Motivational changes of learners in a traditional context of English education: A case study of high school students in Iran

2013 IJRSLL – Volume 2 Issue 1


Kiany, Gholam Reza
English Department, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran (

Mahdavy, Babak*
English Department, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran (

Ghafar Samar, Reza
English Department, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran (


One of the underexplored areas of research within the language learning literature has been investigating the role of various contextual factors which affect second/foreign language motivation. Since foreign language teaching in Iran is relatively unique in terms of teaching and learning environment, the present study examined the combined effects of these contextual characteristics on the motivational changes of students after four years of learning English at high schools. The data was collected by administering a valid and reliable questionnaire which measured ‘L2 Motivational Self System’ of 401 Iranian high school students. Results of descriptive statistics showed that all the motivational variables decline during the last years of high school English language teaching and only ‘L2 anxiety’ increases. According to the results of Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test, the declines in ‘interest’, ‘ideal L2 self’ and ‘instrumental-promotion’ are statistically significant. The study concluded that these changes in students’ motivation are due to the effects of the traditional teaching and learning environment and conservative policies of foreign language teaching. Obviously, increasing learner motivation in this context of English teaching requires scientific reforms within the educational system.

Keywords: Second/foreign language teaching; L2 motivational self system; Iranian high schools; case study



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