Despite huge investments in national English language policies, few South Koreans develop communicable English proficiency. Yet, English language proficiency for all secondary and college students continues to be the goal of these policies (Moodie & Nam, 2015; Ahn, 2015). One of the fundamental reasons for the lack of communicable English proficiency was based on the social phenomenon, called 'hakbuljueui', or academic elitism, in Korea (Kim. T.-Y., 2006) whereby students seem to be instrumentally motivated to learn English only to pass the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), and gain admission to elite Universities (Kim, T.-Y., 2006; Kim, K., 2016). The current study examines whether current South Korean high school are still motivated only by instrumental motivation (the desire to gain entrance into an elite university) or if other motivation also guides their goals of learning English. In addition, the current study sought to understand the relationship between participant's motivation and their English proficiency. The current study examines whether current South Korean high school are still motivated only by instrumental motivation (the desire to gain entrance into an elite university) or if other motivation also guides their goals of learning English. To accomplish these goals, 42 current high school students in South Korea were asked to complete a motivation survey and rate their ability to speak, read, write, and understand English. Motivation was defined and divided into six orientations: instrumental, knowledge, travel, friendship, sociocultural, and integrative. In addition, 27 of the 42 students also participated in simulated Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPIs). The data revealed that while previous research demonstrated that Korean students show the evidence of instrumental motivation to learn English, the participants in the current study were motivated by both instrumental and other types of motivation. However, their motivation orientation did not predict their self-rated proficiency levels nor their scores on the OPI. The results suggest that students' motivation is expending, and the implication of this study suggests bottom-up policy development that can magnify the various motivations to study English among South Korean students.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jung, Euiyong, "An Examination of Motivation Types and Their Influence on English Proficiency for Current High School Students in South Korean" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8767.
motivation, language policy, communicative proficiency, Korea