Second Language Motivation: Its Relationship to Noticing, Affect, and Production in Task-Based Interaction
Al Khalil, Maymona Khalil
Second language (L2) motivation has been characterized as a complex construct comprised of cognitive, affective, and behavioral components (Gardner, 1985, 2001, 2006). This research explored whether components of L2 motivation significantly related to cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of task-based interaction - specifically, the cognitive dimension of noticing of recasts; the affective dimensions of task satisfaction, task relevance, and task difficulty; and the behavioral dimensions of accuracy, complexity, and fluency of L2 production. Second language motivation was operationalized in accordance with measures adapted from three qualitatively distinct theoretical conceptualizations: the traditionally investigated socio-educational model of second language acquisition (Gardner, 1985, 2001, 2006), the situated perspective of state motivation (Gardner & Tremblay, 1998; Julkunen, 1989, 2001; Tennant & Gardner, 2004; Tremblay, Goldberg, & Gardner, 1995), and the more recently proposed L2 motivational self-system (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009a). Forty-four intermediate learners of Arabic completed a motivation questionnaire, took part in a video-taped task-based interaction with a native speaker interlocutor, and then returned one day later for a stimulated-recall session addressing clipped episodes from their task-based interaction. Ratings of task satisfaction, task relevance, and task difficulty were obtained from participants after each of the six tasks used during interaction. Results indicated that attitudes towards the L2 community, a component of integrativeness in the socio-educational model, significantly predicted reported noticing of recasts. Also, state motivation significantly correlated with task satisfaction and task relevance. As for L2 production, the aggregate construct of motivation, as defined by the socio-educational model, significantly predicted accuracy, complexity, and fluency in four participants, the two most-motivated and the two least-motivated in the sample. No measures from the L2 motivational self-system were found to be associated with noticing of recasts or L2 production. Thus, in addition to empirically confirming important associations between L2 motivation and cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of task-based interaction, the results highlighted the superior sensitivity of socio-educational measures in identifying meaningful relationships with L2 motivation in learners of Arabic as a foreign language.
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