Lack of Motivation in English Language Learners 


Living in the generation of global integration, to learn a new language as a second language is essential. English language is now being considered as an important factor for our future as some countries in the world are using English as the second language. Moreover, it is being acknowledged something like a passport to a better education as well as employment opportunities (Shaik Riyaz Ahmad, 2016). Especially, in the 4th industrial evolution, not only English but also other languages such as Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc.

also play an important role in our future life. English nowadays is the official language of over 53 countries in the world, the official language of E.U and the third language to be used widely in the world after Chinese and Spanish (based on the differences in countries’ population). As such, it’s easy to be seen that English can bring us to a brighter future, or I can say, English brings opportunities to us. Specifically, we can have a chance of having a more stable job or a higher salary.

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In spite of the fact that English is necessary, there are many people, especially students refuse the importance of it, or I can say, they don’t want to learn English. Why? There are many reasons for a person, a student to avoid learning English. A study shows that the procrastination in students was caused by laziness, lack of inspiration, teacher’s guidance, their relationship in school/class, environment, etc. That leads to many problems that affect badly on students, which are their personalities, their learning and their achievement in all subjects (Irshad Hussain & Sarwat Sultan, 2010) especially on second language learning.

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Specifically, English compares to Vietnamese is much more complex since there are many differences among grammar, vocabularies, phonemes, etc. In my opinion, it raises the laziness in learning English or second language of students or people in common.

Many students, especially university students find it’s boring to learn a new language, although knowing the need of it. Jill Sherain showed that motivation directly influence the input of second language learning, and emphasize that it is “extremely important” to have a great motivation while learning the second language (1994) and English is not an exception (thêm reference). Moreover, I think it is important for the trainers to inspire their trainees not only in languages but also in other subjects. And due to the recent problem, which is university students are now finding it is boring to learn English so they refuse to use it, to learn it or they do learn English but it is hard for them to use or remember.


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between bad attitude in learning English and the lack of motivation in inspiring languages for students in selected universities in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Not only will this research provides an understanding into the psychology of students who are studying second languages, but it will also give teachers a different perspective on teaching, which could be used to motivate English learners to work more productively.

Due to the above problems, I want to make a research proposal to study about the relationship between lack of motivation in learning and English language learners.

Research question

To make clear the research question, I would like to emphasize the aims of this proposal is to determine these following objectives:

  1. The psychology of students who are studying second languages
  2. Another perspective on teaching

Literature Review

Motivation – Definition

There are many definitions about motivation. Motivation in learning, in general, and motivation in learning English, in particular.

As Harmer, J. (1991) definition, motivation is an “internal drive” that pushes someone to do something to get the achievements. We set an attractive goal for us since we think that it is worth doing and we try our best to reach the goal.

Hidi, S. (1990) sees motivation, or interest as a mental resource. Included in her research, Bartlett (1932) focused that interest plays a major part in human remembering. Numerous researchers have conceded this role, but few experimentally illustrate its importance. With the appearance of Behaviorism, the idea of interest, along with other lively concepts, became torpid; one outstanding special case for this period, that will be referred to later, is the work of Berlyne. As cognitive psychology emerged, lively components, commonly, and interest, specifically, kept to be ignored in favor of the rational and structural perspectives of cognition.

As the result, she has contended that interest is central to determining how they select and continue to prepare certain sorts of data in inclination to others. She was persuaded that both the mental and the physiological processes related to interesting information have special aspects.

In other research, Oxford, R & Shearin, J (1994) defined motivation is something that directly impacts how frequently students use second language learning techniques, how much students associated with native speakers, how much input they get in the language being learned (the target dialect), how well they do on curriculum-related accomplishment tests, how high their general capability level gets to be, and how long they continue on and keep up second language abilities after language study is over. Hence, motivation is greatly important for second language learning, and it is significant to get what our students’ inspirations are.

