A study of motivation in a remedial program for Japanese students of English as a second language

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A study of motivation in a remedial program for Japanese students of English as a second language
Shimizu, Hideko
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xi, 130 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers ( lcsh )
Japanese students -- Attitudes -- United States ( lcsh )
English language -- Remedial teaching ( lcsh )
English language -- Remedial teaching ( fast )
English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers ( fast )
Japanese students -- Attitudes ( fast )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 124-130).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Education.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Hideko Shimizu.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
31250612 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 1994m .S55 ( lcc )

Full Text
B. A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1983
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
The School of Education

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Hideko Shimizu
has been approved for the
Department of
The School of Education

Alan Davis

Shimizu, Hideko (M.A., The School of Education)
A Study of Motivation in Remedial Program for Japanese Students
of English as a Second Language
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Sheila M. Shannon
The purpose of this study was to acquire insight into the
nature and components of motivation in Japanese students who
experience difficulty learning English as a second language. The
study was conducted at a Japanese-owned college in the United
States. Motivation as it relates to both academic and social success
appears to be a complex issue that involves a number of
interrelated factors that are difficult to isolate. In the current
study, I examine some of the factors that played a role in the
motivation of students enrolled in a special content-based English
program and motivational therapy class. The students were
enrolled in these classes after having been suspended from
regular college classes. In this study, a multiple case study
approach was employed. Data were collected through personal
interviews, observations of motivational therapy and content-
based ESL classes, and student generated letters appealing to

return to the regular academic program, and student journals.
The interaction of the numerous motivational factors at
work in Japanese students at American schools was too complex to
explain by traditional integrative/instrumental or
instrinsic/extrinsic dichotomies found in the literature. Four
major factors affecting motivation were identified in the current
study: psychological, cultural, social, and linguistic. Psychological
factors included past experiences, pride, risk-taking, self-
confidence, culture shock, self-esteem, and attitudes toward
school. Cultural factors included communicational style, groupism,
inactiveness in speech, and shame. Social factors included
parental pressure, social pressure, and the all Japanese campus
environment. Finally, linguistic factors included the students' lack
of English proficiency in vocabulary, structure, and oral
communication. Further research should focus on the various
levels at which these factors are likely to interact to impel
students toward their goals.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.

This thesis would not have been possible without, the generous
support and advise of so many people. I would especially like to thank
Dr. Sheila M. Shannon for her valuable guidance throughout my
research and my husband, Phillip Danielson, for his patience.

1. INTRODUCTION.............................................. 1
Statement of the Problem.................................. 1
Purpose of the Study...................................... 2
2. LITERATURE REVIEW........................................ 4
Fundamental Psychological Theory.......................... 4
Psychoanalytical View.................................. 4
Humanistic Self-Actualization Theory................... 5
Behaviorisms View...................................... 6
Cognitive View......................................... 7
Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination Theory. 8
Motivation and Emotion.................................. 13
Motivation in Second Language Learning Theories............ 14
Gardners Social-Psychological and
Socio-Educational Model............................... 15
Speech Accommodation Theory............................. 18
Schumanns Acculturation Model......................... 19
Krashens Affective Filter............................ 20
Implication of Current Research on Motivation in SL
Learning................................................... 22
Cognitive Processing.................................... 22
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation...................... 22
The Affective Orientation in Motivation of SL Learning. 24

Motivation in the Classroom............................. 25
Need for a Context-Specific Understanding of
Motivation.............................................. 27
The Unique Research Environment......................... 31
3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS........................................ 36
4. METHODOLOGY............................................... 39
Multiple Case Study..................................... 39
The four Students........................................40
Personal Interviews......................................42
Rational for Individual Interview Questions.......... 44
Past Experiences...................................44
Motivation...................................... 45
Self Perception of Social Distance................ 45
Affective Variables...............................46
Motivational Therapy Class and
Content-based ESL Observations...........................48
Student Journals and Letters of Appeal.................. 49
Instructors Assessments for Students
in Content-based ESL Classes.............................49
Pre-and Post-course Questionnaires on Self-Esteem
and Assertiveness, and Pre-and Post-Michigan English
Tests............................................ 50
Subjects............................................. 50
Measures............................................. 50

5. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS.............................................. 52
Psychological (Micro) Factors.............................. 52
Past Experiences............................................52
Pride...................................................... 54
Perfection, Tolerance of Ambiguity, and Risk-taking,... 56
Self-confidence............................................ 57
Culture Shock..................................................58
School Refusal (absenteeism)...................................65
Cultural Factors..................................................66
Communicational styles....................................... 66
Groupism...................................................... 67
Inactiveness in Speech.........................................68
Social Factors................................................... 73
Parental Pressure..............................................73
Social Pressures...............................................75
The All-Japanese Campus........................................77
Linguistic Factors............................................. 78
Lack of sufficient English Proficiency.........................78
Affective Orientation.............................................79
Motivational Therapy Classes................................ 85
Successful Students............................................86

Unsuccessful Students.....................................93
Hitoshi............................................... 99
6. CONCLUSION...................................................104
The Factors.................................................104
Affective Orientation.......................................108
Influence of Motivational Therapy Class and
Content-based ESL......................................... 109
Suggestions for Study of Motivation in
Second Language Learning...................................113
A. Initial Questionnaire to Students in
Motivational Therapy....................................114
B. Rational for Offering a Motivational Therapy Class.....116
C. Change in Michigan tests Scores in 1992................119
D. Self-esteem and Assertiveness measurements..............121

2.1. Self-Determined Model...................................... 13
.4.1. Four Students In Multiple Case Study...................... 42

A Statement of the Problem
Why do students study English? What are their goals and
reasons for learning English? As an International language, English
is now studied all over the world. The reasons that people want to
learn English are not limited to a desire to assimilate into the
target country and its culture. The motivation for students to learn
a second or a foreign language may be complicated. A number of
foreign students from all over the world come to the United States
to study English in order to pursue their educational goals at
colleges and universities. The number of Asian students has grown
especially fast. The largest number of students enrolled in
intensive English language programs in the U.S. is from Asia
(12,570), of whom 9,454 come from Japan. The 1989 level
represents a 50.3 % increase over the 1987/88 academic year
level. (Tomizawa, 1990). The number of Japanese post-secondary
students in the United States for the 1991-1992 academic year
(40,700) was nearly three times greater than that reported for the
1985-1986 academic year (13,360). Approximately 70 percent of
these students were enrolled at 1,562 American colleges and

universities (Weiner 1993). Thousands of young Japanese study not
only English but also a number of other academic subjects. One of
the reasons for the increase in the number of Japanese studying
abroad is the rapid rise in the discretionary income of many
Japanese. There are, however, a large number of these students
who are not successful in their efforts to learn English and who
eventually drop out of college in the U.S. A lack of motivation is the
most cited reason to explain the failure of these students to learn
English or a variety of other subjects. The issue of motivation in
second language learning is. however, very complicated. Ellis
(1985) observed that there has been no general agreement on the
definitions of motivation and attitude nor on the connection
between these concepts. There is, therefore, a need for greater
research on motivation among students who study English as an
international language outside the U.S. and among those who come
to the U.S. to study English as second language. This may contribute
in the development of a more solid understanding of motivational
constructs for educational purposes.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the current study is to acquire insight into
the nature and components of motivation in individual Japanese
students having difficulty learning English as international students

within the context of a Japanese-owned college in the United
States. The study will identify, qualitatively, the factors that define
motivation and seek to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive
construct of motivation in second language acquisition. An effort
will also be made to determine the potential effectiveness of
motivational therapy in combination with a content-based remedial
ESL program in helping students to enhance their motivation and
to have a positive emotional attitude toward learning a second
The students in the class were all Japanese who, after having
been suspended from their college classes, enrolled in a special
intensive remedial English program designed to enable them to be
re-admitted to regular academic college classes. Instructors in the
motivational therapy class were staff members from Bethesda
PsycHealth and Dr. Masafumi Nakakuki, a psychiatrist in private
practice, who served as a guest lecturer.

Fundamental Psychological Theory
Although the term motivation is often used in the field of
education, it is a difficult concept to define. In the field of
psychology, motivation usually refers to the dynamic internal force
that moves human behavior in a particular direction (Myers, 1989).
Psychoanalytical View
Psychoanalytic theorists believe that behavior is determined by
complex interaction among unconscious drives, the conscious
EGO and the environment. Freud considered human behavior to be
driven through repressed unconscious sexual and pleasure seeking
strivings. For Adler, in contrast to Freud, the basic striving of life
was not to achieve pleasure, nor some final rest; rather the
fundamental urge of life was to achieve superiority, to achieve a
sense of competence and fulfillment (Monte, 1987). Robert W.
White suggests that EGO includes its own independent energy
called effectance motivation. Humans are motivated by drives
that have exploration, activity, or manipulation as their goals. White
holds that an understanding of motivation needs to take into

account the individuals competence or fitness in dealing with their
environment (White, 1960). The motive underlying competent
action is effectance. Ausubel (1968) suggests six fundamental
drives or needs underlying human behavior: exploration,
manipulation, activity, stimulation, knowledge, and ego
Humanistic Self-Actualization Theory
Maslow understands a human being as a wholeness, or as a
full entity. He conceptualized that humans need to satisfy the basic
needs, such as physiological, safety, belongingness, love and
esteem needs initially. After these needs have been satisfied, they
need to self-actualize. Self-actualization needs include the
individual's desire to know, to understand the world around him or
her, and to enjoy its beauty. Maslow also proposed a further set of
Being-needs that emerge upon self-actualization (e.g., truth,
uniqueness and meaningfulness). Maslow calls these B-values
metamotives. Self-actualizing people are no longer focusing on
their basic needs as much but rather on their meta-needs (i.e., the
B-values) (Maslow, 1971). International students who come from
different countries and cultures to study English as a second
language need to satisfy their basic needs first in order to survive in

the main stream subcultures. Thus learning English can be a part of
satisfying these basic needs.
Behaviorists View
Radical behaviorists, such as Watson and Skinner, emphasize
the importance of reward in motivating behavior. Skinner
manipulated positive and negative external reinforcers (attention,
approval, money and punishment) in an attempt to control
behavior. Since he believed only in observable behavior, he never
mentions motivation. Rather, he refers to an expectation that a
given behavior will be reinforced or punished. His theory of operant
conditioning has been criticized for not taking into account the
importance of cognitive and biological processes.
The behaviorists view of motivation may be useful to
understand extrinsic motivation and instrumental motivation.
This will be discussed later doing with the role of motivation among
the theories of second language acquisition. The behaviorists' view
also gives insight into the relationship between motivation and
emotion. For example, praise (including attention and approval) is
the reward given by an instructor to a student to reinforce desired

