The Role of Student Motivation in Teaching Arabic as a Second Language

Essay, 2019

21 Pages, Grade: A



Research Questions

Literature Review
Historical research on motivation
The definitions of motivation in the context of teaching second languages
The Role of Teachers in Motivation
The Key Factors of Motivation

Data Collection
Data Analysis

Directions for Future Research



Motivation plays a central role in second language learning and mastery. For several decades, many researchers have studied the concept of second language learning. In the quest for knowledge, researchers have studied several factors that help teach the second language. Previous research has repeatedly pointed out the need to motivate students in their pursuit of knowledge in L2. Alizadeh (2016) notes that students' level of motivation determines how they can read and understand second languages. Motivation depends on various sources, notably static and dynamic forms. Dynamic causes are directly related to the learning environment of the learner. In the classical static motivation, learners draw their inspiration from their local communities' prior experiences. Dmour (2015) conclusively suggests that entirety motivation is a variable that keeps on change with time. Previously, limited research on the mastery of Arabic as a second language was carried out. The value of this research is to help determine the importance of motivation in understanding Arabic as a second language in Dubai.

The aspect of learning is not complete without the involvement of instructors. Teachers can recognize students who have an intrinsic interest in studying the Arabic language for self-satisfaction. Other than nothing fluency in speech, teachers can also determine the proficiency of learners. Motivation further determines the pace at which a learner understands Arabic as a second language. The primary stimulus to second language learning is the driving force behind the difficult task of acquiring a second language. Typically, the art of learning a second language is unique, considering the multidimensional and complexity that surround it. The uniqueness of these phenomena equally covers an essential aspect of personal and social reality. Language is defined as the complex component of an individual's identity, communication system, and even a channel of organization. The process involving motivation in teaching Arabic as a second language should be approached to consider these crucial aspects of communication. Learners should also sustain their efforts to understand L2 (second language). This paper intends to evaluate motivation, what drives motivation, and teachers' role in this form of understanding.


The Arabic language is a massive component of cultural attachment for non-Arab students in the United Arab Emirates. The study of Arabic is not only crucial for liturgical but also for personal reasons. Students who study Arabic for communication purposes only limit their scope of use. On the other hand, students who pursue Arabic to connect with their ancestry, understand Islam's religion, and achieve personal satisfaction tend to explore much more. Teachers are involved in the learning and mastery of the Arabic language through methods of teaching and motivational quotes during class. This study evaluates which teaching methods are appropriate, which factors affect students' motivation, and the role of motivation in the teaching and understanding of Arabic.

Research Questions

1. What is the role of motivation in the part of students during the teaching of Arabic as a second language?
2. What roles do teachers play in the motivation of students to learn Arabic as L2?
3. What is the impact of various teaching methods on students' motivation while teaching the Arabic language as a second language?

Literature Review

Motivation is a frequent word in various educational and work environments. Quan (2014) notes that motivation is the second-best method of predicting success other than aptitude. The effort to which learners weigh in order to understand a new foreign language broadly defines motivation. The success of learners in speaking fluent Arabic is coupled with the fact that motivation is hugely involved. In the most recent research, there have been suggestions that the willpower to achieve a specific goal can also be described as orientation. Suryasa, Prayoga, & Werdistira (2017), in their descriptive research, define posit that predicting motivation by orientation is nearly 40%. Further, learning student orientations also contribute heavily to motivation, and by extension, a measure of success. Motivation is also based on the attitudinal variables towards speakers, the community's cultural aspects, and people's interaction.

Historical research on motivation

Gardner and Lambert are recognized to have developed the first concepts of motivation in learning second languages. It is worth noted that Gardner and Lambert developed the original Mowrer's theory to give rise to modern understanding. Mowrer, in his approach, suggested that the "importance of identification with a valued person." Gardner and Lambert indicated that people who believe in Mowrer's theory are likely to develop insights into the speakers of the second language, develop an understanding of their culture, and speak their language. The pattern of motivation is, therefore, an essential aspect of motivation, named an integrative orientation. Orientation is, therefore, an essential component of learning a second language. Alizadeh (2016) notes that this level of motivation presents several advantages, especially for students seeking to learn a new language. The developments of these theories give rise to cognitive and affective factors. Further, Quan (2014) notes that affective factors relate to the learner's attitude to gain knowledge formally or informally. Many researchers have brought forward several arguments and models to define and understand the role of motivation in teaching second languages.

