Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education Issue 8
2005-03-31 発行


A Framework for Clarifying the Conceptual Ambiguity of Motivation
This paper is intended as a proposal of a framework for delineating concepts related to motivation. There seems to be conceptual confusion among teachers and researchers as to what motivation, or gakushuu iyoku in Japanese, refers to. Various meanings are attached to the words due to the multifaceted nature of motivation. In this paper, motivation is discussed from a theoretical point of view. A particular emphasis is placed on the situation-specific dimension of motivation because teachers tend to talk about motivation by referring to students' behaviors in class, rather than their relatively stable, trans-situational traits. Such a task-specific perspective is taken in studies on state motivation, which posit that learners appraise tasks to interpret and form mental representations about them. Thus, motivation is broadly divided into two different levels, i.e., learners' stable traits and temporal, fluctuating state motivation resulting from appraisal of classroom tasks. Since appraisal seems to be what teachers are most concerned with in talking about students' motivation, learners' appraisal is discussed in detail by integrating motivational concepts from literature in psychology as well as applied linguistics. Theories suggest that learners appraise tasks to form mental representations with regard to value and expectancy. Value is a general motivational concept which includes the aspects of appraisal on interest, relevance, utility, and cost. Expectancy is a general concept reflecting the learner's confidence to complete the task. These two general aspects of representations will consequently affect goal setting, or in other words, intention.