Scholarly article on topic 'School Students’ Motivational Disposition: A Cross-sectional Study'

School Students’ Motivational Disposition: A Cross-sectional Study Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Maryam Azarnoosh

Abstract The present study attempts to highlight the age-related differences between secondary and high school students’ motivation within Dörnyei's (2005, 2009) framework of L2 motivational self system. To this end, 1670 male and female students studying at secondary and high school level, who had only learned English at school, filled out a questionnaire developed by Taguchi, Magid, and Papi (2009), and some took part in a semi-structured interview. The results of the independent samples t-test revealed a higher motivational disposition for secondary school students. Moreover, based on regression analyses, different factors predicted students’ ideal and ought-to L2 selves, learning experience, and intended effort. The results of the interviews also reinforced the quantitative findings. Considering the socio-educational context of Iran, the importance of immediate learning environment, significant others, and learners’ L2 dreams in increasing their intended effort and motivated learning behavior are discussed.

Academic research paper on topic "School Students’ Motivational Disposition: A Cross-sectional Study"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 98 (2014) 324 - 333

International Conference on Current Trends in ELT

School Students' Motivational Disposition: A Cross-Sectional

Maryam Azarnoosh*

Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Semnan Branch, Semnan, PO Box 35145-179, Iran

Abstract

The present study attempts to highlight the age-related differences between secondary and high school students' motivation within Dornyei's (2005, 2009) framework of L2 motivational self system. To this end, 1670 male and female students studying at secondary and high school level, who had only learned English at school, filled out a questionnaire developed by Taguchi, Magid, and Papi (2009), and some took part in a semi-structured interview. The results of the independent samples /-test revealed a higher motivational disposition for secondary school students. Moreover, based on regression analyses, different factors predicted students' ideal and ought-to L2 selves, learning experience, and intended effort. The results of the interviews also reinforced the quantitative findings. Considering the socio-educational context of Iran, the importance of immediate learning environment, significant others, and learners' L2 dreams in increasing their intended effort and motivated learning behavior are discussed.

© 2014 The Authors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

(http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Urmia University, Iran.

Keywords: High school; ideal L2 self; Iran; learning experience; L2 motivational self system; motivation; ought-to L2 self; secondary school

1. Introduction

Language learning motivation attracting special attention in SLA is one of the extensively researched areas (e.g., Dornyei, 1990; Dornyei & Ushioda, 2009; Gardner, 1985, 2001). The shifts of focus from time to time have highlighted promising new conceptual themes and marked significant milestones in the evolution of new motivational theories. One of such theories is the L2 motivational self system (Dornyei, 2005, 2009) which addresses the Gardnerian concept of integrativeness (Gardner, 1985, 2001), and the conceptualization of learners' identity (e.g., Lamb, 2009; Yashima, 2009). Moreover, it has been validated in different linguistic and cultural

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +98-231-335-4239; fax: +98-231-335-4239 E-mail address: m.azarnoosh@semnaniau.ac.ir; azarnoosh.86@gmail.com

1877-0428 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

(http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Urmia University, Iran.

doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.03.423

contexts (e.g., Al-Shehri, 2009; Taguchi et al., 2009; Yang & Kim, 2011) and has been found to be related to other SLA theoretical frameworks and concepts (e.g., Kim, 2009, 2010; Waninge, 2010).

Despite the significant contribution of this theory to advancing our understanding of L2 motivation, and the widely accepted issue that one's motivation can change during the language learning process (Dornyei, 2005), models of motivation might differ during the language learning process, across age groups (Ghenghesh, 2010; Kormos & Csizer, 2008), in relation to changes in peers and learning environments (Matsubara, 2006), and in different geographical settings. Thus, potentially different conclusions might be drawn. In a foreign language context like Iran where learning English is compulsory and students experience little contact with English speakers and their culture, exploring language learning motivation of school students may shed light on some of the aforementioned issues and add to the body of motivational research. Therefore, this study intends to picture the changes that occur in school students' L2 motivational self system when they study English as a compulsory subject in an Asian context. Moreover, it investigates the possibility of predicting EFL learners' ideal and ought-to L2 selves, English learning experience, and intended effort from some motivational/attitudinal factors.