Cognitive View
The fundamental concept of behaviorism has been recognized
within the field of cognitive psychology. Cognitive theories of
motivated behavior can be traced to the work of Tolman (1932) and
Lewin (1936). They described invisible unobservable intervening
variables, such as choice and decision making, to explain human
behavior. Tolman and Lewin believe that energy leads to the
establishment of goals. Currently, cognitive psychologists focus on
either the biological aspects of behavior or on the cognitive
processes involved in behavior. Cormier (1986) stated that
motivational mechanisms interact with the information processing
mechanism to determine the form and direction of behavior.
These motivational processes have significance for the expression
of species-specific behavior as well as learned behavior. He
proposes that emotion is due to mood state which is the result of
the effects of a neurotransmitter on specific areas of the brain
combined with the neural processing of particular reinforcing
stimuli. His point is that organisms not only make appropriate
responses to environmental and internal events, but that they
anticipate them as well (Cormier 1986). The concept of
anticipation may play an important role in understanding
motivation in second language acquisition. Since learning language

requires tremendous efforts, what an individual student anticipate
in learning language importantly relates to motivation.
Cognitive theorists believe that all behaviors are chosen and
based on expectations about future outcomes (Vroom, 1964) or
future reinforcements (Bandura, 1977). These cognitive theories
have had influence on motivation research by directing attention to
the concept of choice (Deci and Ryan 1985).
Intrinsic motivation self-determination theory
Intrinsic motivation can be defined as the innate, natural
need for competence and self-determination (Deci and Ryan,
1985). In contrast, extrinsic motivation is that which is influenced
by external reward or punishment. Intrinsic needs differ from
primary drives in that they are not based on reducing physical
need. The intrinsic needs for competence and self-determination
underlie a continuous process of attempting to overcome
challenges which are neither too easy nor too difficult. Ryan
suggests that challenges may be viewed as arising from an
incongruity between ones internal structure and certain aspects of
the outside world. He also states that emotions have a definite
relation to intrinsic motivation and that interest plays an important
and directive role in intrinsically motivated behavior in that people
are naturally attracted to activities that interest them. Ryan (1982)
found that when subjects egos were involved in an activity, or when

their self-esteem was dependent upon their doing well, they
experienced pressure and tension. Intrinsic motivation has been
associated with greater creativity (Amabile, 1983), flexibility
(McGraw and McCullers, 1979) and spontaneity (Koestner, Ryan,
Bernieri, and Hot, 1984)
The study of intrinsic motivation requires that people are
actively working to control their internal and external
environments. This naturally leads to the Self-determination which
a quality of human functioning that involves the experience of
choice. It is integral to intrinsically motivated behavior and is
also in evidence in some extrinsically motivated behaviors
(Deci and Ryan 1985).
Intrinsic motivation is in evidence whenever students natural
curiosity and interest energize their learning (Ryan, 1982). Stating
that intrinsically motivated learning is superior to extrinsically
motivated learning, Ryan warns that the use of grades and other
rewards should be considered very carefully. Many activities in our
motivational therapy class were intended to enhance intrinsic
motivation. Malone (1981) suggested that the use of fantasy was one
way of making many activities more interesting than they might be
otherwise; "Giving children the opportunity to experiment in their
minds without the immediate demands of the external world may
enable them to develop creative solutions" (Malone, 1981). In the
motivational therapy class, several of the activities that were

employed were based on Malones suggestions. Deci (1981) stated
that it seemed clear that childrens intrinsic motivation and sense
of self worth would benefit from a classroom climate that offered
opportunities for the children to make choices and exercise self-
determination. Grolnick and Ryan (1985) stated that grades had a
negative effect on childrens conceptual learning. It was also found
that teachers who tended to control behavior had the effect of
undermining the intrinsic motivation of their students. The
opposite was seen The analysis of Gottfried (1982) revealed a
Significant correlation between intrinsic motivation and
achievement. In addition, Gottfried (1982) reported a negative
correlation between intrinsic motivation and anxiety. McCraw
reviewed several studies and found that rewards usually impaired
learning. In fact, rewards for learning words seemed to distract
subjects and slow their learning. Perlmuter and Montry (1977)
stated that when subjects were given choices about what they
learned, their learning improved. Several researchers have
explored the effects of cooperation versus competition on learning.
Competition has been shown to decrease intrinsic motivation (Deci,
Betley, Kahle, Abrams, and Porac, 1981) and dampen creativity.
Therefore, we decided not to give any grades for the motivational
therapy class.

The results of research by Deci (1984) tended to confirm the
assertions of Bruner (1962) and Rogers (1969) who had speculated
that extrinsic controls lead people to memorize well over the
short-term, but that fail to promote the type of "engagement... that
results in conceptual learning and creative thinking" over the long-
term. These concepts of intrinsic motivation and self-determined
behavior helped us to shape the design and operation of the
motivational therapy class.
Rigby, Deci, and Ryan (1992) stated that the simple
dichotomy of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation doesnt provide a
complete explanation of the motivational processes that underlie
high-quality learning. In order to solve this problem, they
introduced the concept of autonomous extrinsic motivation. This
concept was based on an analysis of the process of internalization
and integration. An example of autonomous extrinsic motivation is
when a student studies English in order to enter a college because
attending college is personally important to him or to her. The
passing of the exam, therefore, is a self-determined goal. Though
the behavior is extrinsically motivated, it is relatively autonomous
because the individual identifies internally with his/her values and
goals. Effective learning can only be promoted through activities
that are challenging, that enhance the autonomy of the learner, and
that directly involve the learner. According to self-determination

theory, an integrated regulatory style is the most effective and
autonomous form of extrinsic motivation. Coupled with intrinsic
motivation, it represents self-determined functioning characterized
by a total involvement of the integrated self (see Figure 2.1). Deci,
et al. (1992) concluded,
Although two forms of motivation differ in that intrinsically
motivated behaviors are autoteric (self-goal-oriented),
whereas integrated behaviors are instrumental they are
significantly similar because they both represent autonomy or
self-determination. As such they are both expected to lead to
higher-quality learning and experience than are external and
introjected regulatory processes.
Since the motivation of most of Japanese students in the program
was expected to be instrumental, one goal of the program was that
the students develop self-determination and integrated behavior.

FIGURE 2.1. Self Determined Motivation
The route by which extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
become self determined motivation.

A Autonomous
T Extrinsic
motivation motivation
Motivation and Emotion
In information-processing theory, emotions provide
information that may lead to form motives and purposeful behavior.
For example, when one is angry, the anger might motivate the
person to change the aspect of his or her environment which
provoked the anger. A role of emotion in motivation includes the
antecedents and consequences of behavior (Deci and Ryan 1985).
Deci and Ryan defined emotion as that which can energize either
self-determined behavior or non-self-determined behavior. The
motive for self-determined behavior emerges from emotion and the
anticipation of future satisfaction. This led me to the question of
how a students past association between a specific emotional

orientation and the experience of learning a second language might
affects the motivation to learn the same language in a new
environment. Similarly, I wondered whether or not current positive
feelings toward instructional materials and the instructors interest
in the students and the subject matter might influence motivation
in learning. McClelland (1965) defined motives as affectively
toned, associative networks that determine behavior. Deci and
Ryan also suggested that,
When cues re-integrate affective experiences, the current
affective experience provides information that can lead to
the formation of a motive and in turn to behavior. The
behavior may be mediated by information processing and
choice. This is in fact the critical point in self-determined
versus non-self-determined, affectively motivated behavior. If
the behavior follows directly from an emotion, because of
associative bonds, the behavior is not self-motivated.
Ryan, Connell, and Plant (1984) reported a positive
correlation between certain college students interest/enjoyment
with respect to instructional material and their self-reported
comprehension and recall of the spontaneously learned material.
Motivation in Second T^angiiage Learning Theories
Ultimately, second language learning and learning in general
can be linked to motivation. Many instructional, individual and
socio-cultural factors, such as individual learner factors,
intelligence, aptitude, perseverance, learning strategies,

interference and self evaluations that could enhance or deter
motivation, according to Jakobovits (1970), It is important to
examine how each variable relates to the basic needs that underlie
motivation. There are three fields in the traditional SL approach to
motivation: cognition, motivation, and affect (Crookes and Schmidt
1991). All lines of SL research have tended to treat affect as a single
category. Ellis (1985) observed that there has been no general
agreement on the definition of motivation and attitudes nor on
their relation to one another. In order to have solid understanding
of motivation in SLA, I reviewed the issue of motivation in SLA
Gardners Social-Psychological and Socio-Educational Model
Gardner and Lambert proposed that motivation is a
construct composed of different kinds of attitudes which can be
classified as components of two basic types of motivation:
instrumental and integrative. Instrumental motivation refers to the
motivation to acquire a language as a means for attaining an
instrumental goal, (i.e., furthering a career, reading technical
materials, translations, etc.). Integrative motivation is the
motivation to learn a language in order for the learners to integrate
themselves into the culture of the second language group. Lambert
(1972) and Spolsky (1969) found that integrative motivation

generally accompanied higher scores on second language
proficiency tests.
Gardner, et al. (1985) developed a model of motivation in SL
learning and a battery of testing instruments, the
Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The integrative motive
consists of nine scales including:
1. attitudes toward French Canadians,
2. interest in foreign languages,
3. integrative orientation,
4. attitudes toward European French,
5. attitudes toward learning French,
6. motivation intensity,
7. desire to learn French,
8. French teacher-evaluative, and
9. French course-evaluative
Gardners socio-educational model provides the notion that
language learning involves the learning of a behavior of a different
cultural group, so that attitudes toward the target language
community will at least partially determine success in language
learning. There are, however, some discrepant findings.
Lukmani (1972) reported that, in India, Marathi-speaking
high school students with a high level of instrumental motivation
outperformed those with a high level of integrative motivation on an
English language proficiency test. Research reported by McLanghlin
(1986) also suggested that there are conditions under which
instrumental motivation results in more successful second language
learning than does integrative motivation. Burstall (1975), by

contrast, found that her subjects achievement in French was
linked to both types of motivation. Clement and Kruidenier (1983)
have offered an explanation for these discrepant findings as simply
ambiguity in the definition of integrative and instrumental
motivation. They believe that contextual factors, the type of
motivation and its strength are likely to be determined less by
some generalized principle and more by who learns in what
Another criticism of the instrumental/integrative model has
focused on the causality hypothesis that integrative motivation is
causally related to L2 achievement; the former being the cause, the
latter being the effect. Burstall, Jamieson, Cohen and Hargreaves
(1974) reported a longitudinal study between 1964 and 1974.
Subjects were tested at intervals through the ten year period on
their attitudes toward learning French. The study found a
correlation indicating that early achievement in French affected
later attitudes toward learning French and later achievement in
French to a significantly greater extent than early attitudes toward
learning French affected the subsequent development of either
attitudes or achievement. Au (1984) using a longitudinal design and
regression technique did not find any of the first-test integrative
motive variables to be significant predictors of the retest L2
achievement measures. Gardner and MacIntyre studied the effects

of integrative motivation and instrumental motivation on the
learning of French/English vocabulary. Integratively motivated
subjects learned more than those who were not integratively
motivated, even though there was no significant difference between
these two groups on the amount of time they studied French. This
called into question Gardners (1985) conclusion that integrative
motivation is effective because it causes individuals to work harder
(Gardner and MacIntyre 1991). Regarding the causality hypothesis,
a number of researchers have proposed that achievement might
actually be the cause instead of the effect of attitude (Savignon
Successful second language learners are likely to acquire
positive attitudes toward both language and the target community,
whereas unsuccessful learners may acquire negative attitudes. This
suggests that learners past experiences in learning English as SL
plays an important role.
Speech Accommodation Theory
Both Gardners socio-educational model and speech
accommodation theory dealt with the relationship between
motivation and SL learning from a social-psychological perspective.
In a model by Giles and Byrne (1982), motivation, defined in terms
of identification with the target language community, is central for

SL learning. They agree with Lambert and Gardner who claimed
that integrative motivation was effective. While Gardners model
explains language learning in the school context, Speech
Accommodation Theory is not limited to the educational context. It
focuses on the linguistic performance of other groups, emphasizing
ethno-linguistic dynamics and the individual learners self-concept
(Beebe 1988). Relying on Giles work, Beebe also found that SL
performance varied with the ethnicity of the SL learners audience.
This theory gives a guideline to investigate Japanese students who
leam English in this study.
Schumanns Acculturation Model
Gardners description of integration is similar to Schumanns
notion of acculturationthe sum of a complex set of attitudes
toward the language being learned, the social functions for which it
may be used, the learners views of target language speakers, and
the use of the language and the learners beliefs with respect to the
effect on his or her own self-identification, character, or power.
Schumann (1986) presented a model of SLA based on acculturation.
He stated that nine groups of variables were all involved in
acculturation. These groups were: social (macro) psychological
(micro) affective, personality, cognitive, biological, aptitude,
personal, input, and instructional.

