Motivation and English language learning in a multicultural university context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Israeli university students who have difficulty reading academic texts in English are required to take reading comprehension courses in English for academic purposes (EAP) in order to complete their BA degree. Whereas most students pass the courses, some repeatedly fail. Since Israel is a multilingual country, there is also a question about whether speakers of minority languages feel disadvantaged in comparison to speakers of the majority language (Hebrew). While research has been carried out on university students taking EAP courses, little is known about the connections between students' motivations and their attitudes toward university studies and language learning in a multicultural university context. A questionnaire was administered to 194 students with English as a foreign language (144 women and 50 men) born in Israel and abroad. Native languages (spoken until age 6) included Hebrew (62), Arabic (113), English (3), Russian (10), and Amharic/Tigrit (5), with a good deal of overlap. Results indicated the importance of motivational issues in language learning. Links were found among EAP course grades, attitudes toward university studies, and attitudes toward language learning and English. The differences of EAP course grades across native language did not appear to affect students' attitudes toward university or language study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Keywords

  • education policy
  • EFL
  • language attitudes
  • language learning
  • minority languages
  • multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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