Scholarly article on topic 'Teacher demotivational factors in the Japanese language teaching context'

Teacher demotivational factors in the Japanese language teaching context Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{"Demotivation / student demotivation" / "teacher demotivation" / "demotivational factors" / "Japanese ELT teachers"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Toshiko Sugino

Abstract Just as motivation is important in SLA research, demotivation constitutes an important factor. Despite the importance of demotivation in general, only a limited number of studies exist on teacher demotivation.The aim of this paper is to examine sources of demotivation among language teachers in Japan. This study investigating teacher demotivation among 97 college teachers demonstrated that of 37 items, five out of the top seven items are related to student attitudes. The least motivating items are related to teaching material and discrepancy in student abilities though many responded that ‘No consistency in curriculum with clear goals’ would demotivate them further. The results also showed that culturally specific and school specific factors may lead to demotivation as well.

Academic research paper on topic "Teacher demotivational factors in the Japanese language teaching context"

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V ScienceDirect Procedia

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 3 (2010) 216-226

Telling ELT Tales out of School

Teacher demotivational factors in the Japanese language teaching context

Toshiko Suginoa*

a National Defense Academy, 1-10-20 Hashirimizu, Yokosuka 239-8686, Japan


Just as motivation is important in SLA research, demotivation constitutes an important factor. Despite the importance of demotivation in general, only a limited number of studies exist on teacher demotivation.The aim of this paper is to examine sources of demotivation among language teachers in Japan. This study investigating teacher demotivation among 97 college teachers demonstrated that of 37 items, five out of the top seven items are related to student attitudes. The least motivating items are related to teaching material and discrepancy in student abilities though many responded that 'No consistency in curriculum with clear goals' would demotivate them further. The results also showed that culturally specific and school specific factors may lead to demotivation as well.

Keywords: Demotivation, student demotivation; teacher demotivation; demotivational factors; Japanese ELT teachers © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

1. Introduction

It is often said that a teacher's job is rewarding. Rewarding does not necessarily mean economic advantages but job satisfaction. Teachers feel rewarded because we can affect and change the lives of students by helping them enhance their abilities and give a sense of purpose in their future life. When we see that students have learned something from what we teach and find joy in studying, we feel motivated. Teachers also feel motivated when they see students' motivation and progress, and when they are appreciated for that.

Recent Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research has shifted from teaching to learning, especially individual differences including learning aptitude, specific learner strategies, and motivation are the focus of SLA studies these days. For example, Swan (2009) mentions that in 1967 at the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (then ATEFL), participants discussed mainly teaching methodology, teacher training, and testing, but at the 40th IATEFL conference in 2006, discussion topics were anxiety, collaborative learning, consciousness raising, cultural awareness, and motivation, and many other topics related to learners. Motivation in Second Language (L2) learning is one of the areas of individual differences that have been investigated extensively (Ellis, 2001).

* E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.036

Demotivation is a crucial factor for SLA research. According to D" rnyei (2001), demotivation in SLA and learning is the flip side of motivation, which concerns specific external forces that negatively affect learners' willingness to study the language. Despite the importance of demotivation in general, only a limited number of studies are available on student demotivation, and much less on teacher demotivation.

In my previous research, I investigated what factors demotivated sixteen language teachers (Sugino, 2010). The results of this open-ended survey showed that students' attitudes such as sleeping in class and forgetting homework were the most crucial factors for demotivating teachers. The results also showed that culturally specific factors such as a lack of students' participation, and students' speaking to one another in Japanese lead to frustration in native speaker (NS) teachers.

Based on this pilot study, I examined factors of demotivation among language teachers in Japanese colleges with a more extensive questionnaire. Questions were categorized into four main sections as students' attitudes in class, teaching materials and facilities, research and working conditions, and human relationships. In this paper, I will briefly mention research on motivation and demotivation, and then demonstrate the results of the questionnaire on teacher demotivation, and finally conclude the paper with limitations and implications.

2. SLA motivation research

Recent SLA research has explored students' motivation extensively (see D" rnyei, 1990; Gardner, 1985; Oxford and Shearin, 1994, Ushioda 1998). Though there is a striking lack of consensus on numerous key research issues, Skehan (1989) for example includes extroversion, introversion and anxiety, and Brown (1994) includes self-esteem, affect, anxiety, extroversion and motivation, not to mention age and aptitude (Granger, 2004, p. 25).