Motivation involves the learners reasons for attempting to
acquire the second language. Schumann stated that instrumental
and integrative motivation are actually complex constructs that
interact with both social and psychological variables. He argued
that his subject, Alberto failed to learn English because of
psychological and social distance from target language speakers and
that learners with limited functional reasons for language learning
(instrumental motivation) are likely to develop the type of
pidginized language exhibited by Alberto. Crookes and Schmidt
stated that studies involved in the context of the acculturation
model have failed to provide strong support for the model (Crookes
and Schmidt, 1991). There are two reasons for the criticism. First,
it is difficult to find a consensus on the definitions and relative
importance of many variables presented in the acculturation
model. Second, the effects of affect may be indirect and variable,
and thus difficult to test.
Krashens Affective Filter
Schumanns acculturation model may be related to Krashens
input hypothesis as part of the SLA Monitor Model (Krashen
1981, 1982, 1985. Crooks and Schmidt 1991.) Krashen includes
motivation as a component of the affective filter which plays a

facilitative, but non-causal, role in SLA. Dulay, et al. (1982) suggest
The filter is that part of the internal processing system that
subconsciously screens incoming language based on the
learners motives, needs, attitudes, and emotional states.
Krashen claims that a lack of motivation, low self-esteem and other
affective factors can act as a mental block that prevents input
from reaching that part of brain responsible for language acquisition
(Language Acquisition Device). Other theorists disagree.
The concept of the affective filter has been seen as a weak
part of Krashens theory (Gregg, 1984). Larsen-Freeman and Long
in their book, (Longman, 1991). claimed that Krashen would need
to specify which affective variables, alone or in what combinations,
and at what levels, served to raise the filter. They also questioned
what (cross-linguistically, cross-culturally, acceptable measures of
the affect variables existed. They brought up the case of Wes
(Schmidt, 1981), a successful Japanese artist living in Honolulu
who had received massive amounts of comprehensive input and
who seemed to have stabilized in most area of grammatical
morphology. Wes seemed to have a low filter type of personality,
high self-esteem, low anxiety, and strong motivation to
communicate. Krashens response to Wes case was ambivalent. He
stated that Wes retained a strong sense of being Japanese (Krashen
1985). The affective filter theory is apparently not adequate

explanation in this situation; cross-linguistical and cultural factors
should be considered.
Implication of Current Research on Motivation in SL Learning
The study of motivation in second language learning may be
conducted from other angles. Crooks and Schumidt stated that SL
research and theory lacked attention to classroom learning and had
a shortage of long-term studies. From cognitive psychologists view,
motivation is the drive or energy one establishes goals based on
personal experiences and is the effort one makes to pursue ones
Cognitive Processing
Pintrich (1989) has reported preliminary results from work
intended to identify connections among motivational factors
including value, goal orientation, expectancy, and affective
components; cognitive factors include cognitive strategies such as
planning, monitoring, and self-regulation and learning outcomes in
college courses.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
H.D. Brown defined motivation as ones choice of goals and
the effort devoted to the pursuit of ones goals. He derived his

definition of motivation was influenced by cognitive psychologists
and E. L. Deci (H. D. Brown. 1990.) He stated that an adequate
explanation of the motivation to learn a foreign language were
forces too complicated to employ a simple dichotomy, (i.e., the
integrative verses instrumental dichotomy). He pointed out that
learning an international language as an example of how
English could be learned without reference to a particular
native English-speaking culture (Kachru, 1988 in H. D.
Brown, 1990).
He introduced the construct of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
first proposed by Deci and applied it to the theory of second
language learning. Intrinsically motivated behaviors according to
this theory are rewarded internally and sire linked to feelings of
competence and self-determination. Extrinsically motivated
behaviors, in contrast, are initiated in anticipation of a reward from
outside the self. Brown stated,
It seems clear that by appealing to the strength of the
construct of intrinsic motivation, researchers and teachers may
find not only an additional but a more powerful factor than the
earlier integrative/instrumental construct proposed by Gardner.
Both sides of Gardners construct can be either intrinsic or
extrinsic. For example, one could, for extrinsic purposes, have a
positive affect toward speakers of the second language
(integrative orientation). One could also, for highly developed
intrinsic purposes, wish to learn a second language in order to
advance a career (instrumental orientation).

The power of intrinsic motivation is rooted in the observation that
people seek reasonable challenges as a means of enhancing their
own confidence and competence (Brown 1990).
The Affective Orientation in Motivation of SL learners
John H. Schumann stated that affective orientation can either
enhance or inhibit a learners acquisition of a second language. His
research on the existence of neural mechanisms that evaluate the
affective content of a second language situation may lead to a new
view of the role of motivation in second language learning. In his
paper, the role of the physical part of the brain, the amygdala, is
explained. The amygdala assigns a positive or negative significance
to incoming stimuli by comparing the new sensory input to stored
information (LeDoux, 1986 in Schumann, 1990). What Schumann
has described about the neurological level can also be examined on
the psychological level. According to research by Smith and
Ellsworth (1985), subjects reported that positive emotions-
interest, challenge, surprise, a certain amount of frustration, pride,
hope and happiness generated increased attention to and interest
in an encounter while negative emotions- anger, fear, contempt,
shame, guilt, sadness, disgust and boredom produced efforts to
shift attention away from the stimulus. The schematic emotional
memory provides an automatic appraisal of new stimuli on the basis

of past experiences of similar situations. Previous experiences
whether positive or negative become part of the schemata and as a
result act as a filter that enables the learner to focus attention on
and synthesize expectations about possible subsequent experiences.
The consequences of events are evaluated by the individual in an
effort to determine how they might positively or negatively impact
the individuals goals. Schumann believes that because each
individuals collective experience during development is unique,
each persons schematic emotional memory will also be unique. I
do not disagree with the notion that emotional impact is deeply
connected to motivation in second language learning. However,
since it was not feasible to conduct neural research, the ways in
which emotional evaluations are related to motivation were
investigated through a qualitative approach in this study.
Schumann concluded that emotional evaluations would lead to
variable cognitive effort and thus variable success for second
language learners.
Motivation In the Classroom
Interest activities and materials relevant to the topic of
instruction may enhance students motivation to learn language. H.
D. Brown introduced examples of intrinsic motivation in the second
language classroom. (Brown 1990, 1991). He stated that traditional

schools were likely to utilize extrinsic motivation through teacher-
directed classrooms, grades and tests, peer pressure, fear of failure
etc. He suggested that activities and approaches that promote
student choice would enhance the level of intrinsic motivation. He
proposed a number of ideas on how the principles of intrinsic
motivation could be utilized in second language teaching practices.
One of his recommendations was that teachers instruct their pupils
successful learning strategies. Students also need to develop their
sense of autonomy. Another recommendation was that more
curriculum in content-based ESL classes needed to be focused on
generating learner interest in the materials. His third
recommendation he had was that more creative, enjoyable tests be
developed to evaluate learners progress in language classes. These
could be used in place of standardized testing.
There is a need to take into consideration that different
cultures have different values, needs for power, affiliations, and
achievement goals (Sloggett, Gallimore, and Kubany, 1970; Cooper
and Tom, 1984 in Crookes and Schmidt 1991). Instructional and
behavioral differences between the U.S. and Japanese classroom
environments were discussed in a study of speech inactiveness
among Japanese ESL students in the U.S. (Tomizawa, 1990). In the
Japanese education system discussion between the teacher and
students and volunteerism are not emphasized in the classroom.

The students, therefore, do not know how to participate actively in
the traditional American classroom where active interaction among
students and the teacher is usually encouraged. The test-oriented
educational emphasis also influences the behavior of Japanese ESL
students in classroom. These issues regarding motivation in the
classroom described above were taken into consideration in
designing the motivation therapy class and content-based ESL
classes in this study.
Need for a Content-Specific Understanding of Motivation
In the face of questions regarding the understanding of
motivation in second language learning, it is worth reviewing and
examining the fundamental learning theories of motivation in
psychology, which lead to a new insight of motivation in SL
learning. Among various psychological theories, I believe cognitive
psychological theories are most relevant to an understanding of
motivation in SLA. Cormier (1986) stated that motivational
mechanisms interact with information processing mechanisms to
determine the form and direction of behavior. Cognitive theorists
believe that all behaviors are chosen based on expectations about
future outcomes (Vroom, 1964) or future reinforcements (Bandura,
1977). These cognitive theories have had influence on motivation

research by directing attention to the concept of choice (Deci and
Ryan, 1985).
The existing model of motivation in SLA developed by
Gardner and Lambert attempts to explain motivational forces
through the use of a simplistic dichotomy of instrumental vs.
integrative factors (1972). The motivation of the Japanese students
in this study is, however, not sufficiently explained by a motivational
dichotomy. Gardner and Lamberts ideas about motivation were
strongly influenced by LI acquisition in which a childs success in
acquiring an LI is linked to the childs quest for identity (Larsen-
Freeman 1991). It seems, however, that more complicated
motivational factors are involved in the motivation of the Japanese
students in this context. Because they had established their identity
as Japanese along with acquisition of their LI before theiy came to
the U.S. and because most of them are going back to Japan after
studying in the U.S., they are not strongly interested in identifying
with Americans. Foreign students who study in the U.S.
universities are not in the same situation as the immigrants in
Krashens study. The affective filter is not able to clearly explain the
motivation of the students in the current study. A problem with the
concept of an affective filter is determining what constitutes
acceptable measures of affect variables. How, for, example, can the
case of a foreign student be explained if he/she has a positive

affective profile but hasnt been successful in the achievement of
English proficiency. Cross-linguistical and cultural factors and the
ways in which they are related to motivation should be considered
in order to understand motivation. Schumanns hypothesis of the
existence of neural mechanisms that evaluate the affective content
of a second language learning situations may lead a new view of the
role of motivation in second language learning (1990). Schumann
concluded that emotional evaluations lead to variable cognitive
effort and thus variable success for second language learners.
According to Collins (1988), the consequences of events are
evaluated according to how they facilitate or interfere with the
individual's goals. I suspect that emotional impact is deeply
connected to motivation in SLA. The ways in which emotional
evaluations are related to motivation are revealed through
qualitative research in the current study since it is difficult to
conduct the neural research in the current context.
Brown defined motivation as an individuals choice of goals
and the effort dedicated to the pursuit of such goals. He admitted
that his definition of motivation was influenced by cognitive
psychologists and Deci (Brown. 1990). Brown introduced another
dichotomy, (i.e., that of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation). My
definition of motivation is similar in some respects to Browns
definition- a choice of goals and the effort dedicated to the pursuit

of such goals. Browns definition, however, was somewhat
ambiguous in that he didnt clarify the relationship between his
.definition of motivation and the dichotomy of intrinsic and
extrinsic motivation. When motivation is perceived as an
informational process used to reach a goal, it becomes important to
determine what factors are involved in the process, and how the
factors are related to the process. Motivation in SL learning should
be perceived as a dynamic rather than static force in the process of
reaching a goal. Some factors involved in motivation among foreign
students can not be clearly classified as purely intrinsic or extrinsic
motivation. Although motivation itself is an internal process, it
interacts with both internal and external environments and
changes in response to this interaction.
Through this research, I want to examine what determines an
individual choice and what is involved in the effort to the pursue a
goal. Motivation in SL among international students can be better
understood in terms of its interaction with the information
processing mechanisms responsible for determining the form and
direction of behavior. The cognitive theorists perceive motivation as
anticipation of the future under the influence of both the
individuals past experiences and current situation. In other words,
motivation can be understood as interaction among individuals
inner thought processes, behavior and environment.

