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Group influences on individual learners' motivation : a study of group dynamics in EFL classrooms

By Lilian Ya-Hui Chang


Attention to how groups of students at university influence an individual\ud learner's motivation within the group is the focus of this research. The uniqueness of\ud this research lies in shifting the focus from an analysis of the individual's experience\ud seen as being apart from the group to considering the individual's experience in\ud relation to the social interactions within the group.\ud This thesis begins with the examinations of the theoretical framework,\ud including major issues in learning motivation and group dynamics, an area that has\ud been gaining more and more attention in second language research. Then, it\ud discusses the selection of a mixed methods approach, the employment of three\ud research instruments (the classroom observation, the questionnaire, and the\ud interview), and the research procedure. After presenting the findings from each\ud research instrument, this study will integrate all the data and present key findings\ud from the integration.\ud Questionnaires were administered to 127 Taiwan university students from the\ud Applied English Department of National Kaohsiung First University of Science and\ud Technology (NKFUST). The results from the questionnaires show that there is a\ud slight to moderate correlation between group processes (group cohesiveness and\ud group norms) and students' level of motivation (self-efficacy and level of autonomy).\ud A dozen students who participated in this study were asked to give further\ud information during semi-structured in-depth interviews. During those interviews,\ud several students commented that their classmates are indeed important to their\ud learning, as being around more motivated classmates positively influences their own\ud motivation and autonomy. Other relevant findings, such as what is a 'good' and 'bad'\ud group, the importance of a mixed methods approach, and the role of culture aspects,\ud will also be discussed

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