1.1. The L2 Motivational Self System

Dornyei (2005, 2009) developed his L2 motivational self system as a new conceptualization of L2 motivation and a major reformation of previous motivational thinking with its roots firmly set in L2 motivation research (Noels, 2003; Ushioda, 2001), and significant theoretical developments in psychology, that is, possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986) and discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987). The L2 motivational self system has three main dimensions: the ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and English learning experience. The ideal L2 self is the ideal image of the L2 user one wishes to be in the future. The vision of being a fluent L2 user interacting with foreigners is an example of a powerful motivator which helps to reduce the discrepancy between the person's actual self and ideal image. This dimension explained more variance in learners' intended effort in some studies (e.g., Kormos & Csizer, 2008; Taguchi et al., 2009). Language learners' global concerns, that is, their engagement in global issues, also have major bearings on their ideal L2 selves. In other words, learners' higher level of international posture and frequency of communication lead to a more strongly sustained vision of ideal selves (Yashima, 2009).

The ought-to L2 self refers to "the attributes that one believes one ought to possess" (Dornyei, 2005, p.105) such as various duties, obligations, or expectations one ought to fulfil to avoid possible negative outcomes. For instance, in the case of learning an L2 to fulfil one's family or teacher's expectations, the ought-to L2 self can act as the major motivator. In three countries, Japan, China, and Iran, family influence and the prevention-focused aspects of instrumentality were found to have influences on this variable, but the effect on learners motivated behaviour was far less than that of the ideal L2 self (Taguchi et al., 2009). Also in Hungary, a similar relationship between parental encouragement and the ought-to L2 self was found (Csizer & Kormos, 2009).

The third aspect of L2 motivational self system, the L2 learning experience "concerns situation-specific motives related to the immediate learning environment and experience" (Dornyei, 2005, p.106). In the studies of Csizer and Kormos (2009) and Taguchi et al. (2009), this dimension illustrated the strongest influence on motivated behavior. In a 'situated' approach, contextual factors such as pedagogy, classroom environment, task design, cultural setting curriculum, teacher, peer group, and teaching materials play a crucial part in motivating students. This is because some language learners' initial motivation to learn is not drawn from their "internally or externally generated self images but rather from successful engagement with the actual language learning process" (Dornyei, 2009, p. 29).

1.2. Studies on L2 Motivational Self System in Iran

Despite the large number of motivational studies conducted in Iran which mainly rest on Gardnerian concepts (e.g., Chalak & Kassaian, 2010; Dastgheib, 1996; Vaezi, 2008), L2 motivational self system as a new framework has been relatively less explored. Some of the studies conducted at school level (Azarnoosh & Birjandi, 2012; Kiany, Mahdavy, & Ghafar Samar, 2012; Papi, 2010), or both school and university levels (Papi & Teimouri, 2012; Taguchi et al., 2009) in Iran will be discussed below.

Kiany et al. (2012) conducted a study with 401 high school students focusing on their L2 motivational changes and the impact of the educational system on their motivation. Descriptive statistics revealed a systematic decline in all motivational factors except for L2 anxiety which increased as the students approached the last high school years. Significant declines in the last years' rate of instrumental-promotion, interest, and ideal L2 self was observed. Ought-to L2 self and instrumental-prevention also decreased but it was small and statistically insignificant; in contrast, the level of L2 anxiety increased which was also insignificant. They concluded that the "context is more in favour of extrinsic motivational forces rather than the intrinsic types" and "the curriculum has little effect on students' 'attitudes towards L2 community and cultural interest' " (p. 12) since there was almost no change in students' cultural orientations.

In Papi's (2010) study with 1011 high school students, a structural model was used to investigate the relationship between the three components of the L2 motivational self system, English anxiety, and intended effort. All the factors in the model were found to be significant contributors to learners' intended effort and motivated students to varying degrees in their attempt to study English. Concerning anxiety, students' ideal L2 self and L2 learning experience decreased students' English anxiety, whereas their ought-to L2 self significantly made them more anxious. He concluded that students' anxiety has strong associations with their motivational regulations and approach/avoidance tendencies which can provide a clear picture of students' emotional state.