The Unique Research Environment
Motivation as it relates to both academic and social success
appears to be a complex issue that involves a number of interrelated
factors that can never be completely isolated. Since the specific
context seems to exert a powerful influence on motivation, a
detailed description of the learning environment follows. The
school attended by the students in this study is one of several
located in the U.S., overseen by a parent Japanese university.
Over 99% of its students are Japanese. Some students applied
directly for admission to this school and took the entrance
examination in Japan while others took an entrance examination
for the parent school in Japan and, failing to qualify for admission
there, were offered the option of studying at a US. affiliate. Since
Japanese universities administer entrance examinations only once a
year, students who fail the examination must wait one year before
trying again. Attending college on a US campus thus becomes an
attractive alternative.
The first and largest group of students (373) arrived on
campus in April of 1990. Since then, new Japanese enrollments
have steadily declined each year. Approximately 257 out of 750
Japanese students who had enrolled had withdrawn from the

university by March of 1993. Most of the students transferred to
other ESL programs to continue their study of English.
Since its inception, the school has been beset by political
instability. For example, it has never hired a full-charge president;
the current president is the fourth interim president in the
three years of the schools existence. Adding to the confusion, the
school has had to have three different partnership contracts with
American colleges. The school is not accredited but has relied upon
its contracts with accredited U.S. institutions to provide its
graduates with diplomas. Furthermore, enrollment of quality
students is hindered by the fact that the academic reputation of the
parent university in Japan is relatively low. This means that its
students tend to be less competitive, less motivated and less
achievement-oriented compared to the students who enter other
major Japanese universities. The students attending this school
have a level of English proficiency on average that would not be
sufficient to enable them to be admitted to most accredited
American colleges.
Students arrive for the school year, according to Japanese
tradition in April and begin intensive ESL training for four months.
Then they are expected to be ready to start their regular academic
classes. During that short time, most of the students fail to achieve
a level of English proficiency necessary to keep up with regular

academic classes. Both the faculty and the students themselves
blame their failure to succeed on their inadequate understanding of
English. Many students have felt overwhelmed by the level of
instruction and the course materials. One of the reasons for the
failure is the apparent student-teacher mismatch in that most of
the professors have taught only American native English speaking
students or international students with excellent English
proficiency; were not trained to teach students who are neither
fluent in English nor familiar with American culture. Bilingual
teaching assistants are available in only a few classes.
The students are also naive with respect to the social
environment and the social skills needed in daily life because they
grew up in a radically different social and cultural environment. The
students have great difficulty adjusting to the American culture. For
example, six of the first years students were assaulted by American
youth in a park near the campus. They didnt realize how unsafe the
American urban environment can be at night, even for Americans.
They had assumed the environment to be as safe as the one in
Japan. One year after the incident two students out of the six were
suspended because of their low GPAs.
A supplemental ESL program was offered to the students who
had failing grades after four months of ESL instruction, but the
board of trustees decided to discontinue the schools regular ESL

program after the incoming 1991 students had finished their four
month ESL program. No additional English support for students
was provided except for very limited tutoring available only a
several hours a week.
Students who had especially limited English proficiency
received extremely low grades. Their inability to communicate in
English prevented them from seeking help from their professors or
academic advisors. Without sufficient support programs, students
continued to be confused not only by the content of their classes,
but also by an alien educational system. After the fall 1991
semester, twenty-five students were suspended by the American
partner institution. In addition, thirty-five of the students who had
enrolled in 1990 and 1991 were suspended at the end of the
spring 1992 semester. Twenty-three out of these thirty-five
enrolled in the special Program were examined in this study
because they wanted to continue to study in the university. Around
the same time in 1992, the conflict between the American and
Japanese partners became common knowledge on campus,
negatively impacting both student and staff morale. A new academic
partnership with a state university was formed in the spring of
In April of 1992, smother ESL program was organized for the
new incoming students. At the end of the ESL program in August

1992, the American partner institution refused to accept half of the
new students into the regular academic program due to their lack
-of English proficiency. The rejected students went into a program
hastily arranged with a local community college, for one semester
until a contract with the state university allowed them to re-enter a
degree program.
I was coordinator of the special program for students who
wanted to re-enter the regular academic program. I used this
opportunity to conduct a series of interviews with the students,
observe their motivational therapy classes, analyze their journal
entries, and generally chart their progress both academically and
socially. In addition, I focused more closely on four individual
students, whom I describe later in this paper. Most of the students
in my study seemed to have a high level of anxiety about their
future. This was the result of their uncertainty about whether they
would be permitted to return to the regular curriculum as degree
candidates. Their anxiety was further heightened by the political
instability of the school administration.

Questions that need to be answered are what factors are
involved in an individuals choice to study English in the U. S., and
how affective orientation specifically impacts motivation, and how
motivational therapy classes in combination with a content-based
ESL program influence students.
The primary questions that the current study seeks to answer are:
1. What factors are relevant to motivation among Second
Language Learners?
I have proposed a model of motivation, which combines the
fundamental concepts of Gardners integrative versus instrumental
motivational model and Browns intrinsic versus extrinsic
motivational model. In the combined model the ideas of the
Gardner and Brown models are not mutually exclusive. I have also
proposed that affective orientation is an important component of
the combined model. This is based on Schumanns research into
the existence of neural mechanisms that are used to evaluate the
affective content of a second language situation. The realization of
the significance of affective orientation may lead to a new view of
the role of motivation in second language learning. In order to
provide a preliminary contexualized description of motivation in SL

learning, I intend to identify specific motivational factors that
influence and drive the SL learners of the current study. It is also
vital to determine how the relevant motivational factors identified
by the current research can be generalized and applied to a greater
understanding of motivation in second language learning.
2. How does affective orientation influence motivation?
Schumann (1991) described the primacy of affect and
cognition in second language learning. In the current research, an
important question was whether ones affective orientation
enhanced or inhibited impact on second language learning, and if
so, how.
3. How do motivational therapy classes in combination with a
content-based ESL program influence students?
The third question that the current research is designed to
examine is the potential benefit of motivational therapy in
combination with a content-based ESL program. Benefit, in this
case, is measured in terms of student progress toward greater
English proficiency and overall attitudes toward learning English.
The motivational therapy and content-based ESL program were
specifically designed for the purpose of improving the students
motivation with respect to studying in the American college system
and making progress toward improved English proficiency. The
students enrolled in the program had all been suspended from the

regular academic program but hoped to be readmitted at some
point. The program was created with the expectation that the
students would develop solid motivation and individual interest in
academic subjects. This was essential if the students were to be
successful in terms of attaining English proficiency and maintaining
acceptable academic performance in an American college. Central
to this was the need for the students to understand the
expectations of the American college system and to develop
integrated English proficiency with improved contextual
knowledge, metacognitive skills and problem solving skills.
Affective factors, such as high self-esteem, assertiveness and a
positive emotional orientation were expected to be important to
increase the level of motivation.

The instruments listed below were utilized to collect data in
the current study for purposes of qualitative analyses.
Multiple Case Study
A case study approach was utilized in the current study in an
effort to determine how the combined motivational therapy and
content-based ESL program would influence the students over
time. Of particular interest was how affective orientation would
influence motivation. R. K. Yin stated that how and why
questions were more explanatory in nature and would, therefore,
likely lend themselves to the use of case studies, histories, and
experiments as the preferred research strategies (1989). In the
current study experimentation was not a viable research strategy
because the sample size, (i.e., the number of students in the class,
was quite small). A case study approach appeared more likely to
contribute specifically to insightful knowledge about individual
students. In addition to this, the case study approach would yield a
holistic and meaningful understanding of individual students. In
this study, a multiple-case design was employed because of its

distinct advantages in comparison to single-case designs. The
evidence resulting from a multiple-case study approach was
expected to be more powerful. It is important, however, to
recognize the limitations of the case study approach, (i.e., the
limited extent to which data obtained from case studies can be
generalized to the population at large). Two students changed their
attitudes and received higher Michigan test scores and instructors
grades in this program; two students did not change their Michigan
test scores and grades for the program.
After a mid-term evaluation of a traditional ESL program on
August 26, prior to the start of content-based ESL and motivational
therapy classes, four students were selected from among the 16
students who had completed the summer ESL program.
The Four Students
The selection of the four students was based on teacher
recommendations, grade assessment and Michigan English
Proficiency test scores. In the summer ESL program, two students
had received As (Wakao and Norio), and two had gotten lower
grades (Hitoshi and Osami). As the school counselor, I had known
Wakao and Norio since May of 1991 and Hitoshi and Osami since
1990. All four students came from Japan and had studied English as
a foreign language at the junior and senior high school level there.

The method of English education in most Japanese schools is based
on the grammar translation method. This was the method
employed with the four students based on a personal interview with
each of them. Four students also said that they failed college
entrance examinations in Japan. Their choice to come to a college
in the U.S. was their second or third choice. After coming to the
U.S. they studied English as second language for four months and
then enrolled in a regular college program. The curriculum of the
ESL program focused on developing reading, writing, speaking and
listening skills. The method of English instruction in the U.S. was
more like a communicative approach that emphasized the
development of verbal communicational skills. At the end of the
spring semester of 1992, all four of the students were suspended
from the regular academic program because of unacceptably low
G.P.A.S. They all wanted to enroll in a specially-tailored program
which would enable them to be re-admitted into the regular college
program (see Figure 4.1).

FIGURE 4.1. Four Students In Multiple Case Study
Grades earned by four students in the content-based
ESL program.
High-Grades Low-Grades
Norio Osami
Wakao Hitoshi
Personal Interviews
In an effort to identify factors responsible for or having a
significant impact on the motivation to learn English as second
language, I conducted in depth, open-ended personal interviews
with the fifteen participants. The interviews took place throughout
the first eight weeks of the motivational therapy/content-based ESL
program. All students who were interviewed were Japanese males
between 20 and 22 years old. The personal interviews were
conducted in a private office on the college campus, requiring
approximately thirty minutes to complete though some took as long
as an hour. The interviews were conducted in Japanese since I felt
that communication in the students native language would promote

a relaxed atmosphere in which the students would be able to
accurately, precisely and freely explain their thoughts and feelings.
Some interviews were tape-recorded with the knowledge and
acceptance of the students and I took detailed notes during the
During the course of each interview, the students were asked
to respond to a series of questions on a previously prepared
questionnaire (Appendix A). The students were not actually
provided with a printed copy of the questions, rather the questions
were asked by the interviewer throughout the interview. I thought
that this method would be particularly useful since it would allow
questions to be raised and lines of thought pursued in the more
natural context of an interactive conversation. While the interviews
were interactive, at no time did the interviewer prompt or attempt
to lead the student being interviewed in any particular direction
with respect to the answers being given. The questionnaire was
developed in recognition of the need for a fundamental basis upon
which to compare the students interviewed. However, the
interviews were all conducted in an exploratory, open-ended
manner, since it was thought that research question 2 was
exploratory, and I hoped such an approach might yield additional
information on motivational factors that were not identified by the
prepared questions.

