A Survey-Based Study of Motivation and Attitude to Learning a Second Language at Ufa State University of Economics and Service
Kazantseva EA1*, Valiakhmetova EK1, Minisheva LV2, Anokhina SZ1and Latypova EM2
1Candidate of Philological Sciences,
Docent Language Training Department,
Ufa State University of Economics and
Service, Bashkortostan, Russia
2Language Training Department, Ufa State University of Economics and Service,
- Corresponding Author:
- Elena Anatolievna Kazantseva
Associate professor, Head of Department
Candidate of philological sciences
Language Training Department
University of Economics and Service
Bashkortostan, 450078, Ufa, Chernyshevskiy
Received date: February 29, 2016; Accepted date: March 19, 2016; Published date: March 25, 2016
Citation: Kazantseva EA, Valiakhmetova EK,
Minisheva LV, et al. A Survey-Based Study
of Motivation and Attitude to Learning a
Second Language at Ufa State University
of Economics and Service. Global Media
Journal. 2016, S2:8.
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This article presents a new attempt to research motivation to learning a second language (L2) and attitude to learning activity at a higher educational establishment. In this study motivation is defined as the learner's orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language, and attitude to learning activity is understood as willingness to make personal effort with the purpose of mastering the language. The study also included an attempt to reveal the students' perception of L2 learning environment. A detailed motivational survey was conducted on a sample of Ufa State University of Economics and Service undergraduates. The data were analyzed by means of frequency, percentage, and arithmetic mean. The main findings show that the students have mildly positive attitudes to L2 learning with subjects’ greater support of instrumental reasons for learning the English language including utilitarian and academic reasons, while regarding the integrative reasons, the results provided evidence that learning English as a part of the culture of its people have less impact on students’ second language motivation. The subjects recognize the importance of the English language but interestingly d6 not reveal high level orientation towards making effort to learn the language. The study found that aspects of motivation most desired to be changed are those associated with the language learning environment. The analysis also revealed high levels of student anxiety during L2 classes, which may be due to a number of reasons that should be further investigated. The data obtained can be compared by researchers to reveal the changing patterns of L2 motivation both in the Russian and global context.
L2 motivation; Integrative motivation; Instrumental motivation;
Motivation of avoidance; Attitude to L2 learning activity; Learning environment;
Introduce the problem
Modern psychology considers it axiomatic that man possesses
an intrinsic inclination to cognition. A. Maslow, in his work
“Motivation and personality” , considers cognitive needs as
vital for man. Motivation to studies is also regarded by modern
science as part of man’s cognitive need, a desire to know and
L2 motivation has rather long been in the focus of research.
Nowadays it is distinctly understood that motivation to learning a
language is the main prerequisite of positive results. Motivation, according to Winne and Marx (Winne and Marx, 1989), is both
a condition for and a result of effective instruction. The earliest
research on motivation was focused on two main orientations
of motivation of L2 learners, integrative and instrumental .
Besides Gardner’s integrative and instrumental constructs,
Cooper and Fishman mentioned a third type of motivation which
they called “developmental”. According to them, developmental
motivation refers to motivation relating to “personal development
or personal satisfaction” . More recent studies have shown
that there are other factors to be investigated in this area.
Dörnyei  expanded Gardner’s model by developing a threelevel
model of motivation structure. His model is composed of
language level including integrative and instrumental subsystems, learner level comprising learner’s personal characteristics, and
learning situation level that reflects various characteristics of the
given course, the teacher, and the group of learners. Gardner’s
conception was also further expanded by Richard Clément [5,6]
who introduced the notion of linguistic self-confidence. Marion
Williams and Bob Burden (Williams and Burden, 1997) pioneered
in introducing the notions of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.