To compare junior high school students' motivational status, Azarnoosh and Birjandi (2012) also conducted a study with 1462 participants. All learners had the same positive attitude to learning English; girls' ideal L2 self was higher than boys', while boys' ought-to L2 self had a higher level. The strongest association among the three constituents of L2 motivational self system and students' intended effort for both groups belonged to their English learning attitudes and intended effort. For both groups, the best predictor of students' intended effort was attitudes to learning English. They concluded that among other factors the immediate learning environment is of particular importance in shaping learners' attitudes; in addition, parents' gender-based stereotypes can also influence each gender' s language learning motivation.

In the comparative study conducted by Taguchi et al. (2009) in China, Japan, and Iran, the participants from Iran were 1309 middle school students and 719 university students. The findings of this study determined the relationship between the ideal L2 self and integrativeness and the possibility of relabeling integrativeness as ideal L2 self. Two separate aspects of instrumentality - promotion and prevention - were identified which were respectively highly correlated with participants' ideal and ought-to L2 selves. Unexpectedly, instrumentality-promotion substantially correlated with ought-to L2 self in the Chinese and Iranian samples. Moreover, the validity of the L2 motivational self system was supported by a SEM analysis.

Based on the aforementioned discussion, two research questions are formulated: 1. Is there any significant differences between secondary and high school students in terms of their L2 motivational self system? 2. Can secondary and high school students' ideal and ought-to L2 selves, English learning experience, and intended effort be predicted from other motivational/attitudinal factors?

2. Method

2.1. Participants

In this study, the participants were selected based on quota sampling method (Dornyei, 2007). A total of 2964 Iranian school students who were studying English as a compulsory school subject participated in the study; however, this paper reports the findings for the 1670 students who stated that they had never joined any other English classes. These participants were 843 secondary school students, 386 females and 457 males, with the age range of 12 to 16 and the mean age of 13.89; and 827 high school students, 404 females and 423 males, ranging in age from 14 to 19 with the mean age of 16.43. Since pre-university (4th-grade high school) students were getting prepared to sit for the public university entrance examination, they were not included in the study to avoid any possible wash-back effect. In addition, to minimize any school bias the sample was selected from schools from all over Semnan, a province in southeast of Tehran. Participants were selected from four cities and six towns and rural areas of the province. Considering students' English proficiency level, 83% and 91.3% of secondary and high school students reported to be beginners and post-beginners, respectively.

In the interview phase, 28 participants from the two educational levels answered the questions. From the secondary school group, four females and six males with the mean age of 14.3, and from the high school group, seven females and 11 males with the mean age of 16.44 participated in the interviews.

2.2. Instruments

For the data collection, the Persian version of Taguchi et al. (2009) questionnaire was used. It was piloted at both levels with 244 students filling in the questionnaire and some joining follow up interviews to insure the comprehensibility of the items. The questionnaire contained two main parts: the first part was comprised of items measuring the learners' attitudes and motivation towards learning English and the second part consisted of questions about the learners' background information. The items were of statement and question type; a six-point Likert scale was used to measure the former type while a six-point rating scale was used for the latter with "not at all" anchoring at one end and "very much" anchoring at the other end. The questionnaire comprised 8 scales with acceptable reliability coefficient for both groups (Table 1). In addition to the three constituents of L2 motivational system, the other five variables which were measured in this study include:

• Intended effort, considered as the criterion measure, refers to the amount of effort L2 learners intend to put into language learning.

• Instrumentality-promotion refers to L2 learners' desired positive pragmatic outcomes related to their language learning such as finding a job or studying at university.

• Instrumentality-prevention refers to the language learning associated negative pragmatic outcomes that L2 learners' try to avoid such as examination failure.

• Family influence refers to the effects of family encouragement and/or pressure on L2 language learning ; and

• Attitudes to L2 community and culture refers to learner's attitudes towards the L2 community and its cultural products such as movies, TV programs, and music.

Table 1. Reliability Coefficient in the Two Subsamples for All the Measured Scales.

Scales Secondary school High school

Ideal L2 self 0.81 0.80

Ought-to L2 self 0.71 0.77

Intended effort 0.82 0.85

Instrumentality- promotion 0.71 0.71

Instrumentality-prevention 0.71 0.71

Family influence 0.65 0.75

Attitudes to learning English 0.83 0.83

Attitudes to L2 community and culture 0.81 0.85

2.3. Procedure and data analysis

To collect the data, the schools were chosen and personally approached by official letters from the Education Organization of the whole province, each city, and district. Then, information about the survey and details of administration were provided first for school principals and after their permission for teachers. With the cooperation of teachers and after a brief explanation about the study, the subjects filled in the questionnaires during their regular class time which approximately took 15 minutes to be completed.

