to determine the students tendency towards the mentioned orientations, quantitative data were collected from 25 MBA students studying in University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore Pakistan. They were given a questionnaire which was adapted from Gardner Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The research shows that contrary to some researchers belief that in second language learning students are mostly instrumentally motivated, Pakistani students are found to be highly motivated in both integrative and instrumental orientation. This study will helpful in identifying the motivational orientation present in Pakistani students and taking some steps according to their respective orientation can improve ESL learning in the country.


The aim of this research paper is to determine the motivational orientation in Pakistani students. As it was observed that very less research has been done on Pakistani students, so this research is a step towards improving education system in Pakistan by knowing students attitude towards learning a second language. Here in this research English has been taken as a second language. According to the demands of new world and advance technology and also with the growth of our relations with International market, learning English as a second language get more importance than previous years. Several institutions has opened to improve English of the learners and to make them able to speak and write well in this language. So the teachers can work better by knowing the motivational orientation behind learning a second language of the learners and by adopting different strategies accordingly can improve and fast the learning process.

Before proceeding, we should know that what the word “Motivation” actually means in L2 learning. Second language learning motivation means motivation to learn or acquire a second language. This type of motivation is considered in the socio educational model of L2 learning (Gardner 1985), the social context model (Clement, 1980), the self determination model (Noel, & clement, 1996), the extended motivational framework (Dornyei, 1994) and the willingness to communicate model (MacIntyre, Clement, Dornyei, & Noels, 1998). In 1985, Gardener and Lambert defines motivation in second language learning as “the extent to which the individuals works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity”. Gardener and Lambert (1959; 1972) proved that motivation was a great factor in L2 learning. And now a day the important role of motivation is accepted by both teachers and learners. There is no doubt about the fact that motivation in second language has positive results on the learners learning. The students who are highly motivated raise questions while learning as well as discover new ways to work better. The successful students in L2 learning are among those who are highly motivated. So motivation is not only the result of success but a cause also (George Yule).

However, Gardener and Lambert argued that those learners who were integratively motivated were more successful than those with instrumental motivation. It is also stated that “integrative motivation typically underlies successful acquisition of a wide range of registers and a native-like pronunciation” (Finegan 1999:568).But different studies showed that people belonging to different contexts have different attitude in this regard. Bonnet, 2002 found in his survey, done in six European countries that most of the students were integratively motivated and were successful. Marjan Moiivaziri M.A. argued that the Iranian students were highly motivated in both instrumental and integrative orientations, after doing survey of 255 university students. In a study conducted by Berwick and Ross (1989), a group of 90 first year Japanese university students enrolled in an international commerce and a compulsory course were examined to determine their degree and form of motivation. The students were found to be instrumentally motivated and the reason of their studying English was the university entrance exams requirement and this orientation has positive affects on their academic results.

Motivation in L2 learning results in long term stable attitudes in the students mind. Robert Gardener and Wallace Lambert had done pioneering work to explore the nature of motivation in second language learning. They introduced two main motivational orientations, i.e integrative and instrumental motivation. They defined integrative motivation as one which derives from a desire on the learner’s part to be member of the speech community that uses a particular language while instrumental motivation is the reflection of an external need. The learners are not learning a language because they want to rather because they need to for a career, goal or some other particular reason (Gardener and Lambert 1972, Gardener 1985, 2007).

Vivian Cook (2008) said that both integrative and instrumental motivation may lead to success, and lack of either causes problems. Vivian Cook (2008) said that the actual meaning of motivation for the teachers is that something generates in the students. Furthermore, he said that the enjoyment by students is not necessarily a sign that learning is taking place. Peters in 1973 suggested that “What interest the students is not necessary in the student interest”.
According to Crookes and Schmidt (1991), motivation is a short term process, which keeps on changing in the classroom. They said that motivation in L2 learning is a very important factor in the class but a lot of work has to be done on it. Patsy M.Light brown and Nina Spada tried to find in their article “Factors affecting Second language learning” that to what extent we can predict differences in Second language learning in two individuals, if we have information about their motivation, personalities, their abilities etc. according to Patsy Light Brown and Nina Spada motivation in Second language is a complex phenomenon and can be defined in terms of two factors; learners communicative needs and their attitudes towards the second language community. According to them the research cannot indicate precisely that ‘How’ motivation is related to learning.


This research has been assigned as a major assignment to the students of M.A ELT and MSC Applied Linguistics in University of Management and Technology and to be competed in one month. Due to time constraint the population in the survey was very low in number and the relation between motivational orientation and it s affects on learning is also not examined. It is suggested in future to the same research with a large number of populations representing the whole Pakistan and it is also suggested to determine the correlation between motivational orientation and its affects on learning a second language.


This research has been done in order to know the motivational orientation and their role in Pakistani context. This research will helpful in a way that motivational orientation of students should be considered as a significant factor in teaching and learning of a second language. By knowing students personalities and their motivational attitude towards learning, teachers can work better in order to gain results from the learners. Determining students social and psychological attitudes towards L2 learning are very useful to build classroom environment according to the results.

