On 10 April 2017 Marwan Al-Yafi, College of Applied Sciences at Salalah, Oman, spoke at the IMPROVING TEACHING QUALITY 1 held at ROTANA RESORT, SALALAH. The English Language Center at Salalah College of Technology, under the guidance of Mr. Saeed Al-Mashikhi, Head of the ELC and the Chairman of the Steering Committee, had organized a workshop at Salalah Rotana Resort entitled "Improving Teaching Quality1".
This was the first symposium organized by the ELC, and it aimed to continuously advance the teaching and learning process by addressing staff professional needs which are aligned with staff self -- appraisals. The primary goals of these symposiums and conferences are to provide educators, academic administrators, and academics with opportunities to share ideas, reflect on their day-to-day teaching practices and exchange knowledge and experiences in the field in a stimulating professional environment.
Marwan Al-Yafi spoke on his doctoral research concerning the role of motivation in student achievement in Dhofar over the prior 3 academic calendar years at college level.
How motivated are our students?
This research sought to move past the stereotypes and opinions of teachers and academics or administrators, i.e. those concerned already for decades about the role that student motivation plays in language acquisition or achievement in language classes and on exams. Is there really a strong relationship between student motivation and achievement? If so, which type of motivation has the most influence? Marwan Al-Yafi explained, "I sought to disprove the null hypothesis, i.e. that student motivation has no correlation to student achievement."
Method: Over a three-year period, a great percentage of Foundation-Program level students were surveyed at the start of each college year, i.e. every September-- first at Dhofar University and later at the College of Applied Sciences in Salalah. In both locations, 59% of the students in the target population were surveyed in order to find their levels of overall motivation towards the Foundation-Program level content, namely the content of English.
Fifteen questions were presented with student participants' replies to be considered by in the survey on a 7-point Likert Scale. The first 5 questions focused on students' general attitude towards the content of English and attitudes toward learning English in a classroom situation. Included in these types of questions were statements of this nature: (1) I really enjoy the English Language, & (2) My language class is challenging.
The second group of 5 questions or statements concerned instrumental motivations for learning. Examples included were (3) I will study in order to get high marks because I need it for my career.
Meanwhile, the last 5 statements or questions were concerned determining to what degree these students identified with the L2 culture (or English speaking culture). Questions included in this section focused on the students' interests in acquiring English for entertainment purposes and for overall lifestyle interests related to learning about others cultures (i.e. cultures other than the student's own Omani cultures).
SPSS data analysis was undertaken at the end of the year by adding results on students final exams in that term. These scores were then compared to the tallied results of key variables of motivation on the Likert Scales, which these same students had identified as their levels of interest earlier in the year. In the September surveys, 80% of the students claimed to have strong motivations for studying and doing well in English. The results for both the surveyed girls and boys were nearly identical. In fact, despite there being more female than male students taking part in the surveys in both colleges' foundations programs, there was no statistical evidence found that girls were more motivated overall than boys to learn or acquire English.
Concerning the effect of any intrinsic level of motivation upon achievement in the final SPSS runs of the data (referring to the second five questions on the survey), there was found to be statistically no intrinsic motivational relationship (Spearman's ratio) discovered between those students with high marks on exams or courses and their recorded level of motivation to acquire or to learn English at the beginning of the calendar year of the programs in foundations. In fact, many students who had recorded high levels of intrinsic motivation in September of the calendar year had later shown lower marks than many of their peers. In short, the null hypothesis stood.
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