Rationale for individual interview questlofflhe
questionnaire used in the interviews consisted of a series of
questions covering four general categories of interest: past
experiences, motivation, perception of self-distance and affective
factors. The questions and rationale for each category are as follows:
Past Experiences
1. Talk about your experiences learning English in terms of
such things as your teachers, classes, textbooks and tests. Did
you enjoy them? If you didnt like them, tell me the reason?
What experiences did you have while learning English in
I believe that an individuals past experiences influence
current thoughts and behavioral patterns. In order to deal with
situations and challenges in the present, an individual evaluates
previous positive and negative experiences and the outcomes of
events that transpired in the past, develops a sense of self-efficacy,
and then formulates what are hopefully realistic and thus attainable
expectations of future achievement. Based on these expectations,
personal goals are then set. The motivation and attitudes of
Japanese students studying English as a second language in the
United States, therefore, is significantly linked to past learning
experiences in Japan. Questions focused on these important past

experiences may help elucidate some of the more fundamental
reasons for observed motivational patterns.
2. Why did you come to America to study English?
a. Do you want to make American friends?
b. What do you think about the American people and culture?
c. Do you want to go back to an American college and graduate
from that college?
d. What advantages do you think there are for being able to
speak English?
e. What disadvantages are there for not being able to speak
f. What type of personal satisfaction do you think you would
experience if you could speak English well?
g. Why are you studying English now ?
Questions (a) through (f) were adapted from a questionnaire
designed by Gardner to identify a learners integrative and
instrumental motivation for studying English at U. S. universities.
Questions (a), (b), and (f) are asking the learners to focus on the
role that integrative motivation pilays in their desire to learn
English. Questions (c), (d), and (e) by contrast ask them to discuss
the issues related to instrumental motivation.
Self perception of Social Distance
1. How much distance do you feel between yourself and the
American people in general?
2. How much distance do you feel between yourself and the
Japanese people in general?

3. How much distance do you feel there is between the
and Japanese peoples?
Schumann considers the attitude of second language learners
toward the target culture as an important factor that contributes to
the social distance or, at least, the perception of social distance
between two groups of people. This distance, in turn, affects the
efficiency of acquisition of a second language. Because of the great
degree of difficulty that exists in accurately measuring social
distance, Acton (1979) suggested that the self-perception of social
distance is accurate and precise parameter to examine.
Affective Variables
1. How do you feel when you speak English? Do you feel
pleasure, worry or fear of criticism and ridicule?
2. Do you want to draw attention to yourself. Do you feel proud
your language accomplishments?
Culture Shock
1. How do you feel about living in America? Do you feel
stress or fear?
2. How do you feel about your life in Japan, your old friends,
your parents?
3. Do you ever feel homesick?

An issue currently attracting a significant amount of interest
is the effect and role of affective variables in motivation and second
language learning. The students in the current study had studied
English as a foreign language in Japan through the secondary school
level. They then made the decision to come to the U.S. where they
continued to study English as a second language. An important
difference between their experience in Japan and the U.S. is that in
the U.S. they need to gain some degree of masteiy of the English
language in order to survive academically and socially. One of the
questions that needs to be addressed, therefore, is whether or not
they have experienced feelings of culture shock. The effect of
culture shock on a students motivation to learn to speak English
and to understand and fit into American culture cannot be
overlooked. As Mark Clarke (1976) stated, second language
learning can be equated, to a certain degree, with schizophrenia
where social encounters become threatening, and defense
mechanisms are employed to reduce the trauma. Some students
may experience an identity crisis between two cultures; therefore,
this is something that needs to be recognized and dealt with both
inside and outside a classroom environment.

Motivational Therapy Class and Content-based ESL Observations
The Motivational Therapy Class was conducted as a
collaborative effort among Bethesda PsycHealth volunteer staff
members, Dr. Nakakuki who is a psychiatrist, and myself as both a
participant observer and a bilingual teaching assistant. The Content-
based ESL program included Algebra, History, Natural history,
Economics, and English Composition.
The purpose for observing the classes as a participant
observer was to reveal tacit knowledge by using the ethnographic
approach regarding attitudes, motivation, behavior of students
toward learning, and interaction among students and instructors in
the natural setting classrooms. Different cultural patterns of
behaviors in communication between American instructors and
Japanese students were also observed. As a participant observer, I
was subjectively and objectively involved in the class activities and
made descriptive observations. Prior to the start of the program I
had emphasized the need for a motivational therapy class at the
school and put together a comprehensive proposal. I had meetings
with the Bethesda staff and Dr. Nakakuki to assist them in the
design and development of the overall curriculum detailed lesson

The motivational therapy class was held every Monday from
10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. for 12 weeks during the fall semester of
1992. I observed, audio-taped the classes, and took field notes for
each of the classes. After each class, I transcribed the audio-tapes.
The rationale for and description of the course follows (Appendix
B). The content-based ESL classes were taught by three instructors.
I observed three of these classes.
Student Journals and Letters of Appeal
Students were assigned by the instructors to write in journals
once a week for the motivational therapy class. They were told to
write freely about themselves, their feelings, any comments that
they had about their instructors, or the class content. I collected
their journals for the purpose of analyzing the students' motivation
and attitudes toward learning English, encountering American
culture, and to see what influence or changes if any the
motivational classes had on their thoughts and motivation toward
their goals. I also analyzed their appeal letters, written to the
academic committee toward the end of the fall semester to request
to be re-admitted to the regular academic program.

Instructor's Assessments for Students in Content-based ESL class*
Instructors' assessments provided both their subjective and
objective evaluation of students. The purpose of collecting the data
was to see whether or not some of comments of instructors
regarding the motivation of the particular students were congruent
or incongruent. I wanted to analyze instructors' attitudes toward
students, and how the instructors portrayed the students through
their assessments.
Pre- and Post Course Questionnaires on Self-esteem and
Assertiveness, and Pre-and Post-Mir.^igan English Testa
Subjects. Male students who had enrolled in the fall of 1992
Special Program and Motivational Therapy Class were used as
subjects for self-esteem and assertiveness measurement (n=23 for
the pre-test on 8/31/92; n=16 for the post-test on 11/30/92.) The
students ranged in age from 19 to 23. Pre-and post Michigan
English Proficiency Tests were administered to the same students.
(n=23 for the pre-test, n=19 for the post-test.)
Measures. Both the self-esteem and assertiveness
questionnaire and the Michigan English proficiency test were

administered to the students enrolled in the course in an effort to
correlate psychological states with English achievement.
The self-esteem and assertiveness index was developed by
Bethesda PsycHealth. The questionnaire consists of 32 statements
to which subjects indicate 4 degrees of agreement or disagreement
(strongly agree, mildly agree, mildly disagree and strongly disagree)
on a Likard scale. For some statements (e.g., I must not feel
angry) the highest score was given to those who choose mildly
disagree, because assertiveness while desirable according to test
givers must not be extreme. The statements on the self-esteem and
assertiveness questionnaire were translated into and administered
to subjects in their native language (Japanese). The Michigan test
consisted of four parts: listening (20%), grammar(30%),
vocabulary(30%), and reading(20%). The test was scored on a scale
of 0 to 100.

The first research question is:
What factors are relevant to motivation among Second
Language Learners?
After analyzing data from journals, interviews, letters of appeal, and
observations of classroom interaction in the Motivational Therapy
class, the following factors appeared to be relevant to motivation
among the students studied.
Psychological (Micro! Factors
Some psychological factors seemed to inhibit or hinder the
motivation of the students to study English. Psychological factors
can be placed into such sub-categories as past experience, pride,
perfectionism, tolerance of ambiguity, self-confidence, culture
shock and school absenteeism.
Past Experiences
The following three statements were made during the interview:
Kazu said,

I was poor at English during my high school days. Materials
were boring. I didnt think at that time, that I would ever
have a chance to use English in the future.
Hitoshi said,
I didnt like English during my high school days. I wondered
why I had to study English. I was interested in studying other
things in my life.
Kei said,
I didnt like English during the first and the second years of
junior high school because I didnt understand grammar, the
meanings of vocabulary, words, or how to study English. When
I was in the 9 Th. grade, I had a private tutor, and began
understanding English because die tutor fully explained the
meanings of words and the proper use of grammar. I liked
the tutor both as a teacher and as a person. During that time
my scores in English were always over 70 percent. English
became my favorite subject as well as Math, and Japanese. I
didnt expect to come to America to go to college. I failed an
entrance examination to enter the college in Japan so I came
Many students in the current program said that they didnt
like English when they studied it in Japan. They said that materials
and instructions were difficult to understand and that they didnt
earn good grades. As mentioned earlier, negative emotions produce
efforts to shift attention away from a stimulus such as English
materials or instruction. (Smith and Ellsworth 1985.) In Keis case,
however, the experience of having a tutor whom he liked resulted
in improved English scores. Schumann stated that affective
orientation appears to enhance or hinder learning. The students
who had positive or negative emotional experiences with regard to

the study of English showed evidence that such experience could
influence their motivation in new situations where they encounter
English in the U.S. The three students mentioned above didnt
expect to come to the U.S. to study English. Thus, they had never
thought of studying English in a U.S. college as a clear or realistic
goal that they would ever need to pursue.
Hitoshi told me during an interview;
My pride is too high to speak incorrect English in front of
other people. I dont want to look stupid. I discuss and
express my ideas with professors if I am allowed to talk in
Japanese. (Nov. 92)
He had been working as a leading member of a student
organization. He socialized with many students and staff members.
He is strongly opinionated and likes to debate with people. He did
not, however, try to express himself in English. The following is an
interaction between a bilingual psychiatrist, Dr. N. and Hitoshi in a
class on the topic of "Differences between American and Japanese
Dr. N.: (In Japanese) Dr. Doi analyzed the Japanese term for
mutual interdependency, AMAE among the Japanese. In
Japanese society this mutual interdependency works, but in
America if one doesnt express his or her own needs
honestly, it is difficult to communicate with others. Do you
have any comments?

Hitoshi: (In Japanese) When I was involved in the student
government in Japan, and now in America, I found that
there was a difference in negotiating style. In Japanese
schools when we negotiate with professors or others we
usually reach an agreement verbally, but here everything
we discuss has to be written and if we don't show written
evidence they neglect the promises that were made
verbally. In Japan we also spend a lot of time discussing an
issue in order to reach a decision, for example, a salesman
will meet many times with customers in order to ensure
successful negotiations.
Dr. N. (In Japanese) Your comments include some very
important points, why dont you speak in English to share
your ideas with us. Just summarize your ideas. You dont
have to speak perfectly.
(There was a long silence.)
Dr. N : (In Japanese) Your comments are very important, why
dont you give us a summary next week?
Hitoshi insightful thought and communicative competence in
Japanese was beyond that of average students in the program. He
also seemed to have a high degree of self-esteem based on his
answers on the assertiveness and self-esteem
questionnaire(Appendix D). Pride usually has a positive effect on the
achievement of ones goals. In this case, he didnt want to accept
that his communicative skills failed to match his expectations of
himself (ideal-self). He seemed to be extremely concerned about
the reaction of others. He also appeared to fear the loss of the
respect of his peers by showing his imperfect speech. He seemed

to feel shame, Which is a central characteristic of Japanese people.
Later, this issue will be raised again as a cultural factor.
Perfection. Tolerance of Ambiguity, and Risk-taking
The students' motivation to speak English was inhibited both by the
feeling that they should speak English perfectly or not at all and an
inability on their part to tolerate any ambiguity of language usage.
(1) Intolerance of ambiguity
I can't express my thoughts exactly in English but I can in
Japanese. ( Hitoshi: from an interview in Nov. 1992)
(2) Desire for perfection
I used to think that I should speak perfect English. I
constructed sentences in my mind and then translated them
before actually talking. Since it took so much time to do this,
I often lost the chance to speak in class. ( Norio: from an
interview on Oct. 27, 1992)
I understood the content of my class but it was difficult for
me to express my idea in English. The concepts were not
difficult for me. If asked, I could explain the concepts in
Japanese. (Norio: from his letter of appeal of Dec. 4, 1992)
(3) Risk-taking
Norio said during his interview at the end of the semester:
I began to feel that it is all right to make mistakes. I found
that somehow I could make myself understand even if I spoke