Underlying Assumption

Study shows that according to some researchers, students who are integratively motivated are more successful than those having instrumental orientation. But contrary to this belief it was argued by some researchers that it is not necessary that only integratively motivated students are more successful, rather it was found that students related to different contexts have different orientations and were successful second language learners. It was also observed that there was no practical work for proving or rejecting this idea, among Pakistani students. So this research will determine the motivational orientation of Pakistani students. More specifically, the following hypotheses were conducted for the following study:

H1: Students are highly motivated in learning a second language.

H2: There is a significant difference between the integrative and instrumental orientations of Pakistani students.



In this research 25 students both male and female of MBA program were selected by non-probability sampling from University of Management and Technology, Lahore Pakistan. Due to time constraint a limited sampling has done.

Procedure and Instrumentation

The Gardner’s Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) (Gardner, 1985) was adapted to a 5-point scale questionnaire, ranging from ‘Strongly Agree’ to ‘Strongly Disagree’. The AMTB is reported to have good reliability and validity (Gardner, 1985; 1980; Gardner and Smythe, 1981). The English version of AMTB questionnaire was given to the students of MBA learning English as a second language in University of Management and Technology. The purpose and different terms of the questionnaire were explained before the distribution.

The participants were asked to indicate on a five point scale how important each reason is for their learning English as a foreign language. The focus was on two types of motivational orientation: Integrative and Instrumental motivation, following Gardner and Lambert’s (1972) definition. Eight statements were designed to find out the dominant reason for studying English as a second language among MBA students of UMT, Lahore Pakistan.

Results and Discussion

The collected raw data was fed in the computer and was analyzed through SPSS (Scientific Package for Social Sciences). And descriptive statistics were carried out for all measures in this research.

The results are discussed below:

Comparison between the mean scores of the eight items in the questionnaire shows that students are highly motivated in Q1, Q2, Q5, Q6 and Q7. Where as, Q3,Q4 and Q8 shows the students relatively less motivation but there no lack of motivation is observed in all these eight items/ questions. Therefore, the first hypotheses is approved.

QuestionsMean scoreQuestionsMean score
Q1:to behave like native speakers4.3600Q5:English for future career4.4000
Q2: to understand native life4.40Q6:help me to become a knowledgeable person4.2800
Q3: to appreciate literature4.0400Q7: to get good job4.3200
Q4:to imitate native speakers4.0800Q8:to receive people’s respect3.6400

Table 1

In order to investigate the second hypotheses, following t-test has been done. Table 2 shows the differences between the instrumental and integrative orientations of university students of Pakistan.

Mean Score of Integrative and Instrumental Motivation

Std. Deviation

Mean comparison of Integrative and Instrumental motivation of Pakistani Students

Test Value = 0                                      

Sig. (2-tailed)
Mean Difference
95% Confidence Interval of the Difference


Table 2

A T- test was used to determine the difference between integrative and instrumental orientations of Pakistani students. The result shows there is no significant difference between the two orientations. Thus it is concluded that students are both instrumentally and integratively motivated.
This means that the second hypothesis is not confirmed. This result also answers the research question that is Pakistani students are both integratively and instrumentally motivated.

Figure 1

The graph clearly shows that there is a slight difference of 0.24 between the two orientations in Pakistani students. Integrative motivation shows slight increase of 0.24 against instrumental motivation.


The aim of this research paper is to determine the motivational orientation in Pakistani students. The result shows that Pakistani students are both integrativelly and instrumentally motivated, contrary to the opinion of some researchers who believe that students are tend to be more instrumentally motivated in second language learning. And this provides the answer of the research topic. The result also shows that students are highly motivated towards learning the second language and there is no lack of motivation in them.

The significance of this research paper is that it will help the readers to know the motivational orientation in Pakistani students. These findings will help in bringing improvement and changes regarding L2 teaching and learning.

Some Suggestions for Further Research

The study did not take a large number of participants due to limited time, so it is suggested to do this research with a large number of participants from different universities of Pakistan. Because although this study shows that Pakistani students possesses both motivational orientations, but the limited number of participants did not allow me to conclude in general that all the Pakistani students are both instrumentally and integratively motivated, more research in this area need to be conducted. Furthermore it is suggested to determine and analyze the affects of these motivational orientations in Pakistani students performance in second language learning to improve the education system in the country.


  • Candlin, C. N. and Mercer N. (2001) English Language Teaching in its Social Context. Routledge 11 New
    Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

  • Cook, V. (2008) Second Language Learning and Language Teaching (4th Edition). Hodder Education, part of Hachette Livre UK, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3 BH.

  • Gardner, R.C. and Tremblay, P.F. (1995) Expanding the Motivation Construct in Language Learning. Retrieved on August 15, 2009 from http://www.jstor.org/pss/330002.

  • Hodge, P.A (2004) Invigorate and Motivate. Retrieved on August 15, 2009 from

  • Holt, J.N. (2001) Motivation as a contributing factor in second language acquisition. The Internet TESL Journal.

  • Yule, G. The Study of Language (3rd Edition), pp 167,168.

No comments:

Post a Comment