For data analysis, the data were submitted to SPSS 16. A descriptive analysis was conducted to collect basic information on secondary and high school students. Then an independent t-test was run to investigate the differences between the motivational/attitudinal scales of the two levels. This was followed by a series of regression analyses to estimate the predictive power of the variables.

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Variations in L2 Motivational Self System

In order to determine the difference between secondary and high school students on the motivational/attitudinal scales an independent t-test was run. Since the probability associated with the Levene F for each factor was higher than the significance level of .05, in all cases the two groups enjoyed homogenous variances. The results of the t-test (Table 2) revealed that there was a significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups on all the factors. That is to say, motivational dispositions of secondary school students compared to high school students stand at a higher level. The descriptive statistics in Table 2 shows that the two types of instrumentality had the highest mean values for both groups. Since no scales had mean values lower than three, it can be concluded that students of both groups hold positive attitudinal and motivational dispositions.

Despite the significant differences found for both groups, the effect size (Cohen, 1988) of the scales indicated that the findings were meaningful but to a different extent. The effect size values of instrumentality-prevention and attitudes to L2 community and culture were weak (below .01); the constituents of L2 motivational self system, intended effort, and instrumentality-promotion displayed a weak to moderate value (below .06); and the only moderate value (.06) belonged to family influence.

Table 2. Results of the Independent Samples i-test.

Scales School Mean Sd T df Effect size

Ideal L2 self Secondary 4.18 1.21 8.21 1615 0.04

High 3.68 1.2

Ought-to L2 self Secondary 3.66 1.05 6.50 1613 0.02

High 3.31 1.07

Intended effort Secondary 4.08 1.17 5.74 1627 0.02

High 3.74 1.24

Instrumentality- promotion Secondary 4.44 1.00 5.44 1627 0.04

High 4.17 0.10

Instrumentality-prevention Secondary 4.41 0.93 4.47 1591 0.01

High 4.20 0.92

Family influence Secondary 3.71 0.99 10.26 1611 0.06

High 3.20 1.02

Attitudes to learning English Secondary 3.88 1.29 6.45 1601 0.02

High 3.48 1.24

Attitudes to L2 community and Secondary 3.63 1.21 2.41 1581 0.004

culture High 3.48 1.25

3.2. Regression analyses results

In the second part, a series of multiple regression analyses with a stepwise approach were run to identify the predictors of students' ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, English learning experience, and motivated learning behaviour. The first multiple regression analysis was run for students' ideal L2 self. As presented in Table 3, instrumentality- promotion, intended effort, attitudes toward the L2 community and culture, ought-to L2 self and English learning attitudes showed significant variances in both groups' ideal L2 self, with instrumentality promotion as the strongest factor.

Among the predictors of the students' ought-to L2 self, family influence, instrumentality-prevention, and ideal L2 self were shared by both groups among which family influence was the strongest variable (see Table 4). Attitudes to learning English and instrumentality-promotion were other predictors of secondary students' ought-to L2 self, whereas intended effort was the other predictor for high school students.

Table 3. Results of Regression Analyses for Students' Ideal L2 Self.

Variables _Secondary School_ _High School

B SEM Beta(ß) B SEM Beta(ß)

Intended effort 0.23 0.05 0.22** 0.24 0.04 0.25**

Attitudes to L2 community and culture 0.20 0.03 0.20** 0.11 0.03 0.12**

Ought-to L2 Self 0.17 0.03 0.15** 0.16 0.04 0.14**

Attitudes to learning English 0.08 ! 0.04 0.09** 0.09 0.04 0.09**

R2 0.63 0.61

** p<0.01

Table 4. Results of Regression Analyses for Students' Ought-to L2 Self.