It is widely recognized that motivation is extremely important and a key factor for successful second language (L2) learning, though not everyone agrees on what motivation actually consists of (Oxford & Shearin, 1994; Ellis, 2001). Motivation can be causative (i.e. have an effect on learning) and it can be resultative (i.e. be influenced by learning), intrinsic (i.e. from the personal interests and inner needs) and extrinsic (i.e. from external sources) (Ellis, 2001).

Though leading researchers on motivation tended to use statistical techniques to measure the relationship between motivation and L2 achievement, Oxford and Shearin (1994) argued, "Many articles about L2 learning motivation bypass other rich and useful theoretical offerings from different branches of psychology: general, industrial, educational, and cognitive developmental psychology." (p.15). Further, Leppanen and Kalaja (2002) criticize a positivist bias in SLA motivation research as mentioned above.

Endowed with a set of personal characteristics, such as motivation, viewed as stable in nature and measured by objective means, the learner is treated as a physical object operating under universal laws. Importantly, the learner is stripped of agency, or international actions, and experiences of his/her own, taking place in particular contexts and in relation to those of others. (Leppanen and Kalaja, 2002, p. 190, in Dewaele, 2009).

Tollefson (1991) further claims that motivation alone does not answer the complex demography of language learning without considering issues of power and domination in the majority and minority groups, emphasizing the historical background of the social, political, and economic forces that determine individual choices.

2.1. Motivational research in Japanese school settings

Concerning SLA motivation research in the Japanese EFL context, Sugita's study (2008) employing a journal survey showed several types of external and internal motivational influences on 120 Japanese secondary school students. Sakai and Koike (2008) investigated university students' motivation to learn English at the international event and found that this kind of event triggered extrinsic motivation but not so much their competence.

Surveying students' motivation, Brown (2008) found that self-efficacy impacts greatly on students' motivation and thus success in EFL learning. Japanese students tend to have high language learning anxiety, and lack motivation to learn English in the first place especially in rural areas where they feel English is not helpful in their future course (Brown, 2008, Miyazato, 2001). However, changing students' negative perceptions could help increase attention, motivation and sense of connection to English (Brown, 200).

Although these studies have paid attention to understanding the language learners' motivational factors, little attention is paid to the practitioners' questions. According to Nomura, Ikeda & Yashita (2007), one such question that needs to be answered is as follows: "How can teachers motivate their students to learn and continue to learn in the target language?" (Sugita, 2008).

2.2. Teacher motivation

Most of SLA research has explored students' motivation, yet there is very limited literature available even though teacher motivation is an important factor contributing to students' successful language learning (Kozloski, 2002). Though influences affecting faculty vary widely, the relationship between teacher and student motivation is linked negatively and positively (Deci, Kasser & Ryan, 1997). Kozloski found that the majority of those surveyed in his study did appear to have a high level of intrinsic motivation such as self-efficacy, adequate and supportive goals with professionalism, and though extrinsic rewards such as "pay" or a positive teacher evaluation was supportive, intrinsic motivation was more accountable for teacher motivation (2002).

3. Demotivational factors in L2 learning and teaching

3.1. Students' demotivational factors

Just like motivation demotivation is a significant issue in SLA research and language learning. A demotivated person can be identified as someone who was initially motivated but because of negative external influences, has lost it. Trang & Baldauf (2007) warn available research on demotivation seems to equate it with low motivation, rather than examining it as a phenomenon in its own right. (p. 81).

Dornyei (2001b) then identified several factors that could hamper learners' motivation including negative experiences with current and former teachers, poor school facilities and materials, low self-confidence, bad opinions of the L2 or L2 culture, negative attitudes of other group members, and the fact that language study is mandatory. Dornyei emphasized that demotivation affects learner motivation, and he identified an independent factor, bad learning experiences, correlated to proficiency (1990). In the study by Ushioda (1998), when learners were asked what they thought would demotivate their learning, teaching methods, learning tasks, and coursework pressure were found to be demotivational factors.

Despite the importance of demotivation in general, and L2 and EFL in particular, only a limited number of studies are available (Keblawi, 2005; Trang & Baldauf, 2007). Using Vietnamese students as participants, Trang and Baldaufs study suggested that student demotivation - the loss of motivation due to particular circumstances - is a major problem in EFL learning (2007, p. 102). Overall, their study suggested that changes in teaching and curriculum practices may be able to help students increase their chance of success in EFL learning. Keblawi (2005), investigating demotivation among Arab learners of English in Israel, showed that as with the other few studies in the field, factors in the immediate learning context like the teacher, the learning group and textbooks could demotivate learners if they are perceived negatively.

