An analysis of a hypothesized model of EFL students' motivation based on self-determination theory

Junko Otoshi, Neil Heffernan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The present study focuses explicitly on how the three psychological needs of Self-Determination Theory (SDT) - autonomy, relatedness and competence - were determinants of the intrinsic motivation of two groups of students: 203 English majors and 82 business majors. Since intrinsic motivation is an independent pole in which all three psychological needs have strong relationships, and demonstrates the most autonomous conditions on the intrinsic/extrinsic motivation continuum in SDT, this study explicitly focused on intrinsic motivation. The results reveal that the three psychological needs have a different causal relationship with intrinsic motivation depending on majors. While relatedness and competence displayed a substantial influence on intrinsic motivation in the English majors, only competence showed a statistically significant influence on intrinsic motivation in business majors. Also, autonomy did not display a causal relationship with intrinsic motivation in either group. Furthermore, TOEIC scores were statistically affected by intrinsic motivation and competence only in the English majors. From these results, it is suggested that language teachers should undertake activities to improve the language skills of EFL college students while incorporating more communicative approaches and cultivating a clear reason for them to study English.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-86
    Number of pages21
    JournalAsian EFL Journal
    Volume13
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2011

    Keywords

    • Different majors
    • Motivation
    • Psychological needs
    • Self-Determination Theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language

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