Second language learners often become frustrated when they
are confronted with new language stimuli, many of which are
ambiguous. Students are especially frustrated when they cannot
express their thoughts in English as clearly as they can in their
native language. If learners feel severe frustration and anxiety, their
motivation to learn English may be hindered. The result of Chapelle
and Roberts research (1986) suggested that those students who
are tolerant of ambiguity may be able to gain more English
proficiency than their less tolerant peers. Kogan and Wallach
(1967) stated that people with a high motivation to achieve are
moderate, though not high, risk-takers.
In explaining why Norio and Kensuke had lost their motivation to
study and why they had failed so many classes in the academic
program. Norio said,
I didn't have the confidence to ask questions or discuss
topics with professors because I was afraid of them. As a
result, I was lost in my classes, (from his letter of appeal of
Dec. 4, 1992)
Kensuke said,
One of the reasons why I failed in the academic program was
I didnt have confidence in myself. ... I felt fear of my
academic future. I was confused and I didnt feel like
studying. ( From his letter of appeal of Dec. 4, 1992)

The power of intrinsic motivation lies in the fact that humans
appear naturally to seek reasonable challenges (Brown, 1990) to
build self-confidence, and to enhance their own competence. These
two students lacked the confidence to cope with studying because
they might have lacked intrinsic motivation. While this may be true,
a question that must be addressed is why they felt anxiety or fear
toward studying. One possible explanation might be that they were
not successful in achieving English competence in Japan, and as a
result, they have no idea about what strategies to apply to their
current educational situation. Instead of anticipating a positive
outcome, they felt fear of potential negative consequences. This is
in sharp contrast to people who have had successful experiences,
who evaluate themselves positively, and who choose reasonable
goals for themselves. All this enables them to anticipate and focus
on positive reinforcement.
Culture Shock
Some students in the program lacked the motivation to study
English or any other academic subject. Their failure seemed to be
rooted in culture shock or personal psychological problems. One
student in the program stated:
I had many problems when I came to America, for example, a
different language, different foods, and I didn't have friends
in the dormitory. I could not wake up early. I did not study

English. I always played TV games. ( N: from his letter of
appeal of Dec. 4, 1992)
Kazu said;
I usually dont notice that I missed Japan, but when I couldnt
express my needs at a store or they misunderstood my
explanation and I purchased the wrong item, I thought that it
would have never happened if I had been in Japan. (At his
interview in Oct. 1992)
Tomo student said:
I didnt give academics my best effort. I didn't try hard to
learn English. I didnt go to class. I was not interested in the
classes. I was not active in classes. I was just sat in class. I was
home-sick because I had lived in Japan for a long time. I
always thought about going back to Japan. I always felt lost in
the U.S. (Tomo: from his letter of appeal Dec. 4, 1992)
Shortly after he arrived in America, I consulted with Tomo
about his depression. His Michigan score, however, had improved
dramatically by the end of the program. He became social and
interacted willingly with other students. Tomo continued;
I forgot that it was a students job to devote oneself to study.
I studied hard during the summer. I went to class every day. I
got very good grades. In the fall I studied natural history,
economics, Colorado history, and algebra through the
content-based ESL program. I have been studying hard and I
have become active in these classes. (Tomo: from his letter of
appeal of Dec. 4, 1992)
Brown (1987) stated that culture shock is a common
experience for a person learning a second language in a second
culture. A student who has any motivation-integrative or
instrumental, intrinsic or extrinsic-may experience culture shock

Brown (1987) stated that culture shock is a common
experience for a person learning a second language in a second
culture. A student who has any motivation-integrative or
instrumental, intrinsic or extrinsic-may experience culture shock
although the degree of shock varies depending on individual
differences. Symptoms of culture shock include having feelings of
frustration, loneliness, confusion, homesickness, sadness,
unhappiness, and/or depression. If learners have severe culture
shock, their motivation to learn will be impaired. A person who
suffers from culture shock sometimes shows physical symptoms as
well, (e.g., diarrhea and fatigue). Students experiencing culture
shock are caught in the middle of the native and target cultures.
They are often confused in social and academic situations. Since
such students experienced patterns of tacit behaviors in their own
culture, they consciously or unconsciously anticipated certain
outcomes or responses from their professors or other Americans
they encounter in their daily lives. Their expectation, however,
often differed significantly from reality. Kazu had difficulty
communicating with a store clerk not only because of his
insufficient language skills but also because of differences in the
social contexts of two cultures. Tomo missed his native culture, and
so he withdrew to an imaginary life of fantasy. He refused to
confront his current situations. They were unable to choose their

goals for learning English. As a result, they were unmotivated to
leam English.
Coopersmith (1967) proposed what is now a well-accepted
definition of self-esteem. He stated:
By self-esteem, we refer to the evaluation which the
individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to
himself; it expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval,
and indicates the extent to which an individual believes
himself to be capable, significant, successful and worthy. In
short, self-esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness that
is expressed in the attitudes that the individual holds towards
himself. It is a subjective experience which the individual
conveys to others by verbal reports and other overt expressive
The changes, if any, in the self-esteem and assertiveness of
the students in the motivational therapy class were evaluated by a
statistical analysis of the responses to pre-and post course
questionnaires that had been specifically developed to measure the
individuals level of self-esteem and self-assertiveness. Students t-
test was used to compare the number of students giving optimal,
good, fair and poor responses to the items on the questionnaire. No
significant differences (P<.01) were found in the frequency of any of
the responses given by students at the end of the course relative to
the responses that were given at the beginning of the course. The t

goals for learning English. As a result, they were unmotivated to
learn English.
Coopersmith (1967) proposed what is now a well-accepted
definition of self-esteem. He stated:
By self-esteem, we refer to the evaluation which the
individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to
himself; it expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval,
and indicates the extent to which an individual believes
himself to be capable, significant, successful and worthy. In
short, self-esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness that
is expressed in the attitudes that the individual holds towards
himself. It is a subjective experience which the individual
conveys to others by verbal reports and other overt expressive
The changes, if any, in the self-esteem and assertiveness of
the students in the motivational therapy class were evaluated by a
statistical analysis of the responses to pre-and post course
questionnaires that had been specifically developed to measure the
individuals level of self-esteem and self-assertiveness. Students t-
test was used to compare the number of students giving optimal,
good, fair and poor responses to the items on the questionnaire. No
significant differences (P<.01) were found in the frequency of any of
the responses given by students at the end of the course relative to
the responses that were given at the beginning of the course. The t
values for each of the pre-/post-course comparisons were as

follows: optimal answer t=-0.30, P=0.38, N=32; good answer
t=0.55, P=0.29, N=32; fair answer t=1.12, P=0.86, N=32; poor
.answer t= -1.76, P=0.044, N=32. The interpretation of these
results, however, is unlikely to be as simple as an initial inspection
might suggest. Considering the amount of time that is often
required to achieve measurable change in human behavior, it is not
particularly surprising that no significant differences were noted
between the pre and post evaluation. Three months of classes is a
short time in which to reverse or even begin to modify attitudes
that are the result of twenty years of experience in a culture that
undervalues assertiveness and individual-oriented self esteem. A
longer longitudinal study of the efficacy of the motivational therapy
and content-based ESL would be necessary to adequately evaluate
any real potential for change that may or may not exist. Regardless
of the limitations of such short-term evaluations, important
information can be gained from careful qualitative analyses of the
responses of individual students to specific items on the
On the post-course questionnaire on self-esteem and
assertiveness, Wakao circled strongly agree in response to the
statement I believe in myself and my self-worth (The optimal
answer is mildly agree, according to test givers). He also

indicated strongly agree" for each the following statements on the
I have a capacity for understanding my character weaknesses
and working toward self-improvement of specific weaknesses.
(The optimal answer is mildly agree).
I believe in my self-worth and have a healthy admiration of my
abilities. (The optimal answer is mildly agree.)
I accept who I am and have the courage and strength to
design my life the way I want it to be. (The optimal answer is
strongly agree).
I understand that I am of value to myself and others,
regardless of the situation. (The optimal answer is mildly agree.)
Another student, Norio, also circled strongly agree in
response to each of the above statements. This was a common
pattern among the most successful students in the course. Hitoshi,
however, was unsuccessful in the program. His strong agreement
with all of the above statements, therefore, indicated that while a
high self-esteem may be essential to success, it is not sufficient to
ensure success in all individuals.
Shavelson, Hubner and Stanton (1976) classified self-esteem
into three types; the first is global self-esteem or self-assessment in
general; the second is specific self-esteem which deals with self-
assessment for individuals education or work in many life contexts;
the third is task self-esteem, (i.e., ones evaluation of oneself on

specific tasks such as reading a paper, listening to English, etc.).
This study found evidence that successful students in the program
had relatively high global self-esteem and self-assertiveness.
Kazu had been a successful student until he was involved in a
severe car accident. After the accident, his G.P.A. dropped. He was
placed in a special academic program during the 1992 spring
semester. He said:
I almost died due to the accident...eventually I recovered but I
lost my sense of diligence. I was depressed and I had a
negative attitude toward everything. I didnt attend classes
during the fall semester of 1991. I was shocked at my
suspension. I was placed in a special program, but I didnt
really understand why I had to study with these poorer
students. (From his letter of appeal Dec. 4, 1992)
He left the university in the middle of March in 1992 and enrolled
in another ESL program. He returned to the university to enroll in
the current program at the end of August. He said:
When I was studying with other foreign students at the other
institution, I missed my Japanese friends here, and I realized
I really liked this university.
His Michigan test score at the end of the program ( Nov. 30, 1992)
was the top score in the group.
Each individual has a unique set of learning and social
experiences. As a result, an individuals motivation to study English
and other academic subjects may be inhibited to varying degrees by
a variety of psychological problems. Some of the learners
experienced an enhancement or inhibition of their motivation

because of changes that occurred in their psychological mind set.
Some of these motivational factors, especially those linked to
cultural influences, were common to the entire group of students.
School Refusal (absenteeism!
Three students (Wakao, Norio, Hitoshi) had excessive numbers
of absences from their academic classes.
Hitoshi said,
I didnt go to my classes. I was only interested in playing
sports and watching T.V. (from journal).
Wakao said,
I could not get up early in the morning, and so I didnt often
go to class last semester. It was too bad. (From his letter of
appeal of Dec. 4, 1992).
There are two major reasons for the high rate of absenteeism.
The first is the nature of the Japanese educational system itself.
The Japanese educational system is famous for the extremely
competitive entrance examinations that students must take in
order to gain admission to a post secondary institution. In fact,
college admission is entirely dependent on the results of these
entrance examinations Most students in Japan attend private
institutions called JUKU and YOBIKO to prepare for the college
entrance examinations. Once student have gained admission to a

university in Japan, they can relax. Some students rarely attend any
classes. Some students only show up for the relatively simple end-
of-term examinations. Professors often give these students passing
grades as long as the students do reasonably well on the final
examination. The second major reason for the refusal of students
to attend class is psychological maturity. Many of the students, who
refuse to go to school, are often raised by over-protective parents.
As a result, these students may not be psychologically ready to study
at colleges in America. Often, these students hadnt thought
seriously about why they came to America. They recognize, only
superficially, that they are in the U.S. to study English and a
number of other academic subjects. They dont realize the meaning
and importance of a college education. They have yet to set their
own goals for the future. In short, they have yet to establish a sense
of self-identity.
Cultural Factors
Communicational Styles
Bamlund (1975) examined the communicative styles of
American and Japanese people. According to his research, the
Japanese see themselves as reserved, formal, silent, cautious,
evasive, and serious, in that order. In contrast with this,