As for the Japanese context, Arai (2004) who surveyed 33 high proficiency university English majors, found that the demotivating reasons for them include teachers' attitudes toward students, teachers' personalities, teaching methods, and the teacher's language proficiency as well as simple and boring lessons with uninteresting teaching materials. In Tsuchiya's study (2004), she found six demotivating factors: a sense of English uselessness, a sense of incompetence, little admiration, an inconsistent way of studying, a sense of discouragement, and a lack of acceptance.

Collecting anonymous responses of 164 Japanese college students, Falout and Maruyama (2004) found measurable differences in learner motivation between low-proficiency and high-proficiency students. The factors negatively affecting low-proficient students were self-confidence, attitudes toward L2 itself, courses, and teachers, but both sets attributed their motivation to disappointment in performance, course contents and pace, and the teacher (Falout & Maruyama, 2004). Overall, they found that the lower-proficient students more often internalize negative experiences in secondary school English classes. However, lower-proficient students gave the highest positive mark for 'attitude toward L2 community'.

Unlike the previous studies on demotivation among college students in Japan, Hamada and Kito (2007) conducted a survey to determine the primary demotivating factors for Japanese senior high school students. The questionnaire results show somewhat similar reasons with the previous studies such as learning environment and

facilities, teacher's competence and teaching style, little intrinsic motivation, non-communicative methods, and textbooks and lessons. Some students they interviewed revealed that they had not been interested in studying English from the beginning of junior high school. They then pointed out to the need to distinguish between de-motivated learners, a-motivated learners, and learners with no motivation.

3.2. Teacher demotivational factors

Demotivational factors for teachers remain an understudied area in SLA research. Wangchuk introduced a study by Dorji, a lecturer of the College of Education in Buhtan. In this study, it was reported that a majority of 51 schoolteachers in the study had low morale and motivation due to additional responsibilities such as two hours of drawing up lesson plans every day besides the normal teaching load, the monetary incentive, and a lack of training opportunities (Wangchuk, 2007). According to the article by Wangchuck (2007), Dorji said that the study still holds weight even though less than one percent of about 6,000 teachers had participated in the study.

Bennell (2004) conducted another study that focuses on teacher motivation and incentives in low-income developing countries. He investigated the material and psychological need of teachers in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, including job satisfaction, pay and benefits, recruitment and deployment, attrition, and absenteeism. In recent years, it is widely acknowledged that the status of teachers has declined appreciably both in developed and developing countries (Bennell, 2004). He noted that in many low-income countries, high proportions of teachers working in public school systems are poorly motivated due to a combination of low morale and job satisfaction, poor incentives, and inadequate controls and other behavioral sanctions. In consequence, Bennell concluded that standards of professional conduct and performance are low and failing in many of these countries.

In a study by Kiziltepe (2008), conducted with three hundred teachers aged between 33 and 65, it was stated that demotivating factors can be categorized into five headings: students, economics, structural and physical characteristics, research, and working conditions. Overall, the results showed that students are the main source of motivation and demotivation for university teachers in Turkey.

Finally, in the pilot study, Sugino (2010) investigated 16 language teachers, nine of whom are native speakers of English (six males, three females). Of the nine, all of them except one were hired on a part-time basis. Seven participants were Japanese teachers of foreign languages (five English, two non-English). This open-ended survey identified five factors that may demotivate the teachers: students' attitudes, teaching material, teaching method, working conditions including facilities, and human relationships. The results showed that students' attitudes such as sleeping in class and forgetting homework were the most crucial factors for demotivating teachers. Specifically, sleeping is school, which students do quite often after hard training, does not mean that these attitudes were tolerated even at the cadet school. The results also showed that culturally specific factors such as a lack of student participation and students' speaking to one another in Japanese are factors that cause frustration in native speaker teachers.

4. Survey on demotivational factors

4.1 Research question

The main research questions addressed in this study are: what factors in a questionnaire are salient for teacher demotivation among language teachers in Japanese universities? Which cultural and school specific factors cause demotivation in teachers?