Early theories of inspiration portrayed it as an internal constrain driving external behavior. Motivation was expanded when some sort of imbalance or shortage in needs was felt by the learners. Consequent behaviors were at that point coordinated at rebalancing the framework without much cognizant action on the portion of the learners. One early hypothesis of motivation known as drive hypothesis stated that organisms were motivated to preserve a physiological adjust

Types of Motivation

Defining motivation as goals, Harmer, J. (1991) divided motivation in language learning into two types, which are:

  • Short-term goals mean when students want to achieve success in doing something within the near future, for example, students who need to pass their examination or to induce great review or high scores
  • Long-term goals refer to a hope of students or learners who need to have a way better career within the future or to be able to communicate with individuals who communicate in the language that they have learned or the target language

Furthermore, in discussions of inspiration an acknowledged refinement is made between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, that is inspiration which comes from outside and from inside.

Extrinsic motivation relates to a desire to be awarded and avoid punishment. It emphasizes external requirements to influence the learner to join in the learning activity (Arnold, 2000, p. 14), like homeworks, grades, or doing anything to satisfy the trainers. Both integrative and instrumental motivation are gathered beneath the branch of the extrinsic inspiration (Harmer, 1991, p. 4)

It is based on external results such as rewards and discipline. This motivation might bring a negative effect to the students, since with extrinsic inspiration, students don't learn with their higher purpose or will but they consider it since they are pushed by the interest within the rewards or the punishment. When a student is learning since he is guaranteed rewards or because he needs the rewards, he will be exceedingly persuaded to come to class and learn and achieve the objective that is set for him. But when these achievements are taken away, or in some cases, indeed on the off chance that they don't see any punishment, the student will not be curious about coming to class and learn the language any more.

Intrinsic motivation relates to learning itself and getting its own reward (Arnold, 2000, p.14). It implies the learners are willing to learn and voluntarily (not compulsory) attempt to learn what they understand that it is worth or critical for them. Once students have intrinsic motivation, they also have the inner wish to learn and they don't really require for external results. There are no negative effects of having intrinsic inspiration. Moreover, intrinsic motivation fosters the student to learn without being awarded, since it is innate, or it can be said that the need come from inside and it depends on their willingness. Lightbown and Spada (1999, p. 56-57) specified that trainers do not really affect students’ intrinsic inspiration because the students are from distinctive foundations and there is no way to motivate students but turn the classroom into a supportive place for them.

According to Krashen’s research, there are two main factors which are the variables of motivation will directly impact on English learners. To get more understanding about the connection between motivation and the students, she classified it into these following categories:

  • Instrumental motivation is known as the desire to have the skillful capability in a language for personal objective, or practical cases, can be related to proficiency. Its appearance will push individual to be connected with second language speakers so as to reach the certain output. For the integratively motivated performers, interaction for it will worth its own purpose. For the instrumentals motivation performers, interaction always has some viable aims.
  • Integrative motivation, understood as the desire to be important individuals in the community that learn the second language, is can also be predicted to relate to the skillfulness in the two capacities. The appearance of integrative motivation is an opportunity to push the learners to associate with the native speakers without having sheer interest. A low filter for integratively motivated acquirers is additionally predicted for the same purpose. In Stevick's terms (Stevick, 1976), the integratively motivated individual will not feel any risk from the 'other' group (p. 113) and will hence be more inclined to engage in 'receptive learning' (procurement), instead of 'defensive learning'

The Relationship Between Motivation and Achievements

In 2011, Kourosh Amrai, Shahrzad Elahi Motlagh, Hamzeh Azizi Zalani & Hadi Parhon published a book studied about the “Relationship between academic motivation and academic achievements students”. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between academic inspiration and academic accomplishment among Tehran College understudies. In the study, they concerned that as a natural phenomenon, inspiration is affected by four variables of context, temper, objective and instruments. In order to attain their objectives, needs and instincts, human beings acquire the sufficient motivation. By such inspiration individuals are stimulated to effectively complete a task, accomplishing an objective or a degree of capability in their callings. In educational point of view, inspiration includes a multi-dimensional structure which is connected with learning and academic inspiration. Experts have isolated motivation into two major groups of inner inspiration and external inspiration. Whereas the person impacted by the external inspiration with an independent objective attempts a specific activity, the inner inspiration gives the sufficient motivation for doing an assignment. Within the past decades, since the impact of inspiration for scholastic accomplishment on students’ victory, analysts have recognized and inspected the viable components in inspiration for scholastic accomplishment.