The definitions of motivation in the context of teaching second languages

Gardner and Lambert's influential status as a result of their contributions to this field of study has heavily influenced continuing research. Sylvén (2017) notes that instrumental motivation is a desire to achieve a particular goal as the first definition. For example, a learner who wishes to contest for a position whose core requirements include a proper understanding of the Arabic language has a different motivation force. Other notable examples of learners within the instrumental motivation concept include reaching educational milestones, passing an examination, or gaining entry into countries where fluency in the Arabic language is mandatory.

On the other hand, integrative motivation has a different meaning in the context of teaching students the Arabic language as a second language. Patel, Harun, & Hasni (2018) notes that the desire to identify with the culture and people if a language prompts student to understand a second language. In his publication, Quan (2014) differs from the concepts of Gardner and Limber, arguing that integrative motivation is a broad concept, opting instead to suffice another concept of motivation. Graham developed the assimilative and integrative approach concurrently to help understand the motivation. In this definition, integrative motivation defines the learner's desire to master a second language with a primary desire to communicate and ease interactions with natives.

On the other hand, Graham explains the assimilative approach to become an indispensable drive to identify with the second language's culture. The assimilative motivation is most likely to become instrumental when a learner begins to master the second language at a younger age, a more natural approach. Therefore, students can learn the new language without being immersed in the second language in its entirety.

In a similar publication, Edward Deci develops a new approach to motivation in the teaching of the second language. Deci introduced intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which offers a new theoretical lens of studying motivation. In his viewpoint, Deci describes intrinsically motivated actions as those without a visible award. People tend to be engaged in the activity because of their own sake, fulfill inner desires, and not because there is an impending benefit. Further, intrinsically motivated actions satisfy self-desires, such as determination and a personal sense of competence. For example, students who learn Arabic as a second language within the United States may be fulfilling their desire to become bilingual.

The extrinsic motivation concept refers to the exact opposite of the intrinsic viewpoint. It is promising and laced with expectations for an outside sign of achievement. The possible rewards from this category of motivation include cash prizes, educational certificates or accolades, and even positive feedback from peers. Other unique examples within this definition include evading punishment as a form of motivation. Actions that are taken to avoid being punished have been contested hotly in the last as intrinsic motivation. The definitions mentioned above reflect the theoretical concept of motivation in teaching Arabic as a second language.

Gardner and Lambert describe the value of understanding a new language in explaining their orientations. The instrumental viewpoint, for instance, reflects the advantage and practical benefits of this kind of motivation. On the other hand, the integrative theoretical lens offers a sincere interest in the personal desire of an individual to understand a people and their language. Gardner and Lambert's approach's bottom line is that an integrative approach to orientation is necessary, especially for learners to learn a second language for long-term needs. Similarly, Alizadeh (2016) notes that integrative motivation is likely to accompany higher scores in tasks to determine proficiency in the second language. Therefore, the integrative wing of motivation is very instrumental in developing an in-depth understanding of a second language. Teachers and researchers have also adopted this form of motivation, described as a motivating approach to learning.

In contrast, Quan (2014) differs from this concept opting instead of a practical motivation approach in his qualitative study, among Marathi-speaking Indians, learning English fluently. In their study in the Philippines, Gardner and Lambert note that an instrumental argument is exceptionally vital in learning a foreign or second language. In Gardner's concept, the aspect of attitude is demonstrated by Anglo Canadians who have a positive attitude towards French-speaking people. Therefore, the integrative motivation approaches appear to apply to a hypothetical view in predicting the success of a second language.

In this theoretical lens of motivation, culture plays a critical role in this development—the local conditions and beliefs of an individual play a central role in adapting to a new language. Patel et al. (2018), in their study of North West Amazon couples, determines the motivation of partners to understand each other's ethnic language. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the motivation to learn a second language is instrumental or integrative. In this argument, partners from countries where English is not exclusively spoken, English is only acquired for instrumental purposes.

Interestingly from these findings, Gardner and Lambert tend to have a mixed mindset that learning languages can be both integrative and instrumental. The rising confusion in this argument makes determining a suitable model of motivation quite hectic. The variation in these findings points towards a complex argument. Research has also shown that there could be various forms of motivation for learning a foreign or second language. In some cases, learners have shown ease in the integrative approach while others have differed in opinions, opting for the instrumental approaches.


Excerpt out of 21 pages


The Role of Student Motivation in Teaching Arabic as a Second Language
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
role, student, motivation, teaching, arabic, second, language
Quote paper
Mohamed Moghazy (Author), 2019, The Role of Student Motivation in Teaching Arabic as a Second Language, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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