Russian scientists made a significant contribution to researching
the issue as well. L.I. Bozhovich distinguishes two main kinds of
academic motivation: cognitive motivation, which is connected
with the contents and the process of learning, and social
motivation, related to various interactions of students and other
people involved in the process of studies . A.K. Markova and coauthors
expanded this classification complementing it with broad
cognitive motives, educational motives, broad social motives,
motives of self-actualization . With similar views, Rean AA and
Yakunin VA [9,10] introduced motivation of avoidance (negative
motivation) and motivation of prestige. With a practical purpose
to assess the structure and level of academic motivation, a number
of Russian researchers developed different questionnaires based
on their understanding of the issue [9-12].
Why the problem is important
This study investigated the level of students’ L2 motivation,
attitude to learning activity, and learning environment at Ufa
State University of Economics and Service. Language study is a
requirement at USUES. The university offers a wide range of BSc
and MSc programs including such programs as “Global Economy”,
“Tourism”, “Hospitality”, “Public Relations”, “Information
Technologies”, “Chemical Technologies” and some others that are
directly connected with international contacts. That is why the
university has always been highly interested in training specialists
able to use one or two foreign languages in their future jobs.
Standards of higher education on their side also require graduates
to be confident users of L2 in their professional sphere.
The system in USUES provides two to four years of instruction
that qualifies the students to graduate with a BA/BS degree. A
course of Foreign Language is a requirement and is taught for all
the USUES students over four semesters in their first and second
year. For a number of majors, this is followed by a two-semester
course of Business Foreign Language in the third year and
Professional Foreign Language in their fourth year. The urgency of
boosting students’ motivation to L2 learning has become evident
due to the dramatic decrease in the level of school-based L2
proficiency revealed by freshmen enrolled at Ufa State University
of Economics and Service (USUES). During the last five years
freshmen have shown an increasing lack of interest in L2 studying,
extremely low basic L2 skills (mostly elementary, sometimes
even starters) and high rates of absenteeism. Students face a
lot of difficulties in using the language, which is most probably
due to the fact that they had a frustrating experience during the
previous period of L2 learning. Identifying the structure and level
of their motivation may contribute to formulating measures for
the improvement of their learning motivation in L2. Their type
of motivation could be identified at this first point to assist them
through their successful path of learning English. All in all, better
understanding of students' motivation and attitudes may assist ESL/EFL curriculum and instruction designers to devise language
teaching programs that generate the attitudes and motivation
most conducive to the production of more successful ESL/EFL
Besides the significant role of learners’ motivation and attitudes
in the learning process, the lack in the literature regarding studies
on university students’ motivation and learning behavior in the
Russian Federation has been another motive to carry out the
present research. The significance of this study should be that the
responses lead to better understanding of their motivation. The
findings could help the university work toward an improvement
of their motivation and, alongside, enhancing their language
learning achievement at the very earliest stage of their enrollment
in the first year.
Objectives of the study
This study aims at investigating USUES students’ motivation and
attitudes towards L2 learning.
In this study, the major focus was on various socio-psychological
variables rather than language proficiency levels which were not
tested. Instead, the students were asked to evaluate their L2 skills
themselves. In the very beginning we put forward the following
1. To study motivation levels and structure
2. To reveal the difference in motivation among students of
different age, study program, gender, academic and social
background, level of language skills
3. To reveal the students’ learning behavior towards the subject
4. To reveal the students’ perception of L2 learning environment
5. To find out how all these factors interact with each other
6. In the weeks following the start of the experiment, the
enormity of the task became apparent. There were many
items that were identified with many different measurement
strategies, many different majors, many different ages, and so
forth, and it was obvious that a multitude of decisions would
have to be made. Surprisingly, there were more data than we
had initially supposed. To simplify the task, it was decided to
start with the general data analysis (research questions 1, 3,
4). In the end it seemed reasonable to limit one study to this
set and plan a second stage of analysis to consider the other
sets of data. Such an approach, we felt, would permit greater
flexibility than trying to organize all studies into one format.
Participant characteristics and scope of the
The study was conducted by stratified random sampling from
the total population of the university students on a sample of
200 first to fourth year undergraduate BSc students (both male
and female) at Ufa State University of Economics and Service,
in the second semester, academic year 2014-2015 to explore
the dominant motivation in their L2 learning, their learning behavior towards its acquisition, and the level of enjoyment
of their studies. The data for this study were obtained through
questionnaire administered to the total number of 200 students.
