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Learning English as a international language or not? A study of Taiwanese students' motivation and perceptions

By Hsuan-Yau Lai


This research aims to investigate Taiwanese university students' motivation for studying English, changes in their motivation and influences which caused the changes, and their perceptions of the role of English as an international language today. The uniqueness of this study lies in using a mixed methods approach (both qualitative and quantitative) to explore L2 motivation from the perspective of English as an international language (EIL). As well as this, it aims to explore and compare university students' motivation for studying English and perceptions of English today based on their subject difference (English majors versus non-majors; the comprehensive university versus the technology university).\ud This thesis begins with an introduction to English education at the tertiary level in Taiwan and my motivation for doing this study. After that, it reviews relevant literature of L2 motivation and English as an international language. Then, it discusses the use of a mixed methods approach and three research instruments (the focus group interview, the interviews and the questionnaire). After the data of the three methods are presented, the discussion integrates insights from different data sources where relevant.\ud The results show that the majority of the students in this research study English because of instrumental and integrative orientation. However, the term 'integrative' in this study has a different interpretation from Gardner's sense of the notion. In terms of motivation changes, the results show that the students' motivation changed because of various influences such as teachers, curriculum, exams, group dynamics and social experiences etc. Another major finding indicates that although the majority of the students and the teachers are aware of the notion of EIL, they are facing a dilemma about following it in the classroom

Topics: LB2300, PE
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