4.2. Method

4.2.2. Participants

97 participants completed this survey. 52 (53.6%) of the participants teach at the Defense Academy of Japan, and the 45 (46.4%) teach at other private and national universities in Japan. 46 (47.4%) of the respondents were male, and 51 (52.6%) were female. Two respondents were in their 20s (2.1%), 25 (25.8%) were in their 30s, 38 (39.2%) were in their 40s, and 32 (33%) were in their 50s or above. The most common retired age in Japan for college teachers is 65. Most of the participants (72, 77.5%) use Japanese as their first language, 21 (19.1%) use English, one French, one Vietnamese, one Portuguese, and one Korean. As for L2, 34 (35.1%) respondents answered 'English', 7

(7.2%) 'Japanese', 4 (4.1%) 'French, and seven others answered in languages such as Hindi, Spanish, Hungarian, Gaelic, and Malay.

English is required at most of Japanese universities for at least freshmen or sophomores, and second foreign languages (i.e. French, German, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian) are either required courses or electives depending on the type of college. An increasing number of teachers teach Japanese to international students in Japan because of the recent surge of foreign workers and the Japanese government policy to promote exchange programs. Fifty-eight of them teach English, 38 of whom are Japanese teachers of English. Eighteen of them teach Japanese to international students in Japan, and others teach second foreign languages (French, German, and Korean) or subjects such as cultural studies in Japanese.

As for the years of teaching, 12 (12.5%) have taught 1-5 years, 25 (25.8%) 6-10 years, and 60 (61.9%) have taught for more than 10 years. As for the type of hiring, 28 (28.9%) were hired on a part-time basis, 55 (56.7%) were hired on a full-time basis (tenured), and 14 (12.4%) have a part-time teaching job while hired as a full-time faculty. 20 out of 28 part-time teachers were female teachers. Similarly 24 out of 55 full-time teachers were female.

4.2.3. Materials

A questionnaire was developed which used a five-point Likert scale format adopted from the Teacher Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (TJSQ) by Hughes (2006). Items concerning student attitudes in class were derived from the comments given by the 16 respondents in open-ended questions in the previous pilot study (Sugino, 2010). Their comments included, 'Students sleep in class,' 'Students don't prepare for the class including doing homework,' 'Students are not trying,' and 'Students seems to think that they can get away with things easily with a female teacher.' Then, I added 'Talking to each other in class,' 'Using cell-phones,' 'Giving negative comments,' based on articles in the newspaper.

In the pilot study, several teachers complained especially about the facilities such as 'Dirty classrooms including filthy blinds,' and 'Classrooms are not adequate for language teaching.' Also, part-time teachers expressed concern about their unstable employment conditions, lacking research funds and time: 'Part-time teachers are not provided with research money or teaching material' and 'Some universities suddenly change class loads for part-time teachers. Since it directly affects my income, it is a source of my frustration and demotivation.' After talking with four colleagues, I added 'Teaching material is NOT fixed,' 'Low teacher evaluation from students,' 'Long meeting hours,' and 'Emphasis on TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)'. As a culturally specific item, I added 'Colleagues do not give straight opinions'). At the end, I asked the participants to write other factors that might demotivate them and/or comments.

Cronbach's alpha based on standardized items calculated for the 37items obtained a reliability of .931.

4.2.4. Procedure and statistical analysis

Initially, the survey was written in English. Then, it was translated it into Japanese for non-English teachers (see Appendix for an English version of the survey). Since the Japanese school year begins in early April, when the survey was ready for distribution it in early March, most of the universities were in recess and many teachers were no longer reachable. Therefore, the researcher had to rely on e-mail access and the grapevine of colleagues. All of those approached by e-mail filled out the questionnaire except three. Some were also willing to pass the questionnaire to their colleagues. Originally the researcher was planning to include more than 100 participants in the study, however, because of the reasons mentioned above, the number of participants were 97 in total.

All Likert scales were scored from 5 (strongly demotivate) to 1 (least motivate). I put 0 for each item that the participants skipped. After all the data was coded in the spreadsheet, data were tabulated and entered into SPSS 15 for Windows. Descriptive statistics for all questions were generated and reported. The alpha level for all statistical decisions was set at 0.001.

At the bottom of the questionnaire, the participants were asked to write about other factors that may demotivate them, or their comments. About one fourth of the participants responded but because of limited space, only salient and/or insightful responses are reported.