The subjects’ age was between 17 and 21.
The method of inquiry used in this study was a questionnaire. It
consisted of two sections. In Section A, 9 items were used to collect
information regarding the students’ background (major, year,
gender, age, academic background, area of residence, number of
foreign languages being studied, self-estimated L2 proficiency).
Section B consisted of 12 groups of questions to identify students’
motivation to L2 learning and their learning behavior, as well
as the level of enjoyment of their studies. Some of the survey
questions were adapted from the existing literature; the others
were developed by the authors. These reasons represented
the following motivational constructs namely, instrumental
motivation (items 6.2; 6.3; 6.4; 6.5; 9.1; 9.2; 10.1; 10.2; 10.3),
integrative motivation (items 5.4; 5.5; 5.6; 5.7; 6.1; 6.6; 6.7; 8.2;
8.3; 9.3; 9.4; 9.5; 9.6; 9.7; 9.8; 9.9), motivation of avoidance (
items 4.1; 4.2; 4.4; 4.7); broad social motivation (items 4.3; 4.6;
4.12; 9.10), broad cognitive motivation (items 4.11; 4.13; 4.14;
5.3), motivation of prestige (items 4.5; 4.8; 4.9; 10.4); motivation
of creative actualization (items 4.10; 10.5), attitude to the subject
(group 3; items 1a; 1b; 8.1; 8.4; 8.5), learning behavior (group 2),
the level of enjoyment of studies (items 5.1; 5.2; groups 7; 11).
In item 7.10 of Section B of the questionnaire the students
were asked to answer the question on whether or not they are
interested in attending more English language training courses
to improve their proficiency in the English language. Answering
such a question is of great importance to know about their desire
for learning the language which is considered one of the main
components of language learning motivation .
The questionnaire was administered in the mother tongue. The
purpose and different terms of the questionnaire were explained
before the distribution. The students were informed that the
information they gave would be kept confidential and be used
for research purposes only. The students were asked to finish the
survey within 20 minutes during the normal teaching period of
The quantitative data of the questionnaires were analyzed in
terms of frequency, percentages and means.
This part indicates the general demographic data of the
respondents. The results are shown based on the questionnaire.
As we can see from Table 1, there were a total of 200 respondents.
The majority of the respondents were female (79 %), and the
minority of the respondents were male (21%).
||Per cent (%)
Table 1: Gender of respondents.
| Area of residence
||Per cent (%)
Table 2: Area of residence of respondents.
The information on the area of residence of respondents
is presented in Table 2. About two thirds of the university population is represented by students from different Russian
cities and towns. Although, the proportion of rural residents is
also considerable (32%). This fact may be of importance as on the
whole the level of school L2 teaching in rural areas is believed to
be significantly lower. The situation is aggravated by the fact that
in many cases rural schools fail to fill L2 teacher vacancies.
The information about the academic background of the
participants is in full compliance with the above mentioned
hypothesis as nearly one fourth of the respondents mentioned
that they had failed to get a full school course of L2 (Table 3).
Nearly half of the respondents are majoring in tourism and
hospitality (Table 4). This is explained by the fact that unlike
many others, they are taught L2 during the whole period of their
educational program. Other majors are represented by lower
numbers of participants. Some groups failed to take part in the
survey as they were doing work experience at that time.The data
on academic year the respondents are in is presented in Table 5.
The information on the level of L2 proficiency of the respondents
is presented in Table 6. It was our intention to make up the selfrating
system parameters as simple and understandable as it
was possible. The students were offered to assess their L2 level
making only one choice from the following options: Author do
not know anything, maybe just a few words (starter); my level
is low, and the vocabulary is very limited (elementary); Author
can do translations but have difficulties with listening and
speaking (low intermediate); Author am able to express myself in
ordinary situations and understand in general what author hear
(intermediate), Author communicate quite confidently but feel
that author make a lot of mistakes (upper intermediate); Author
speak fluently and feel confident in any situations, can read
without using a dictionary and enjoy understanding films and
songs in L2 (advanced). Although self-estimation can hardly be
considered an absolutely reliable source of information (and the
criteria used were rough), it may at least show the general state
of things. As a result, only 35.5% of USUES students evaluate their
L2 level as intermediate and higher and consider themselves to
be able to communicate in this language. The other 64,5% realize
that they have not been successful at L2 learning so far Table 6.