Americans perceive themselves as self-assertive, frank, informal,
spontaneous, and talkative.
When these differences in communicative style manifest
themselves in the classroom, the result can often be severe
misunderstanding. For example, Japanese students seldom speak
up voluntarily in class. Rather, they speak only if they are called on.
American professors, however, usually expect students to ask
questions voluntarily and to participate actively in class. When
professors encounter students who never ask questions and never
speak in class, they may view such students as unmotivated and
grade them down accordingly.
Americans tend to identify themselves as independent
individuals while Japanese identify themselves in terms of the
group to which they are a member. Duke (1986) noted that the
development of group loyalties begins with the first day of school.
In Japanese schools each new student is placed in a kumi which,
in many respects, corresponds to the first grade home room in
American schools. The difference is that, in Japan, the kumi
represents the first step in the Japanese process of formal group
training. The objective of this group training is to foster the
development of ties that will bind the individual to a group of his or

her peers. The ultimate goal being the achievement of group
harmony. The kumi mentality which, in some form or another,
continues all the way through high school builds within its
members a strong feeling of us and them. In this context,
them, or the outsiders, are exactly that (i.e., those people who
are outside ones own group). Within the kumi system, the
instructors devote the majority of their time to treating their kumi
as a single entity. All the students within the kumi follow the same
lesson at the same time. Even when the teacher divides the kumi
into smaller sub-units, each small group has a definite structure,
the individual soon learns that it is undesirable to stand out from
the group too much.
Inactiveness in speech
In Japanese foreign language curriculums, reading and writing
are emphasized. For students at the secondary school level,
language education is a continual process of memorization,
repetition, drilling and testing. Children are often called upon to
read a passage but, rarely if ever, to discuss anything. Equally rare
are questions from the students. Furthermore, there are no written
assignments in the American sense of ones that are given for the
purpose of allowing and encouraging the students to set their
imaginations loose on paper.

From a socio-linguistic perspective, Japanese are reluctant to
express their own opinions or make their own positions clear
before they have considered the addressees thoughts and feelings.
Suzuki (1984) believes that Japanese are more comfortable with
other-oriented behavior, (i.e., waiting for others to express their
positions first and then modifying ones own views accordingly).
The following illustrates the type of interaction among
instructors and students that was characteristic in the Motivation
Therapy class. (Tess and Shane were the instructors)
Tess: Mis-communications or misunderstandings need to be
clarified. Ask questions, and request explanations,
otherwise you will get bad scores. Are you asking
questions in Japan?
(This was followed by silence)
Tess: OK. Now lets move to the next activity. We need one
Tess: If nobody volunteers, Ill just pick someone.
(She smiled, and walked over to D to try to bring him to
the front of the classroom. D hesitated at first but he
eventually came to the front of the room.)
Tess: Todays activity will demonstrate how difficult it is to
communicate if the communication is one way. If you
dont ask questions it is difficult to do things right. In
Japan do you ask questions in class?
Kazu: No.
Shane: In this class you can ask questions. This is not a formal
class; you can ask questions anytime.

Tess: in In Japan if you dont understand the professors lecture class, what do you do?
Kazu: We ask after the class.
Tess: After the class?
Shane: order the In American colleges, you ask questions in class. In to get by here, you need to change. At home you act in culturally appropriate way. (with a smile)
Tess: Lets have a break.
Most students recognizes the importance of a passive role as
depicted by the actions of Kazu who came up to the instructors,
after the other students had left and said, Japanese students have
no questions in class. If a student has questions, he goes to a
professor after class. In Japan if a student asks questions in class,
the professor will think the student didnt study enough. If a
particular student speaks up in class all the time, the other
students will tease this student. We say that the nail that sticks out
will be hammered down. If I speak too much in class, other
students will criticize me, so I dont speak too much in class.
Kazus communicative skills were great. His final comments
reflected the existence of strong peer pressure and the importance
of group dynamics among the students in class. The following
statement by Kazu reflected the sentiments of many other students:
To ask questions during class is difficult for Japanese
students because we have studied in a different educational

system from that of Americans for over 12 years. Still, we
have to change our behavior and learn to ask questions. (From
his journal entry on September 21, 1992)
This idea was also evident in the journal entry of another student.
Japanese dont speak much. I think being active in terms of
speech is good, but it is difficult. ( K: from his journal entry
on September 21, 1992)
One of the important cultural differences between the
Japanese and the Americans is that the Japanese emphasize group-
oriented behaviors while Americans are implicitly and explicitly
individualistic both in society and in academia. In Japanese
elementary and secondary schools, teachers encourage students to
cooperate and function as a group. Harmony is emphasized as a
means of promoting smooth relationships among the various
members of any group.
Each member, therefore, tends to avoid the disharmony of
disagreement. Each is expected to conform to a group norm. Any
person who is too distinguished in a group is likely to be
suppressed or ostracized. Everybody in a group, for example, is
expected to maintain the same pace of improvement. A leader is
implicitly expected to encourage and assist the slow learners so
that they can keep up with the others. Overt individual
competition is also not encouraged. A high achiever tends to come
under implicit pressure from other members of the group to slow

down. Peer pressure and group dynamics sometimes hinder the
motivation of such higher achievers. This form of self-censorship
was plainly evident during an October 1992 interview with Kazu. He
I was helping my friend who was slow in class. I dont want
to speak up too much because I dont want to take the other
students chance to speak.
Shyness is another characteristic of Japanese learners that
appears to exert a negative influence on the language acquisition
process. One of the primary manifestations of this shyness is a
severe reluctance to speak out in public. This reluctance to speak
derives from a shame-rooted fear of making a mistake in front of
ones peers. Even in early childhood, Japanese children are warned
by their parents not to do anything that might cause others to laugh
at them. This is but one of the fundamental underpinnings that
produces what Ruth Benedict (1946) has called a shame-oriented
culture. Ruth Benedicts conclusion still remains relevant today,
and is clearly evidenced in the comments of one of the students in
the current study who said,
I used to be shy about speaking to Americans. I seldom had
interactions with professors in or outside of the classroom.
(Norio: from an interview )

Norios comments are especially important from two
perspectives. First of all, his admission of shyness shows that even
in modem Japan, shyness which is probably still shame-derived,
influencing the behavior of Japanese students regardless of whether
or not they are in the milieu of Japanese society and culture.
Secondly, and potentially of much greater importance and utility to
educational psychologists, is the fact that Norio stated that he
used to be shy." This implies that he has gradually learned to be
less shy and thus more open to contact with his teachers. The real
value of this is that it indicates that with the American proper
educational environment and emphasis on tests, it may be possible
to cause a change in student behavior (i.e., students restrained by
fear of shame might be enabled to achieve greater academic growth
through expanded two-way communication with their instructors
and peers).
Social Factors
Parental Pressure
Most of the students told me that one of the main reasons that
they came here was parental pressure. They seemed to feel
overwhelmed by the expectations of their parents. Norio said to

me, My parents expected me to graduate from college. (From his
journal Oct. 27, 1992)
Wakao reflected;
I stopped going to classes. I was absent for two months. I
talked with my parents about my situation. I heard about
Japanese society and my future many times from my parents.
(From his letter of appeal of Dec. 4, 1992)
Kazu stated;
I wanted to enter a Japanese college, but I failed the exams. I
wanted to try again the following year, but my parents didnt
allow me to spend one more year preparing for the exams.
Japanese families value education highly. The word Kyoiku
mama (Education Mother) is a well-known term used to describe
mothers who are exceptionally, and sometimes excessively
dedicated to the education of their sons and daughters. Such
parents even accompany their children to take the entrance
examinations for universities. The parental pressure on children is
quite severe in Japan. They exert a very strong influence on the
selection of which schools their children will attend and even
which field their children will major. As a direct result of this
tremendous parental pressure, many students fail to develop the
skills required for mature goal setting and independent decision

Motivation to learn is also impacted in that extrinsic rather
that intrinsic factors are the predominant driving forces. While it
might seem that this situation could not perpetuate itself since a
generation of students unable to set their own goals would have
difficulty setting goals for the generation that follows, widespread
social pressures ultimately act to impress upon the individual the
central importance of education and societal expectations as a
means of attaining success and social status.
Social Pressures
Japanese society emphasizes the importance of education.
The fact that the students in the current study recognize this is
clear from comments that they made in letters of appeal and in
personal interviews. Wakao, for example, said:
I know that, in Japan, too much emphasis is still placed on
educational background.(From a letter of appeal of Dec. 4,
Another student, Kazu, said:
I want to be re-admitted to college and graduate from
college, because in Japanese society, if I dont have a college
degree, I cant be successful. (From an interview in Oct.,
The reason for the Japanese society emphasis on educational
achievement can be traced to the desire for stable employment in
the post-war era. The most stable employment situation is

certainly guaranteed lifetime employment. Contrary to popular
opinion, however, lifetime employment is not a benefit enjoyed by
the majority of the Japanese labor force. Rather, it is a benefit that
only the largest and most profitable of corporations in Japan are
able to offer their employees. It is not surprising, therefore, that
such stable positions are eagerly sought by prospective employees
and that employers offering such positions can afford to be quite
selective in their recruiting process. In order to obtain the highest
quality employees, corporate Japan routinely turns to the nations
top-ranked universities which serve as conduits to direct
graduating seniors to stable positions in large companies. So
established is this relationship, that it is nearly impossible for a
student to land a good job with a large corporation unless he or she
has attended a good university. Since, once a student has been
admitted to a university, graduation is virtually assured, there is
incredible pressure to excel academically at the secondary school
level in order to gain admission to a top university. The emphasis
on education does not, however, begin in high school, rather it
starts much earlier. Even as early as pre-school, parents seek to
enroll their children in a top pre-schools since this may help them
ensure that their children are accepted by a good elementary
school which, in turn, will better the childrens chances of gaining
admission to a good middle school and so on. The societal emphasis

on education, therefore, acts as a tremendous source of extrinsic
motivation. As a result, however, many students lack the internal
.drive to study. They have never had to find within themselves a
personal desire to advance academically and this can act to hinder
their academic performance, especially if they perceive that what
they are studying is irrelevant to the goal of gaining stable
employment. This certainly explains why students in Japanese
universities rarely attend classes and view college as a time to relax.
With graduation guaranteed, the strong social pressure to study is
lifted, and the intrinsic motivation to study has rarely developed
sufficiently to serve as a significant motivating force.
The All-Japanese Campus
The students in the current study were all Japanese who had
come from Japan to study English in an intensive language program
for four months prior to the start of regular college courses. All the
students on campus were Japanese although most of the faculty,
staff, and educational system were American.
Wakao said,
We have problems learning English. For example, too many
Japanese stay on campus, so we always speak Japanese. We
cannot learn English in our daily life. (From his journal entiy
of Aug. 31. 1992)

Hitoshi also stated,
There are too many Japanese on campus. I havent been able
to improve my English. I feel that college should offer a better
environment for the students to learn English. There are so
many Japanese on campus that there is no need to speak
English. (From his interview in November, 1992)
Many Japanese students stated that there were too many
Japanese students on campus. They worried that they would not be
able to significantly improve their English proficiency. They
wanted to interact directly with American students in order to
learn more about the American culture and to improve their
English proficiency. The motivation to learn English for these
students is primarily integrative. American students, volunteering
as practice partners, therefore, may act as a powerful resource
enabling the students to achieve their goal of mastering spoken
Linguistic factor
Lack of sufficient English proficiency
Analysis of the qualitative research results reveals that there
are a number of important linguistic factors that correlate to the
academic failure and lack of motivation of the students.
Hide stated in his letter of appeal:
I didnt get a good G.P.A. because I think that my English was
insufficient. I couldnt understand the professors lectures.