5. Results and discussion

The survey revealed that in the first factor related to student attitudes, the items 'when students use cell-phones,' 'When students sleep in class,' 'When the students are not interested in studying,' and 'When students take a rebellious attitude,' demotivate the teachers the most. Table 1 shows the mean differences of the students' behaviors in the descending order.

Table 1: Students' Attitudes for Teacher Demotivation

Students' Attitudes Sum M SD Range

Use cell-phones in class 373.00 3.85 1.40 5.00

Sleep 367.00 3.78 1.18 4.00

Take a rebellious attitude 351.00 3.61 1.37 5.00

Do not verbally respond 343.00 3.54 1.22 5.00

Are not interested in studying 333.00 3.43 1.07 4.00

Forget to do homework 321.00 3.30 1.14 4.00

Forget to bring textbooks/dictionaries 319.00 3.29 1.19 4.00

Give negative comments 317.00 3.27 1.20 4.00

Talk to each other 309.00 3.19 1.30 5.00

Are not interested in foreign languages 306.00 3.15 1.22 5.00

Do not do group work 304.00 3.13 1.07 5.00

Show different attitudes toward female teachers 218.00 2.25 1.67 5.00

As for the last item 'showing different attitudes toward female teachers', the number of the respondents is the smallest because this item did not apply to male teachers. This item was put in the questionnaire because in the pilot study (Sugino, 2010), one female teacher mentioned that 'Students seem to think that they can get away with things easily with a female teacher'. However, checking 51 female respondents only for this item, 5 out of 51 female teachers answered that 'Showing different attitudes toward female teachers,' would demotivate them, 15 female teachers answered pretty much demotivating, and 31 answered neutral or does not demotivate them. One female teacher commented, "as for this item, I am used to this, and it is not something that demotivates me, although this does not mean that I tolerate such offences."

Because our school is the only cadet school in Japan, the same female teacher in the previous study expressed the school specific demotivating factor, 'Their attitudes change greatly toward someone in higher (military) rank.' 'Sleeping in classes' could be identified as a school specific item, too, because with the tight schedule of university work and military training, our students at the academy often fall asleep in class. The result of One-way ANOVA showed that the mean number of teacher demotivation for the teachers at the Academy was 4.06 (SD =.89) while for those who teach at other universities, the mean was 3.47 (SD = 1.39).

Table 2 shows the results of the items related to students' abilities and school facilities. The mean numbers were the largest for 'No consistency in curriculum with clear goals,' and 'Low teacher evaluation from students.'

One native-speaker teacher of English commented that she is strongly in favor of finding a good textbook and keeping it for several years instead of changing it out every year, which would benefit the students and make the teacher's life easier because teachers could accumulate excellent and creative teaching material over several years. Another native speaker of English mentioned that sometimes she chooses to change her teaching materials to hold her interest with new material.

Table 2: Class Facilities, Teaching Materials, and Curriculum for Teacher Demotivation

Class Facilities, Teaching Materials Sum M SD Range n=97

No consistency in curriculum with clear goals 319.00 3.29 1.26 5.00

Low teacher evaluation from students 310.00 3.12 1.19 4.00

Problems with audio visual equipment 303.00 3.12 1.40 5.00

Teaching method is fixed 294.00 3.03 1.42 5.00

Classroom facilities are poor 294.00 3.03 1.17 5.00

Large classroom size 290.00 2.99 1.28 5.00

Discrepancy between teacher's expectations 288.00 2.97 1.28 5.00

and students'

Changing teaching material often 269.00 2.77 1.20 5.00

Emphasis on TOEIC & TOEFL 264.00 2.72 1.46 5.00

Abilities differ greatly in one class 256.00 2.62 1.14 5.00

Teaching material is fixed 248.00 2.56 1.27 5.00

Teaching material is NOT fixed 191.00 1.97 1.18 5.00

Another participant made a comment on the curriculum. She mentioned, "My biggest frustration has been with ill-equipped curriculum. I had a writing curriculum which I felt was horrible! I supplemented the program with a lot of material from a former curriculum, and presented the new one to the department and it was approved. A male native-speaker teacher added, 'In general, I like to teach in an organized environment, therefore set curriculum with clear goals which are understood by both teacher and student are important. More structured curriculum would benefit both teachers and students.'

