Motivation in second language acquisition among learners in Malaysia

Ali Sorayyaei Azar, Darshini Tanggaraju


Lack of motivation is the critical factor which affects university students’ learning process in Malaysia. Hence, this study is an attempt to investigate the types of motivation which Bachelor students used in learning English at one of the private universities in Malaysia. It was also analysed to determine the motivational level of the Bachelor students who learn English as a Second Language (ESL). This study used a quantitative method where the data was collected through the questionnaire adapted from Gardner’s (1972) Attitude, Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The questionnaire was distributed to 150 students and the data was analysed quantitatively. The findings showed that the majority of the Bachelor students were instrumentally motivated towards learning ESL. The result concerning the level of motivation showed that the students had a high level of instrumental motivation for learning English, compared to integrative, resultative, and intrinsic ones. Yet, it is also apparent that all four types of motivation are at a high motivational level. Based on the findings, a few suggestions were highlighted. First, the lecturers should always design a classroom environment that promotes students’ motivation towards learning ESL. Second, students should be given more opportunities to visit other English native countries under Global Learning Programmes (GLP). In that case, teachers or lecturers of ESL should promote all types of motivation in the classroom and guide students towards achieving goals.


Motivation, integrative motivation, instrumental motivation, resultative motivation, intrinsic motivation

Full Text:



Achmad, D., & Yusuf, Y. Q. (2016). Exploring the motivational factors for learning English in Aceh. Dirasat, Human and Social Sciences, 43, 2223-2234.

Adwani, P., & Shrivastava, S. (2019). Analysis of factors affecting second language acquisition. International Journal of Social Sciences and Management, 4(3), 158-164.

Al-Ta’ani, M. H. (2018). Integrative and instrumental motivations for learning English as a university requirement among undergraduate students at Al-Jazeera University/Dubai. International Journal of Learning and Development, 8(4), 89-105.

Alqahtani, A. F. (2018). English language learning motivation and English language learning anxiety in Saudi military cadets: A structural equation modelling approach. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 9(3), 45-60.

Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of language learning and teaching. Prentice-Hall Regents.

Clement, R., Dornyei, Z., Noels, K. A. (1994). Motivation, self-confidence, and group cohesion in the foreign language classroom. Language learning, 44(3), 417-448.

Dardjowidjojo, S. (1996). The socio-political aspects of English in Indonesia. TEFLIN Journal, 8, 1-13.

Deci, E. L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. Springer.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. Plenum Press.

Dornyei, Z. (2002). Motivation in action: Towards a process-oriented conceptualisation of student motivation. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, 519-538

Ellis, R. (1994). Second language acquisition. Oxford University Press.

Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. Edward Arnold Ltd.

Gardner, R. C., Lalonde, R. N., & Pierson. R. (1983). The socio-educational model of second language acquisition: An investigation using LISREL causal modelling. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 2(1), 51-65.

Gardner, R. & Lambert, W. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Newbury House.

Kam, H. W. (2003). English language teaching in East Asia today: An overview. In H. W. Kam, & R. Y. L. Wong (Eds.), English language teaching in East Asia today: Changing policies and practices (pp. 1-32). Eastern Universities Press.

Kitjaroonchai, N., & Kitjaroonchai, T. (2012). Motivation toward English language learning of Thai students majoring in English at Asia-Pacific International University. Catalyst, 7(1), 21-40.

Lucas, R. I. (2010). A study on the intrinsic motivation factors in second language learning among selected freshman students. Philippine ESL Journal, 4, 3-23.

Narayanan, R., Rajasekaran Nair, N., & Iyyappan, S. (2008). Some factors affecting English learning at tertiary level. Iranian Journal of Language Studies, 2(4), 109-112.

Noels, K. A., Pelletier, L. G., Clement, R., & Vallerand, R. J. (2000). Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self-determination theory. Language Learning, 50, 57-85.

Rehman, A., Bilal, H. A., Sheikh, A., Bibi, N., & Nawaz, A. (2014). The role of motivation in learning English language for Pakistani learners. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 4(1), 254-258.

Rubrecht, B. G., & Ishikawa, K. (2012). Language learning motivation: Applying the L2 Motivational Self System. International Journal of Language Studies, 6(4), 71-96.

Samejon, K. (2015). Extrinsic motivation factors in learning English as second language. Kaalam, 1(1), 35-53.

Seefa., K. R. (2017, December). A learner’s perspective of the challenges faced in learning English as a second language in post-conflict Sri Lanka: A case study of the Madhu Zone in Mannar District [Paper presentation]. Proceedings of 7th International Symposium (IntSym2017), SEUSL, Sri Lanka.

Ulfa, M., & Bania, A. S. (2019). EFL student’s motivation in learning English in Langsa, Aceh. Studies in English Language and Education, 6(1), 163-170.

Usman, B., Silviyanti, T. M. & Marzatillah. (2016). The influence of teacher’s competence towards the motivation of students in learning English. Studies in English Language and Education, 3(2), 134-146.

Vandergrift, L. (2005). Relationships among motivation orientations, metacognitive awareness, and proficiency in L2 listening. Applied Linguistics, 26, 70-89.

Walker. C. O., Greene. B. A., & Mansell., R. A. (2006). Identification with academics, intrinsic/extrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy as predictors of cognitive engagement. Learning and Individual Differences, 16(1), 1-12.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

View Journal Stats