Variables Secondary School High School

B SEM Beta(B) B SEM Beta(B)

Family influence 0.52 0.03 0.49** 0.56 0.03 0.55**

Instrumentality-prevention 0.26 0.04 0.22** 0.22 0.03 0.20**

Ideal L2 self 0.11 0.03 0.12** 0.11 0.03 0.12**

Attitudes to learning English 0.07 0.02 0.09**

Instrumentality-promotion 0.08 0.04 0.08**

Intended effort 0.14 0.02 0.16**

R2 0.66 0.72

** p<0.01

Concerning students' English learning experience, intended effort, attitudes to L2 community and culture, ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self turned to be significant predictors in both groups (Table 5). While the strongest predictor in both groups was the criterion measures, the promotional aspect of instrumentality only predicted high school students' learning experience to some extent. In addition, ought-to L2 self was the only negative predictor of these students' language learning experience revealing its negative impact on this group's learning experience.

Table5. Results of Regression Analyses for Students' English Learning Experience.

Variables Secondary School High School

B SEM Beta(B) B SEM Beta(B)

Intended effort 0.72 0.04 0.64** 0.58 0.04 0.57**

Attitudes to L2 community and culture 0.14 0.03 0.13** 0.27 0.03 0.27**

Ideal L2 self 0.09 0.04 0.08** 0.10 0.04 0.09**

Ought-to L2 Self 0.08 0.04 0.06** -0.18 0.04 -0.15**

Instrumentality- promotion 0.13 0.05 0.10**

R_0j£5_0^2

** p<0.01

Table 6. Results of Regression Analyses for Students' Intended Effort.

Variables Secondary School High School

B SEM Beta(B) B SEM Beta(B)

Attitudes to learning English 0.49 0.03 0.55** 0.47 0.03 0.48**

Instrumentality-promotion 0.27 0.04 0.23** 0.18 0.04 0.14**

Ideal L2 Self 0.18 0.03 0.18** 0.21 0.04 0.21**

Ought-to L2 Self 0.26 0.03 0.23**

Attitudes to L2 community and culture -0.10 0.03 -0.10**

R2 0.70 0.68

** p<0.01

As expected, language learning attitudes, instrumentality-promotion, and ideal L2 self explained significant variances of both groups' intended effort. As Table 6 displays, the best predictor in both groups (but to a greater extent in secondary school group) was attitudes to learning English. The other two constituents of L2 motivational self system, ought-to L2 self and ideal L2 self, were the next strong predictors for the high school group, respectively, while the former was not among the predictors for the secondary school group. In addition to ought-to L2 self, attitudes towards the L2 community and culture was the factor that significantly explained high school learners' intended effort but in a different way, that is, students' ought-to L2 self had a positive affect while their attitudes towards the L2 community and culture had a negative impact on their motivated learning behaviour.

3.3. Results of interviews

For a deeper understanding of the quantitative findings, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Among the questions, three questions specifically focused on students ideal and ought-to L2 selves which are reported here. The first question was about interviewees' ideal L2 self (i.e., how they would like to use English). In talking about their hopes or the way they would imagine themselves using English in the future if their dreams would come true, the interviewees mentioned various aspects of their dreams which are separately considered in Table 7. Speaking fluently was the most frequent hoped for dream of all the respondents (67.77%). Communicating with native

speakers was specifically mentioned by some students (46.66%). Working abroad with 62.22% was another important dream of students with the specific instance of teaching at a university (26.66%).

Table 7. Students' Hopes or Imagination of themselves Using English in the Future._

Secondary School Students High School Students

Responses N Percentage N Percentage

Speaking fluently 4 40 5 27.77

Communicating with native speakers 3 30 3 16.66

Studying abroad 2 20 4 22.22

Teaching at a university abroad 1 10 3 16.66

Working abroad 4 40 4 22.22

Living abroad 1 10 3 16.66

Visiting other countries 1 5.55

Translating books 2 11.11

Working in one's own country and using English 3 16.66

No imagination 2 11.11

These two broad categories--communication in English and working overseas--are instances of ideal L2 self and instrumentality-promotion also mentioned in the questionnaire. Ideal L2 self is a term subsuming integrativeness which refers to students' desire to interact with English speakers. The results revealed students' integrative and instrumental motivation (the two Gardnerian concepts) in learning English which in terms of L2 motivational self system refer to students' ideal L2 self and instrumentality-promotion and are found to be highly correlated and emphasized on in some studies (e.g., Taguchi et al., 2009).

Table 8. Students' Reasons for Studying English.