One Japanese teacher of English commented that "I have noticed in the last several years that students in the classes I did not have enough time and energy to spend on love me (e.g., I received high teacher evaluation from the class), whereas classes I devote long hours and lot of energy hate me. The teacher evaluation for such classes can be extremely low and is often accompanied by negative comments which challenge my authority as a teacher, which demotivate me most!" Another Japanese teacher of English questioned the teacher evaluation by saying 'Sometimes it is used as a personal attack, which depresses me.'

Table 3: Working Conditions for Teacher Demotivation

Working Conditions Sum M SD Range n=97

Long meeting hours 350.00 3.61 1.45 5.00

Much paperwork 347.00 3.58 1.48 5.00

Lacking research time 332.00 3.42 1.43 5.00

Employment system is unstable 324.00 3.34 1.46 5.00

Low pay 316.00 3.26 1.36 5.00

Lacking research fund 302.00 3.11 1.41 5.00

Commuting problems 279.00 2.88 1.30 5.00

No bonus 279.00 2.88 1.40 5.00

As seen in Table 3, the results showed that long meeting hours and much paperwork would demotivate teachers. These two items were ranked fourth and fifth amongst all the 37 items. Investigating whether there is a significant difference between 28 part-time teachers and 69 full-time teachers, as for 'no bonus', the means were about the same (M=2.82). The biggest mean difference comes from 'much paper work', for part-time teachers (M=2.86) and full-time teachers (M=3.85). Lacking research time comes next, for part-time teachers (M=2.82) and for full-time teachers (M=3.83).

The results of human relationship showed that 'little appreciation from the administration' and 'negative comments by colleagues' would demotivate teachers more than lacking communications among colleagues.

Table 4: Human Relationships for Teacher Demotivation

Human Relationships Sum M SD Range n=97

Little appreciation from the administration 331.00 3.41 1.26 5.00

Negative comments by colleagues 318.00 3.28 1.50 5.00

Lacking communication between full-time 305.00 3.14 1.29 5.00

and part-time faculty

Lacking communication among the full time faculty 304.00 3.13 1.32 5.00

Colleagues do not give straight opinions 277.00 2.86 1.22 5.00

The overall results showed that the top seven items that would cause teacher demotivation were: 1. Students using cell-phones in classes, 2. Students sleeping in class, 3. Students taking rebellious attitudes, 4. Long meeting hours, 5. Much paperwork, 6. Emphasis on TOEIC & TOEFL, 7. Fixed teaching material. The items that would least demotivate teachers were: 1. Colleagues not giving straight opinions, 2. Changing teaching material often, 3. Emphasis on TOEIC & TOEFL, 4. Abilities differing greatly in one class, 5. Fixed teaching material, 6. Showing different attitudes toward female teachers, 7. Frequent change of teaching materials.

Since Japanese people do not often give straight opinions as part of a culture, the researcher wondered if 'Colleagues not giving straight opinion' would be mentioned as a demotivating factor; however data results revealed that this item was irrelevant to teaching as it was the lowest item in this factor, and the seventh lowest of all the 37 items.

5.1. Other factors for teacher demotivation

Finally, at the end of the questionnaire, I asked participating teachers to write the factors for demotivation. Teachers' statements can be seen below.

• I am a well-organized person, and get frustrated when the department as a whole doesn't look organized or professional.

• What demotivates me is to have one student, just one, who takes a rebellious attitude. I can tell that other students are worried about this student and no matter how hard I try, it spoils the whole class.

• When there is a gap between ideal and reality and things don't go as well as I have expected, I feel demotivated, though an encouraging colleague could help me solve my problem, and I'd feel 'Let's go for it,' again.

• Students with little enthusiasm, motivation, concentration, and energy. Mean colleagues, administrators unwilling to help, health conditions, family problems, and having to teach without enough preparation for classes.

• Because of the Internet, I spend more time working at home, but I don't get paid for that.

• In particular, the issue of lack of incentive at the Academy is a demotivating factor. There are no full time foreign staff and no prospects there, hence the high turnover of staff.

• In class, I may be feeling not really demotivated, but feeling angry or feeling like I-have-to-deal-with-this-trouble. I don't usually blame students for my demotivation but I blame myself.

• I did not feel any gender discrimination. But I could say that problems rest with some full-time male faculty. For example, when they need to reduce the number of classes, they start cutting classes of female (and middle-aged) part-time teachers first.