As the result, they found out that there was a relationship between the components of inspiration and academic accomplishment and this was to a few extent, consistent with the comes about of the researchers who highlighted the critical relationship between inspirations for securing self-esteem, …., support, capacity, competitiveness, social connection, accomplishing future objectives, fond of learning and fulfilling the others, with scholastic accomplishment in the students (Askari, 2006; McInerney, Yeung, McInerney, 2001 & Ghafor Khayyat, 2004). In spite of the fact that there was a weak relationship between the components of inspiration and academic accomplishment in this research which can be credited to the accuracy of students in announcing their normal mark, the detailed average points could be adjusted and the decimal numbers might need sufficient accuracy. Overall, by concerning the high review of intrigued in an assignment, it is secure to say that learners who accept that assignments are commendable and important are more concerned with cognitive exercises and them.



The population of this research will be about 5,000 students in FPT university. The sampling size is 300 students who have passed the 5 levels of English classes (topnotch 1, topnotch 2, topnotch 3, summit 1, summit 2) before attending at their academic classes, in 2019.

The participants will not be stratified and will be randomly selected using convenience samples.

Research Instrument and Data Collection

The study uses an online survey via the google form and the nature of the survey will be cross-sectional. The survey will include questionnaires and statements with the answers are scaled from 1 to 6 (strongly disagree to strongly agree)

Based on the research of Krashen, S. (1988), the independence variable “motivation” is classified into two variables are “instrumental motivation” and “integrative motivation” while the dependent variable is “bad attitude in learning English”. The statements will consist of two main parts: instrumental motivation and integrative motivation. And the format will include these following parts:

  • Part 1: General information of the participants (sex, age, etc.)
  • Part 2: Statements about the reasons lead to lack of motivation that refer to the two variables of English learners
  • Part 3: Additional open-ended question to clarify the problem that English learners are dealing with, which causes the bad attitude in learning English.

This design of this research is economical, can easily approach the participants (since students are tending to spend hours on the internet) and the participants can do the survey at any time. The questions in the survey will be attached with my appendix.

Data Analysis

The item with the highest score will be converted to variables. The variables which are selected by the most participants will be concerned as the answer of the research question.

I will use SPSS to analyze the data since it is an affordable, professional version of the program, available from IBM


Scale for statement-type items:

1 (Strongly disagree) 2 (Disagree) 3 (Slightly disagree)

4 (Slightly agree) 5 (Agree) 6 (Strongly agree)


Statement – Type Questions

  • I don’t like to study English with non-native teacher.
  • I don’t like to study English with native teacher.
  • I don’t like to study English because there were a lot of homework to be done.
  • I don’t like to learn English when there are technical exercises (speaking, listening, reading, writing).
  • I don’t like to learn English when there are additional learning materials (viewing of documents, moves, videos, books, etc.).
  • None of my friends know English, so I don’t really need to study English.
  • My family forced me to learn English.
  • My parent doesn’t want me to learn English.
  • I am more interested in earning a university degree and a good job than only learning English language.
  • I don’t like my teacher’s way of teaching
  • I don’t like to study English when there are too many grammars and vocabularies
  • I don’t like to study English since the class is such boring
  • I don’t like those friends in my English class
  • I don’t like to attend my English class
  • 1There is no exciting activity in my English class

Open-ended Questions

  •  Why don’t you like to do English homeworks?
  • Why don’t you like to study technical exercises?
  • Why don’t you like English materials?
  • Why don’t you like to attend English class?
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
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Lack of Motivation in English Language Learners . (2021, Feb 24). Retrieved from

Lack of Motivation in English Language Learners  essay
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