Secondary School Students High School Students

Reasons N Percentage N Percentage

Liking English 5 50 8 44.44

Having families/friends/relatives who knew English and their expectations 3 30 5 27.77

Passing courses / getting degrees 2 20 3 16.66

Disliking English in general 3 16.66

The second question asked students whether they had been under any pressure from others to study English since they started learning it. High school students felt more pressure from others (22.22%) in comparison to secondary students (10%). The other question focused on students' reasons for studying English; it specifically emphasized on three points: being something that they really wanted to do, learning because of others they respected and their expectations, or to avoid negative consequences. The results (Table 8) indicated that studying English because of liking it was the most frequent response of students in general.

4. Discussion

In this section, based on the results of the independent samples /-test, the regression analyses, interviews, and the socioeducational context of Iran, the age-related differences of Iranian school students' motivation in terms of the constituents of the L2 motivational self system are discussed.

The decline in foreign language motivation with age is the general finding of the /-test analysis and the interviews confirming the results found in various linguistic contexts such as Canada (MacIntyre, Baker, Clément, & Donovan, 2002), Indonesia (Lamb, 2007), Sweden (Henry, 2009), and Hungary (Kormos & Csizér, 2008) where foreign language learning is compulsory. This finding is interpretable according to the common features found in these contexts: the compulsory nature of language learning leading to boredom, students' gradual recognition of the effort required to learn a foreign language (e.g., Henry, 2009), and the general dissatisfaction with school prevalent among students of this age (Azarnoosh, 2011; Henry, 2009). In the case of Iran, the traditional educational principles adhered to, the applied methodology, and the evaluation system as the constituents of the immediate learning context also influence students' intended effort and willingness to learn a foreign language (Azarnoosh, 2011; Kiany et al. 2012; Papi, 2010; Papi & Teimouri, 2012).

High school students' lower level age-related motivational dispositions seem justifiable in light of the changes that take place in adolescent years. Changes in both social relations and instructional practices may negatively influence students' motivation. They include changes in family and peer relations, as well as, social and educational changes due to school transitions. Parents' involvement in students' school affairs usually declines during this period (Wigfield & Wagner, 2005), and the amount and difficulty level of English materials they have to study at high schools radically increases. High schools teaching/learning situation depicted in many studies (e.g., Azarnoosh, 2011; Kiany et al., 2012) leads to a decline in students' motivational perspectives as they reach the last years of school (Kiany et al., 2012)

Although in this study motivational/attitudinal factors were found to decline with age, Papi and Teimouri's (2012) study came to a different conclusion. In their study, except for instrumentality-prevention which decreased with age, for secondary and high school students, other motivational aspects either increased with age or were at a similar level. This difference seems to originate from participants' extra language learning experience provided by attending private language schools in addition to their regular school classes. Although adolescence is a period in which crucial decisions should be made that affect students' lives such as decisions about their education and possible occupations (Papi & Teimouri, 2012; Wigfield & Wagner, 2005), not all high school students share the same opportunity to participate in private English schools to improve their language knowledge to compete for a brighter future (e.g., gaining university acceptance). In the present study, the participants, whether living in urban or rural areas, had never joined private language classes, while more than 54% of the high school participants in Papi and Teimouri's study benefited from these extracurricular classes. Interestingly, the findings reveal the extent to which private English classes can influence student's attitudes to learning English, ideal L2 selves, and other motivational/attitudinal dimensions.

In terms of students' ideal L2 self, except for ought-to L2 self the other predictors - instrumentality-promotion, intended effort, attitudes toward the L2 community and culture, and English learning attitudes - are variables with promotional regulatory focus and similar to findings of Papi and Teimouri (2012). The emergence of ought-to L2 self as a predictor of ideal L2 self can be interpreted according to Iranian culture where families are much respected in a way that their demands and expectations take precedence over personal will and desire of children, so they not only can outline students' ought-to L2 self but also may shape their ideal L2 selves. As Brophy (2009) expresses the encouragement and pressure from culture at large, peers and significant others within one's social circle partly lead to the growth and change of one's identity and motivational dispositions. In many cases, parents' visions are internalized by children which play a key role in shaping their future (Shoaib & Dornyei, 2005).