One of the most important questions for the current research
was whether the students’ attitude to L2 as an academic
subject underwent any changes during the transitional period
between school and university. The data obtained reveal the
general effectiveness and language related enjoyment of L2 study programs used in USUES as compared to school L2 study
programs Table 7. It should also be noted that 173 respondents
out of the total 200 (86.5%) feel like they will be able to master
the language whereas 24 of them (12%) express doubt and only 3
(1.5%) were pessimistic about their final results.
||Per cent (%)
|Full school course of L2
|Incomplete/deficient course of L
Table 3: Academic Background of respondents.
||Per cent (%)
|Tourism and hospitality
Table 4: Major of respondents.
||Per cent (%)
Table 5: Academic year the respondents are in.
Table 6: L 2 level (self-estimation data)
The last item in this section concerned the respondents’ attitude
to studies and learning behavior (Table 8). Interestingly enough,
whereas the majority of respondents are generally positive to L2
studying (80%), less than a half of them are responsible towards
doing home assignment and only 15% always try to meet the
deadline getting their credits. This inconsistency significantly
lowers the mean arithmetic showing only half of the respondents
as fairly purposeful and industrious at L2 learning Table 8.
In an instrumental orientation, learners are studying a language
in order to further a career or academic goal. The results on
instrumental motivation are shown in Table 9. The intensity
of motivation of USUES students to attain this goal was found
to be high with the majority of the participants (75.5%). The most attractive goals for USUES students are getting a job with
an internationally-based company or abroad, the advantages
L2 gives for using the Internet, and continuing education in an
English-speaking country. In comparison to other questions,
question 4 (willingness to move abroad) showed the lowest level
of motivation (36% gave positive answers).
The results show moderate to high integrative motivation toward
L2 learning (Table 10). It is noteworthy that the results might
have been better if L2 proficiency of respondents were higher.
This is supported by the fact that 67.5% of respondents enjoy
English songs but as for reading and watching films, where a
certain L2 level is needed, the figures are significantly lower (34% and 34.5%, respectively), which might be a reflection of low L2
proficiency. Meanwhile, the question on whether L2 is among the
most important subjects in the respondents’ study program got
88% positive answers, and 72% agree that the more they study
L2, the more they like it. Another positive finding is that 68% of
the respondents would like to learn another foreign language.
||Language skills development
Table 7: Statistical analysis of ALE changes and language skills
development (frequency and percentage).
|Are generally positive towards L2 learning
|Try to keep up academic attendancehigh
|Are responsible towards doing home assignment
|Always try to meet the deadlines
Table 8 :Attitude to studies and learning behavior (frequency and
|Willingness to use L2 in the future job
|Willingness to get a job abroad
|Willingness to get further education abroad
|Willingness to move abroad
|Agree that L2 may be needed in the future life
|Agree that L2 gives advantages when applying for a job
|Agree that L2 facilitates working in the Internet
|Agree that English should be used by any educated person
|Agree that English is the main means ofcommunication
||31, 5 (15.78%)
Table 9: Structure of instrumental motivation.
For their attitudes towards the Western culture, more than half
of the participants showed their positive view and interest in the
culture of the target language. However, only 13% of respondents
can boast that they know a lot about the English-speaking
countries Table 10.
