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Methodand Discussion Write-up
Thispaper reports the investigation of Korean students’ attitudes andmotivation towards learning English. The study comprised of 311freshmen from private universities in Korea. It was a 5-page surveyon the students’ attitudes towards English. This study group had144 female students and 167 male students, aged between 18 and 24years. The average age of the participants was 18.4 years. A majorityof the students were from three faculties: Humanities (54%), Commerce(30.2%), and Law (13.5%).
Thiswas approximately 97.7% of the sample, the remainder comprisedstudents from other faculties. The study participant’s selectioncriterion was convenience and availability. All of the participantshad previously studied English for six years through the Koreaneducation system before enrolling to the universities.
Tomake the research easy the study was designed and given to thestudents on their entrance to the university. The study aimed to getanswers on the overall picture of attitudes towards the study of theEnglish language by Korean students. Thus, the study questions werecarefully crafted so that they would capture all the necessarydimensions involved in getting the ideal situation.
Thesurvey consisted of two parts. The first part of the survey gatheredthe participant’s biographical information. This included but wasnot limited to the names, nationality, age, and gender. The secondpart and which was of the most relevance to the research was thestudents own evaluation of English aptitude. This was the sectionthat would give information to come up with the conclusions made
Toachieve this, the students were given a set of 12 reasons that theresearchers believed to be the most important reasons for the studyof English. The participants were to rank these 12 reasons from themost important to the least important. To make the selection easy,the researchers tailored the 12 reasons on a Korean situation. The 12reasons given were carefully chosen based on Cooper and Fishman’s1977 criteria.
Theparticipants were given specific instructions on how to complete thesurvey. The top three reasons were to be the most important withrespect to the customer. These were to be numbered 1-3 next to thechosen reason. This was also to be performed for the least importantreasons. This meant that numbers 10-12 meant that these were theleast important.
Thetotal for each of the reasons was then tallied. The most importantwere classified as the positive type while the least important wereclassified as the negative type. For the reports’ evaluation,purposes only the first and last selections were discussed. To makecompilation and analysis easy first the data was collected from thesurveys. After this, the data was coded and then moved into aspreadsheet where the analysis of the data would be done.
Toprovide for verification, both completed surveys and researchercoding were used. This means that there was negative correlationi.e. lower numbers were used to indicate the most important or thebest while higher numbers were used to represent the lowest or worstcases (1=Best, 12=Least).
Theaim of this paper was to find out Korean students’ attitudes andmotivation towards learning English. This was accomplished byinvestigating the following research questions. Firstly, the studyinvestigated whether social factors such as parental use of Englishplay any part in motivating the students. The extent of student’sexposure to English outside of the classroom was also analyzed.Secondly, the study investigated the student’s own ratings of theEnglish language skills. Thirdly, the primary motivating factors andwhether they are instrumentally, personally, or integrativelymotivated was studied. Lastly but not least the question of whatfunctions do the students see themselves as performing was asked.
Inrespect to the experience with English, the researchers used a numberof indicators. These indicators included the extent of parentalinvolvement with English, number of visits the students have made toEnglish-speaking countries, students’ personal ratings of theirEnglish proficiency, the students’ use of English outside theclassroom amongst other factors. 12% (38) of the students mentionedparental involvement with English. The results were mixed with somestudents reporting their mother’s use of English, others theirfathers while some mentioned both parents use of English both at homeand at work. A total of 37 students reported the use of Englishoutside of the classroom
Withregard to self-rating of the students, the researchers usedunderstanding, speaking, reading, and writing as the key indicators.Most of the students rated themselves as being “not well” on allthe four scales. The smallest percentage of the students ratedthemselves as being “very well” on all the scales. Actually, nostudent rated him/herself as being very well on the ‘speaking’scale or indicator.
Concerningtheir motivation to study English, the students were given 12 reasonsto choose from. The most popular motivating factor reported by some44 students was that “it makes it easier to get along in othercountries.” Two students gave the reason that the motivation behindstudying English is because “it allows them to read textbooksassigned to them at the university.”
Withrespect to the usefulness of English, there was varying reasons.Among the most important reasons given were for internationaldiplomacy and doing business. The least important reasons given werefor talking to one’s family and for talking to babies.
Limitationsof the study
Thestudy is faced by some limitations. The first being that the use offreshmen meant that data may not be representative because thestudents are still new and are not sure what they want to do infuture. Secondly, by selecting, a sample based on convenience andavailability means that the thoughts of students who are busy intheir studies and who are sure of what they have or need to do wouldnot be investigated.
Thisresearch could be used for various reasons. First it can be used tounderstand why Korean students study English. Secondly, we canunderstand the main motivating factors. In addition, the study can beused by teachers to come up with new techniques of teaching Englishthat may cause or make the students to broaden their needs foreunderstanding this language.
Thisresearch can be studied further by incorporating other non-Englishspeaking countries, more faculties, as well as the use of a moreproportional dataset involving students from all years of university.
Fromthis research, it is clear that there is need for students to studyEnglish as well as other foreign languages. This makes it easier forpeople to be able to communicate easily in an increasinglyglobalizing world.