In this study, the correlation between Chinese language learning motivation and high school students’ general characteristics was explored. Further, the impact of motivation on students’ class participation was analyzed in order to understand the educational implications.
The survey tool developed by Nam Jung (1996), which was used to examine English language learning motivation, was reconstructed to fit the purpose of this study. The survey was conducted among 439 students taking Chinese as a second language at six high schools in Busan, South Korea.
The correlation between the four types of learning motivation and students’ grade, gender, Chinese learning duration, and average time spent for studying Chinese off campus per week was examined. Simultaneously, the differences and changes in learning motivation that occurred according to the characteristics of students were identified. Furthermore, by analyzing the correlations between Chinese class participation and the four types of learning motivation from responses to the survey questions, the types of motivation that had a direct or indirect effect on Chinese language classes were determined. Additionally, the characteristics of students affected most by the motivation types were ascertained.
The research analysis indicated statistically significant correlations between the four types of learning motivation and students’ characteristics. “Intrinsic motivation” showed significant correlations with students’ grade, gender, and the average time spent studying Chinese off campus per week, and “social self-awareness motivation” showed significant correlations with grade, gender, and the duration of learning Chinese. “Instrumental motivation” had a significant correlation with the time spent learning Chinese, and “task-avoidance goal motivation” had a significant correlation with gender and time spent learning Chinese.
There were also significant correlations between class participation and all four types of motivation. Proportional correlations between class participation and “intrinsic motivation,” “social self-awareness motivation,” and “instrumental motivation” were noted, while an inversely proportional correlation occurred between class participation and “task-avoidance goal motivation.”
For the proportionally correlated motivations, stronger motivation accompanied higher levels of class participation. On the other hand, “task-avoidance goal motivation” weakened with higher levels of class participation. Learning motivations took various forms depending on students’ characteristics, and several motivations coexisted for some students. Furthermore, the types of motivation were displayed differently according to students’ learning stages. Ultimately, teachers can maximize the learning effect by arousing motivation in students that is appropriate for their characteristics and learning stage, such as gender and time spent learning Chinese.
Student motivation is a major factor that directly impacts class participation, which is closely linked to success or failure in class. In this respect, the analyses of students’ learning motivation and the correlation with class participation are expected to offer important implications for secondary school Chinese language education classes. Based on the findings of this study, teachers may use varying motivation-arousing strategies according to the different characteristics of students in order to improve class participation and maximize the learning effects of their classes.
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