The results of the regression analysis for students' ought-to L2 self (Table 4) confirmed the findings of Papi and Teimouri (2012) in which family influence and instrumentality-prevention, the two variables with preventional regulatory focus, were significant predictors of this aspect of students' L2 motivational self system. In this study, ideal L2 self was also a predictor of both groups' ought-to L2 self which were found to have significant association in other studies (e.g., Azarnoosh & Birjandi, 2012; Taguchi et al., 2009). Although to a lesser extent, secondary students' attitudes to learning English and instrumentality-promotion were also significant predictors of ought-to L2 self. This finding is in line with the unexpected relationship of ought-to L2 self and instrumentality-promotion found in Taguchi et al.'s study and can be explained as an age-related factor focusing on the extent of influence of the learning context on this group of students' motivation. As Nikolov (1999) states younger learners are more influenced by their language learning experiences. In addition, more support and encouragement is provided by their families (Elliot, Hufton, Willis, & Illushin, 2005). This, in turn, positively affects their language learning attitudes which can have impacts on learners' ideal L2 self and bring about more obligations in terms of their ought-to L2 self.

The predictors of school students' English learning experience, the third constituent of L2 motivational self system, included their intended effort, attitudes to L2 community and culture, ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self. Similarly, attitudes to L2 community and culture, and ideal L2 self were found to be stronger predictors for the high school group in Papi and Teimouri's (2012) study confirming findings of studies such as Csizer and Kormos (2009) and Taguchi et al. (2009). The strong association found between language learning attitudes and intended effort (e.g., Azarnoosh & Birjandi, 2012; Papi, 2010) supports the idea that classroom factors (e.g., the learning context, teacher, materials, activities, etc.) have a leading impact on students' attitude and learning experiences, and affect the extent to which learners are ready to invest in language learning (Csizer & Kormos, 2009). As the results of the

interview also confirms, considering the compulsory language learning context in Iran, students have to pass the English course whether they like it or not; this might be due to their future L2 dreams, or the expectations of families, significant others or society at large. Considering high school students' English learning experience, the stronger predictive power of attitudes towards the English culture and community seems to be the result of growing older and possessing a deeper understanding and concern for global issues which influences their language learning experience. With regard to instrumental-promotion, Kiany et al. (2012) found it to be the strongest type of motivation for high school students. In this study and contrary to Papi and Teimouri's (2012) finding, instrumentalpromotion emerged as a predictor only for the high school group's but to a very low extent. This indicates students' consideration of pragmatic benefits in language learning for their future success, although the results of the interviews displayed that this aspect is relatively stronger among secondary students (Table7). Ought-to L2 self, as the only negative predictor of high school students' language learning experience, demonstrates the negative impact of external factors such as, obligations, duties, and expectations of others on this group's learning experience. Similarly, this point is supported by the higher percentage of high school interviewees who felt to be under pressure in learning English.

With regard to student's intended effort, as expected, the promotional regulatory aspects were found to be predictors for both groups, and confirming Papi and Teimouri's (2012) findings attitudes to learning English was the strongest factor. Ought-to L2 self was a predictor only for the high school group which is also observed as a higher percentage in the interviews. Attitudes towards the L2 community and culture had a negative impact which may have originated from the older students' feeling about the need to establish international contacts and to know more about the global culture (Arnett, 2002). However, confusion may reign due to the conflicts between students' local and global identities expected from them which may result in "a temporary loss of interest in learning English" (Lamb, 2007, p.16).

5. Conclusion

This study intended to scrutinize the fluctuations in school students' motivation in terms of Dornyei's (2005, 2009) L2 motivational self system by investigating the motivational dispositions of Iranian secondary and high school students who compulsorily learn English as a foreign language. The findings of this study confirmed the general idea of an age-related decline in students' motivation. Moreover, by investigating the underlying factors of students' ideal and ought-to L2 selves, language learning experience, and intended effort, it provided Dornyei's model with more evidential validity. The influential effect of the immediate learning environment, the prominent impact of significant others and learners' own L2 dreams in increasing their intended effort and investment in language learning as well as shaping their motivated behavior was uncovered. This, in turn, implies the significance of teachers', materials developers' and course book designers' age-related considerations in providing the students with the best of what they can. Further studies may focus on the motivational dispositions of students who study English at different educational levels or those who receive different amounts or types of language learning instruction.

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