Dai stated:
I dont have much vocabulary. English is very hard. (From a
letter of appeal of Dec. 1992)
Norio stated:
I have only a small vocabulary. (From Journal in Aug. 1992)
It was very difficult to listen to instructions. We must develop
listening skills. (From journal on September. 28, 1992)
When I was in the academic program, I didnt have much
vocabulary. I could not understand spoken English. I could
not understand English grammar. ( Letter of appeal 12/4/92)
The students had not achieved sufficient English proficiency
including grammar, listening, speaking, and writing skills prior to
starting the regular academic program in Japan and in the U.S.
When they enrolled in academic courses, they couldnt understand
lectures and felt overwhelmed. Eventually they lost their
motivation to study. Part of these problems may be attributed to the
system of Japanese English education. In Japan, the grammar-
translation method has been adapted at junior high school through
college level (Ratzlaff, 1980). This method does not focus on
communicative competence. Current methods in Japan are heavily
dependent on producing English sentences through word-for-word
Affective Orientation
The second question is, how does affective orientation
influence motivation? If a student demonstrates positive feelings

toward the materials, instructions, or the teacher in a second
language class, will that student have an enhanced degree of
motivation toward learning a second language? On the other hand,
if a learner has a history of negative emotional experiences with
respect to learning English but is now required to study English in
college, will the students motivation to learn be inhibited because
of these negative experiences?
A student, Key, in the motivational therapy class spoke of his
experiences learning English in high school. He recalled,
When I was in the 9th grade, I had a private tutor and began
to understand English better because the tutor fully explained
the meanings of words and the usage of grammar. I liked the
tutor both as a teacher and as a person. At that time my
scores in English were always over 70 out of 100. English
became one of my favorite subjects at that time. When I
became a senior high school student, the tutor left and
English became more difficult, and I didnt study hard, and
eventually my grades became low (From an interview on
September 15,1992).
Since his grades in English were good when he had a private
tutor, and since he liked the tutor as a teacher, it would appear that
there may be a correlation between positive emotional experiences
and achievement in his case. His motivation toward English at that
time seemed to have been partially due to the affection he felt

toward the tutor and/or her methods of instruction which were so
effective that he could clearly understand all the coursework.
As mentioned previously, Wakao and Norio often commented
positively in their journals on the activities and instructional
materials used in the motivational therapy class. Norio wrote,
We learned a conversation between males and females. It is
very interesting. (October 5, 1992)
I found the difference in shopping between America and
Japan. I understood this class. Todays topic was very
interesting (October 19, 1992).
Wakao wrote, Todays class was very interesting (October 5, 26,
and November 2, 1992)
It was very interesting. I could talk so much. I could learn
how to say No. It was very important. ( Oct. 26, 1992)
Both Norio and Wakao showed evidence of a positive
emotional outlook (e.g., interest and surprise) toward the materials
and activities in the motivational therapy class. The positive
emotions that they felt generated enhanced attention to activities
in class. This was even noted in the instructors evaluations of
these students that were presented earlier. Their English scores
on the post-Michigan test also increased dramatically over their
pre-test scores.
The negative emotional experiences of some of the other
students, however, seemed to interfere with their progress in the

current program. Hitoshi said that he hadnt enjoyed studying
English during high school. Possibly as a result of this, his final
. grades in the current program were unsatisfactory.
Osami expressed negative feelings toward those activities
which focused on assertiveness training in response to one activity
he said, Todays class activities were very stupid. (October 26,
His final grades reflecting his negative attitude in the program were
also unsatisfactory.
Another student in the program mentioned the following during an
English was the most unfavorable subject during my junior
high school days. I felt bored in English class, and I hated
English textbooks, especially, a grammar book during senior
high school. ( Interview September 18, 1992)
Many of the students who were not successful in the
program, had negative experiences associated with learning
English in the past. These cases may be explained by Schumanns
hypothesis that the amygdala negatively assessed the current
English teaching materials, activities, and instruction in accordance
with past, negative emotional experiences that the individual
associates with learning English.
A filter is thus formed that limits the individuals attention toward
learning in America. Howard Leventhal (1984) proposed the
concept of a schematic emotional memory which consists of

constellations of past emotional memories. This emotional memory,
Leventhal suggests, automatically evaluates new stimuli (e.g.,
learning English in the U.S.) either positively or negatively on the
basis of similar past experiences. The consequences of success or
failure may also influence an individuals goals through the
stimulation of additional positive or negative feelings that then
facilitate or hinder the pursuit of specific goals.
There are some cases, in which students who had either
internal psychological problems or problems outside the classroom
suffered attenuated motivation. Kazu had been a good student with
a GPA greater than 2.0 until he had a severe car accident after
which he was hospitalized in intensive care for a week. After he was
discharged his grades fell to below 2.0 for a couple of semesters.
Ultimately, he was placed on suspension. In reflecting on his past,
he said,
I saved my life in the accident, but I have been depressed
since then. I didnt attend academic classes in the fall of
1991. I was depressed at that time. I didnt feel like studying.
I was shocked when I was suspended. I wondered why I had
to study in the special program. (A letter of appeal, 12/4,
Norio explained one of the reasons he was not motivated in class
and eventually failed,
I didnt understand English in class. I didnt have confidence
to ask questions to clarify materials because I was afraid of the
professors. (From his letter of appeal 12/4, 1992)

His anxiety toward his professors can be traced to two
possible causes. One is rooted in his internal psychological state.
The other is rooted the cultural differences that exist between
America and Japan. Japanese instructors and professors tend to be
authoritative and endeavor to control students classroom behavior.
Communication in the Japanese classroom, therefore, is usually
one-way. Most students dont ask questions in class for fear of being
embarrassed and showing their ignorance. Since Norio was
accustomed to the communicational pattern between students and
instructors in Japan, it is possible that he expected that American
instructors would be authoritative and thus he automatically felt fear
toward his professors.
There is strong evidence that affective orientation is involved
in the motivational process. Students felt better when the
instructional materials were attractive and the instruction was
clear. When the outcome of their efforts was successful, the
students became self-confident. Norio and Wakao stated that they
were motivated to re-enter the academic program. Deci and Ryan
(1985) stated that emotions may lead to the formation of motives
and to subsequent purposeful behavior. The current study has
presented evidence that positive emotions enhance motivation
while negative emotions impair it. Deci and Ryan, however, stated

that anger might lead to the formation of a motive to change the
aspect of ones environment about which one is angry. This explains
how Hitoshis anger toward the current university resulted in his
decision to withdraw from the university. Hitoshi said, This is a
Japanese university. Why do they expect us to act like Americans?
Motivational Therapy Class
The third research question is:
How do Motivational Therapy Classes in combination with a
content-based ESL program influence students motivation
toward studying English and academic success?
I collected data on the progress of four students- Wakao,
Norio, Hitoshi, and Osami through observation of motivational
therapy classes, content-based ESL classes, interviews with
instructors, instructor's assessments of students in content-based
ESL classes, student journals and letters of appeal. The scores on
English proficiency measurements (Michigan test) and self-esteem
and assertiveness questionnaires were used as a reference point to
determine whether or not the program helped the students.
Wakao and Norio, as well as a couple of other students, had shown
signs of changes in their attitudes and sense of motivation. Their
Michigan English proficiency test scores had also improved.

Hitoshi and Osami, in contrast, failed to demonstrate any significant
improvement in their scores. The data presented in this section
illustrates how Wakao, Norio and some other behaved in the
motivational therapy classes. The data also provide a basis for the
evaluation of ESL and content-based ESL instructors. The behavior
of Hitoshi and Osami, in the same class, is also presented to
provide a contrasting example.
Successful Students
Wakao. Wakao stated in his journal following the first class,
I want to learn English, and I want to speak English. I want to
graduate from this university. If I dont graduate, I cant get a
job in Japan.
The fact that his motivation changed during the course of the
program has already been examined in the result and analysis
section. While he was motivated by instrumental and extrinsic
forces initially, by the end of the program there were clear
indications that an intrinsic and self-determined motivational drive
had developed.
In the motivation therapy class, Wakao was generally quiet, and he
didnt often speak in a large group of people. He did, however,
make some interesting comments in his journal on the topic of the
seventh lesson that was specifically Saying no. In this lesson
assertiveness training was pursued through the activities that were

developed to encourage students to use assertiveness to persuade
others in their daily lives. He commented,
Todays class was very interesting to me. I could talk so much.
I could learn how to say No. It was very important. (His
journal Oct. 26, Journal 1992)
During the eighth lesson, the students participated in an
activity called selling yourself, in which the students made a
collage to advertise themselves. The purpose of the activity was to
enhance the students sense of self-esteem. At the end of the class
each student gave a presentation to explain their collage.
The following was a conversation took place between the instructor
and Wakao during the presentation of the collages to advertise
Wakao came to the front and showed his work. He had
pictures of an abstract painting, of a fish head and other pictures,
and he said,
I am creative.
The instructor then asked,
How do the pictures represent you.
Wakao replied,
You can imagine how pictures represent me, and you see
how creative I am?
Later, Wakao added,

If you cant, that means you are not a creative person.
The instructor then said,
Oh, I see. Sounds good.
During this activity, Wakaos attitude was very positive and he
showed a clear sense of humor. It appeared that Wakao had a great
sense of global self-esteem.
An ESL instructor made the following comments about Wakao.
Wakao is enthusiastic about learning. His daily effort is
excellent. He appears to have a great desire to be successful.
His basic skills have improved rapidly, both written and
Another ESL instructor commented, Wakao has an excellent
attitude, always participates, and is willing to assist other students.
His Michigan score increased dramatically, by 103 %, by the
end of the program (Appendix C).
Another of his instructors who taught in a content-based ESL class
Wakao was very well prepared for tests. Wakao is a strong
student who has a good sense of humor and who is extremely
An excerpt of his letter of appeal gives a better understanding of
the motivational forces that motivated Wakaos changes.
I took part in the classes, but I could not understand what
I was studying. 1 was very bored by the materials, so I was
often stopped going to class. I talked to my parents and told
them my opinion. I heard about Japanese society from my
parents. I consulted my parents about my future many times,
and I realized that, in Japan, too much emphasis is still

placed on peoples educational background. I have had little
schooling, so I needed a stronger educational background.
I was informed that I was on suspense would like to
graduate from this university to seek future employment, ion.
In order to be re-admitted into the regular academic
program, I enrolled in a special program where I studied in
motivational therapy and content-based English classes for
five months. I learned natural history, algebra, and economics
as subject matters. I could learn and understand very much.
When I studied in the academic classes, I was la2y, but now I
am too busy to be idle. The classes in the program were
interesting and I could understand very much. I was able to
talk with my teachers many times in class. This experience
was better than when I was in the regular academic classes. I
could increase my vocabulary, I happily learned how to study.
I could improve my self-confidence. I would like to return to
academic courses. I am able to study positively in the
academic classes.
In his letter of appeal, he reflected on his past attitudes and
realized what was wrong with his attitude toward learning. His
instrumental and extrinsic motivation to study English and leam in
college were based on a desire to graduate from a university and
have a career in the future. This, in turn, was rooted in the social
emphasis on education in Japanese society, and on his parents
expectations. With respect to his motivation to study English,
however, he seemed to integrate and then internalize his external
motivational forces.
Norio. Norios motivation to study English were summarized
in his own words,