Other types of motivation
One of the important research areas was to study the levels of
negative motivation, or motivation of avoidance (Table 11). The
study revealed that the share of negatively motivated students
equals nearly one tenth of the whole sample. Although this type
of motivation apparently has the least impact on USUES students,
these results may reflect a certain level of frustration due to the
general lack of school-based knowledge Table 11.
|Enjoy listening to and singing English songs
|Enjoy watching films in English
|Enjoy reading books in English
|Enjoy communicating with native speakers
|Would like to know more about native speakers
|Would like to learn another foreign language
|Would like people around to speak English
|Are interested in L2 culture and native speakers
|Know a lot about the target countries
|Agree that Americans are sociable and hospitable
|Agree that Englishmen are kind and friendly
|Agree that Germans are industrious, responsible and punctual
|Agree that the more they learn about L2 culture and native speakers, the more they like them
|Agree that any foreign language is a complicated subject requiring a few years’ work
|Agree that the more they study L2, the more they like it
|Agree that for them, L2 is among the most important subjects in their study program
Table 10: Structure of integrative motivation (including attitudes to the Western culture).
|Fear of being expelled
|The fact of L2 inclusion in the study program as a compulsory course
|Fear of falling behind the group
Table 11: Motivation of avoidance.
|Parents insist on studying L2
|Desire to make parents feel happy and proud
|The teacher’s personal interest in the student’s progress
|Support on the side of family and friends
Table 12: Broad social motivation.
Tables 12 and 13 represent the data regarding broad social and
cognitive motivation with USUES students. It can be seen from
the tables that broad cognitive motivation (40.1%) dominates
over their broad social motivation (27.1%). It should be noted
that the absolute majority of respondents (85.5%) mentioned
support on the side of family and friends as an important motive
for their L2 learning (Tables 12 and 13). Motivation of prestige is
also an important component with USUES students (Table 14).
With its arithmetic mean of 37.5%, the most frequent motive is
that speaking good L2 boosts authority that got 83.5% of positive
responds Table 14.
As for motivation of creative actualization, the results showed
that it has the highest levels of all. This fact gives an opportunity
to improve student motivation and attitudes to L2 learning by
designing L2 study programs supporting students’ creativity Table 15.
Language training needs and level of enjoyment
Given the participants’ reasons to learn L2, these subjects
were further asked to specify their own opinions to the idea of taking more L2 training courses that would help improve their
proficiency. The results in Table 16 show that 41% of them
responded positively, which is apparently less than the desired
level. On the other hand, the absolute majority of the subjects
realize that L2 is an important part of their study program as only
3% of them expressed a desire to cancel this subject from their
educational program. 13% positive responses to the question if
they would like the teaching methods used to be changed, as
well as 1% of subjects wishing to change their teacher confirm
that both the teachers and the teaching methods used on the
whole are perceived as appropriate and enjoyable. A certain
contradiction is represented by the responses to the last two
questions in this subsection. Although rather a big proportion of
the students (36%) would like L2 requirements to be higher, only
6.5% of them agree to spend more time doing homework. This
may be due to a number of reasons. On the one hand, a high
percentage of students have to get a part-time job in order to pay
the tuition, and it may be an obstacle to spending a lot of time on
L2 home assignments. On the other hand, a significant proportion
of respondents fail to have developed the needed skills of
independent work (and perhaps general skills of studying) during
their previous stage of education. At the same time, it should be noted that the ratio between classroom hours and independent
work within the Russian university BSc study programs has been
repeatedly changed towards classroom hours’ reduction in the
last few years. All this is apparently aggravated by the freshmen’s
low L2 proficiency Table 16.
|Liking L2 in general
|Desire to be successful in studies
|Enjoying L2 classes
|Enjoying doing homework
Table 13: Broad cognitive motivation.
|Desire to be praised by the teacher
|Desire to make better progress than other students in the group
|Having a good command of L2 is prestigious
|Speaking good L2 boosts your authority
Table 14: Motivation of prestige.
|Studying L2 is connected with learning important things and self-actualizing
|Studying L2 contributes to self-development
Table 15: Motivation of creative actualization.
|Would like to attend more L2 training courses which will help you to improve your proficiency
|Would like to cancel this subject from the educational program
|Would like the teaching methods to be changed
|Would like to change your teacher
|Would like the requirements to be higher
|Would like to get more home assignment
Table 16: Results of the students regarding language training needs.