6. Conclusion with limitations and implications

The purpose of this study was to show what factors in a questionnaire are salient for teacher demotivation among language teachers in Japanese universities, and to demonstrate whether there are any culturally and school specific items that cause teacher demotivation. The present study which investigated teacher demotivation among 97 college teachers in Japan demonstrated that among 37 items, the top seven items include five items related to the factor of students' attitudes. Five out of the lowest seven items are related to teaching material and large difference in students' abilities, though 20 participants responded that 'No consistency in curriculum with clear goals' would also demotivate them . 'Sleeping in class' proved to be a rather school specific problem.

One interesting finding was about 'Showing different attitudes toward female teachers.' Five out of 51 female teachers said that this item would demotivate them. One female teacher said that she was so used to this and as a result she does not get demotivated. However, she added that this does not mean that she would tolerate such offences. While interpreting data results on this item, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that this is culturally bounded matter that is common among universities in Japan which are still male-oriented.

Like motivation, demotivation is a complex construct to define besides the fact that to date few studies have focused on demotivation. One teacher mentioned that the terminology became progressively more problematic as he moved on in this questionnaire. It would be nice, therefore, he implied, to provide a working definition in the questionnaire and an option for feedback for each item to make it more informative. One American teacher commented, 'I view demotivation as something that causes me to lose motivation'.

Some teachers commented about the questionnaire itself. In regard to changing teaching materials, one teacher mentioned that it was not clear whether this item meant that teaching materials should be changed by teacher or by administration. One teacher suggested that questionnaire items should be more detailed, for example, 'talk in class' can be motivating if they are talking in the target language, and 'forgetting to do homework' cannot be demotivating unless a student forgets it all the time. A part-time teacher felt the second part of the survey was redundant since the majority of the issues mentioned were irrelevant to the part-time foreign staff. One Japanese teacher corrected the expressions in the instructions part of the questionnaire to ensure less problematic use of the questionnaire in the future

Though this questionnaire is still under development and has limitations, we could see some factors of teacher demotivation including cultural and school specific items as mentioned above. One female teacher commented that the existence of this kind of questionnaire means that she is not the only one who becomes demovativated while teaching, and to know that makes her feel relieved though she is well aware that teaching, like any profession, has its challenges. Overall, we could say that further study on teacher demotivation would be beneficial to understand student and teacher motivation.


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Teacher Demotivation Questionnaire Directions: The following statements refer to factors that may influence the way a teacher feels about his/her job. These factors are related to teaching and to the individual's perception that may demotivate him/her. When answering statements, circle the numeral which represents the degree indicated as below.

Key: 5 4 3 2 1

Strongly Pretty much Neutral No so much Least

demotivate demotivate demotivate demotivate

Circle the background information

1. Gender (1. male 2. female)

2. Age (1.20s 2. 30s 3. 40s 4. 50s up)

3. Your first language_second language_

4. Language(s) you mainly teach_

5. Years of teaching (1. 1-5 yrs 2. 6-10 yrs 3. more than 10 years)

6. Type of hiring (1. part-time basis 2. full-time basis 3. both)

When in class, students

Talk to each other 5 4 3 2 1

Use cell-phones 5 4 3 2 1

Forget to do homework. 5 4 3 2 1

Forget to bring textbooks/dictionaries Sleep

Are not interested in studying Are not interested in foreign languages Take a rebellious attitude Give negative comments Do not do group work

Show different attitudes toward female teachers Do not verbally respond

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

Discrepancy between teacher's expectation and students' 5 4 3 2 1

Low teacher evaluation from students 5 4 3 2 1

Abilities differ greatly in one class 5 4 3 2 1

Large Class size 5 4 3 2 1

Classroom facilities are poor. 5 4 3 2 1

Problems with audio visual equipment 5 4 3 2 1

Teaching material is fixed. 5 4 3 2 1

Teaching material is NOT fixed. 5 4 3 2 1

Teaching method is fixed. 5 4 3 2 1

Changing teaching material often. 5 4 3 2 1

No consistency in curriculum with clear goals 5 4 3 2 1

Emphasis on TOEIC &TOEFL 5 4 3 2 1

Commuting problems Employment system is unstable Low pay No bonus.

Lacking research fund Lacking research time Long meeting hours Much paperwork

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

5 4 3 2

Lacking communication among the full time faculty

Lacking communication between full time and part time faculty

Negative comments by colleagues

Little appreciation from the administration

Colleagues do not give straight opinions

Other factors that may demotivate you, or other comments.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1