Many researchers [17,18] showed that there is a positive
relationship between the learning environment and student
motivation, stating that a good learning environment helps
to improve the learning outcomes, and inspires and boosts
the learning spirit. The analysis shows that the general level of
students’ enjoyment of their L2 classes is high enough (Table
17) with mean arithmetic of 69.75%. However, quantitative data
revealed that the teaching methods used were considered by
more than a half of students to be an obstacle to their learning.
Apparently, this is one aspect that could be improved by the
university program designers Table 17.
As for classroom environment (Table 18), the data show that
the majority of USUES students listen to their L2 teachers with
attention, get a good understanding of the new material and
rarely get distracted during the class. Nonetheless, the survey
revealed unexpectedly high levels of student anxiety during L2
classes (Table 18).
To sum it up, the findings indicated that although the students
were exposed to English in a university environment more
frequently than students of most other universities, they had only
mildly positive attitudes to L2 learning. The subjects recognized
the importance of the English language but interestingly did not
reveal high level orientation towards making effort to learn the
language. The highest levels were revealed for the motivation of
The fact that respondents are more instrumentally than
integratively motivated may be explained by limited contact with
English native speakers in Russia and their low levels of awareness
of the English-speaking countries culture.
The study found that aspects of motivation most desired to
be changed were those associated with the language learning
environment. This was common across the subjects. Rather a
high proportion of respondents are not quite satisfied with the
teaching methods used. The analysis also revealed high levels of
student anxiety during L2 classes, which may be due to a number
of reasons that should be further investigated.
There are a few limitations to this study that need to be
recognized. First of all, at this stage the research area was limited
to a general data analysis without taking into consideration a number of indices such as age, major, gender etc. As well, the
research did not include a longitudinal analysis of motivation
changes although it is motivation decreases that are most
concerning and most pertinent to examine. Another limitation
is the fact of using a survey itself because direct questionnaires
allow the participants to “disguise their ‘real’ attitudes” .
However, it is also claimed that survey studies eliminate the
chances of manipulation of the situation by the researcher 
which means that the researcher did not do anything to influence
the participants while they had the freedom to give their own
perspectives. One more limitation consists in the fact that lagging
students are characterized by lower academic attendance, so
they constitute a greater proportion of students who missed the
survey. Given the disquieting tendencies revealed by the data
obtained the real situation may apparently be more aggravated.
There is a lot of research that has been carried out worldwide
to investigate learners’ motivation and attitudes towards learning
foreign languages, which supports the importance of these
issues. Some studies have been carried out to investigate second/
foreign language learners’ motivation, others focused on learners’
attitudes. These studies help the researchers to build their idea
on how to identify university students’ motivation and attitudes
towards the English language. The results of our research show
that on the whole, USUES students apparently see L2 as playing
an important role in their lives, either currently or in the future.
Instrumental motivation dominates over integrative motivation.
This is confirmed by the opinion of some researchers who believe
that in a foreign language situation students are instrumentally oriented [21,22]. With reference to previous research, it should
be noted that while the present findings were consistent with a
number of studies, they are at variance with the others .
|Are satisfied with their tutorial
|Enjoy L2 classes
|Are satisfied with their teacher
|Are satisfied with the teaching methods used
Table 17: Level of enjoyment (general data).
|Feelings and behavior during L2 classes
|Feel confident and comfortable
|Are afraid or nervous
|Get a good understanding of the languagematerial
|Listen to the teacher with attention
|Enjoy the process
|Feel bored and distracted
|Prefer to read for other academic subjects
Table 18 :Level of enjoyment (classroom environment).
Another finding was that L2 learning environment in USUES being
in general positively perceived by students needs some changes,
especially in the area of teaching methods. Literature shows that
successful communication using L2 should result in students
feeling some sense of accomplishment as L2 achievement
strongly influences learner motivation .
Apparently, with some students L2 motivation decreases due to
certain situational factors of the learning environment. Other
researchers underline that the situational factors of the learning
environment, such as the course, the teacher, and the groups,
all influence students' learning motivation and attitude towards
the activity . Renninger  explains that it is possible
for learners to develop and deepen interest in a topic over
time, and that a person’s environment (teachers, peers, texts,
activities, etc.) contributes to this interest development. Some
studies also examined the relationship between the learning
context and student motivation. Quantitative data revealed that
the EFL environment can be considered by students to be an
obstacle to their learning, and that student motivation positively
correlated with the learning environment . Relevant language
improvement programs and activities are also discussed in
accordance with the students’ language difficulties to increase
their motivation in English language learning.
One more finding was the low level of L2 proficiency of
respondents. The diminishing number of students in L2 learning
at more advanced level of study is regarded as a general problem
widely recognized by both teachers and researchers in second
language acquisition . This indicates that a number of students
who start learning a second language terminate the study before
they acquire a high proficiency . The data obtained suggest
that despite students' general wish to become proficient in L2,
their effort to engage with language learning is considerably
lower than the desired level. This phenomenon is discussed
in the literature against the backdrop of students' transition
experience from school to university . Given that persistence
in language study should be one of the most important factors
for acquiring a higher proficiency, which is regarded as successful
second language acquisition , this finding needs further
research to reveal the causes of the phenomenon. The issues
of learners’ motivation and attitudes have not been sufficiently
discussed with regard to the Russian university students. In other
words, little study has been conducted to explore the types of
motivation and attitudes that students in the Russian Federation
might have toward learning the English language. Therefore,
this study would help understand these important issues with
regard to the Russian university students. With regard to Russian
EFL learners, the studies that have been undertaken mostly
investigate learners’ motivation and attitudes towards the English
language [30-33]. The literature corroborates our findings that in
the Russian context the leading position is held by instrumental
motivation to ESL learning, which is most notably connected
with getting a job or further education abroad [34,35]. Russian
researchers underline that in the last decade the problem of low L2 motivation has become acute due to the growing importance
of the English language on the one hand, and decreasing levels
of students’ proficiency on the other. A number of investigations
undertaken had considerably discrepant results as researchers
studied motivation on the basis of different educational
institutions. However, on the whole these attempts show that
in the Russian context the problem of L2 motivation is more
aggravated than in most other countries. A recent survey held at
Vitebsk Technical University revealed that about a half of first and
second year students had low L2 motivation, 20% of them even
expressed a wish to cancel L2 from their study program [34,35].
It might be beneficial to include in the future research more
institutions and universities, both international and Russian as L2
learning motivation is one of the most important learning factors
contributing to language-learning effectiveness and proficiency
Conclusion and Implications to Further
This study was conducted to probe L2 motivational orientations
of Russian university students. The findings present a picture
which establishes that the students have mildly positive attitudes
to L2 learning with the dominance of instrumental orientation
over integrative motivation. However, their orientation towards
making effort to learn the language is not high enough to produce
the desired level of the language proficiency as a result of their
language acquisition at university. Besides, the study revealed high levels of anxiety during L2 classes. These factors are
important and certainly need attention.
Although this paper represents an initial effort to examine
motivation and attitudes to L2 learning at a separate Russian
university it has also fostered questions regarding classroom
environment, independent study time, and levels of student
anxiety during L2 classes.
Thus the research questions guiding this further study may be
1. What factors influence motivation to learn L2?
2. How does motivation change over time and which factors are
associated with this change?
3. How do these factors interact with each other over time and in
relation to developing L2 proficiency?
4. What causes student anxiety during L2 classes?
5. What ways are available to improve classroom environment
and the level of L2 classroom enjoyment?
6. What teaching methods can be used and what extra-curricular
events can be developed to boost up motivation to learn L2?
Further research attempting to answer these questions will
contribute to our understanding of mechanisms influencing
student motivation to learn L2 in the Russian context.
The information gathered can be compared by future researchers
to reveal the changing patterns of L2 motivation both in the
Russian and global context.
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