e students who have higher motivation are more successful and efficient in their learning (e. g., Ely, 1986). It is obvious that motivation and demotivation as well as speaking are very important matters in the process of language learning. In this way, language teachers can become aware of factors which may encourage language learners to speak and also factors which may impede their speaking progress.
Considering the picture presented above of the current conditions in language education system in Iranian schools, it is necessary to conduct a study which helps to progress the speaking skill. Furthermore, many theories have been proposed that explain why students want to learn or what motivates them. Nevertheless, few studies focus on why students are not motivated to learn a second language.
Despite the importance of demotivating factors and severity of the problem of speaking instruction, few insightful profound studies have been carried out on this issue in the context of Iran. Hence, this study makes a deliberate effort to partly fill the existing gap.
۱.۳. Significance of the Study
Speaking is a valuable skill to enhance language learning, since it provides highly motivational activities for students, and also increases opportunities for students’ interaction with each other and their teachers. Speaking a language involves more than knowing the linguistic components of the message. In comparison with other language skills, speaking plays a vital role in learning to use language in order to communicate and it is the most basic means of global human communication. Indeed, motivation plays a significant role in improving speaking skill. In contrast, demotivating factors may negatively affect language learners and their ability to speak. Also, the effect of demotivation on the acquisition and learning of foreign language has rarely been discussed in Iran.
Considering these, it is vitally needed to do a study on the Iranian high school students since one section of their textbook materials has been written to improve students’ speaking skill and knowledge of language functions. Moreover, school is a formal educational system and a large number of students enroll in schools every year. It seems that high school students in Bandar Abbas are weak in speaking English. Furthermore, they seem to have more or less lost their motivation to speak English. Hence, this study tries to investigate the demotivating factors influencing the speaking skill in an Iranian high school.
The results of this study will raise teachers’ awareness of other teachers’ and learners’ opinions about factors decreasing high school students’ motivation to practice speaking. Therefore, they can choose proper methods and strategies for teaching EFL to increase students’ motivation to learn English, in general, and improve their speaking skill, in particular. Moreover, the findings of the current study can help students to improve their speaking skill by recognizing the demotivating factors influencing the practice of speaking. Also the findings can be utilized by educational planners to design more useful curriculum programs by identifying these factors. Similarly, it can help school managers to create more favorable school environment to increase the students’ motivation for language learning and speaking practice.
Last but not least, the importance of such a study will become more noticeable in light of the fact that very little or no research has dealt with the influence of demotivating factors on the speaking ability of language learners in Iran. The few examples are HeidariSoureshjani and Riahipour (2012).
۱.۴. Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to shed light on a variety of demotivating factors influencing speaking skill. This study has three areas of focus .The first one is concerned with finding out which factors lead to Iranian high school students’ demotivation for L2 speaking practice and progress as perceived by students .The second one is concerned with finding out factors leading to Iranian high school students’ demotivation for L2 speaking practice and progress as perceived by teachers. The third area of focus is concerned with finding out similarities and differences between students’ and teachers’ perceptions in this regard.
۱.۵. Research Questions
This study seeks to answer these questions:
What factors lead to Iranian high school students’ demotivation for L2 speaking practice and progress as perceived by students?
What factors lead to Iranian high school students’ demotivation for L2 speaking practice and progress as perceived by teachers?
What are the similarities and differences between students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the factors which lead to Iranian high school students’ demotivation for L2 speaking practice and progress?
This study is exploratory; most of which is qualitative and even the quantitative part is also exploratory. Since in an exploratory study the researcher is interested in creating rather than testing hypotheses, it is impossible to have hypothesis.
۱.۶. Definitions of key terms
Demotivation: According to Dornye (2001, p. 143), demotivation is the flip side of motivation. As Dornye (2001, p. 143) claimed a demotivated learner is someone who has initially motivation to fulfill a goal to engage in an activity and has lost the motivation to do so. Demotivating factors include the factors which may negatively influence on language learning and speaking skill.
Speaking: speaking is an oral language skill. It is a basic means for global communication. Some speaking sub skills include: intonation, stress, word-linking and weak forms, syntactic and morphological.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
Motivation is an important factor in learning a second/foreign language (Gardner, 1985b, Scarcella& Oxford, 1992). Research shows motivation has a positive effect on language learning. However, there is another side to motivation that probably every learner has encountered at some point: temporary loss of motivation. In contrast with factors that have a positive effect on motivation, there are also ones with a negative effect. These factors are called demotivating factors since they may negatively influence learner’s interest in language learning and development of the four skills, namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Since the present study is focused on speaking, in addition to a review of the theoretical background and research on motivation and demotivation, the skill of speaking and the impact of motivation and demotivation on its improvement will be presented in this chapter.
Several definitions and theories have been presented with regard to motivation so far. These theories try to explain human thought and behavior. There are unlimited reasons why one can be motivated towards an aim, which vary from one individual to another, and there are also different factors which can ruin or increase motivation. Therefore, it is unsurprising that developing a decisive definition of motivation has been problematic. This, in itself, is a daring task and so we should not expect a complete and full explanation of this complicated concept (Dörnyei, 1999, 2005; Maclntyre, 2002). Pennington (1995) believes that this problem is due to the fact that motivation cannot be directly observed and that the properties of each individual’s motivational behavior are different and vary under different circumstances.
Whilst acknowledging that scholars differ in what they believe constitutes motivation, Pintrich and Schunk (2002) say that, motivation, in its complexity, “has been conceptualized in varied ways including inner forces, enduring traits, behavioral responses to stimuli, and sets of beliefs and affects” (p. 5). This definit
ion presents us with a category of variables. An added difficulty is that diverse motives, at times, positively interact, whilst at other times they are in conflict. Moreover, in many studies, according to Schmidt, Boraie and Kassagby (1996), it is not clear whether successful learning is the result or the cause of motivation. Dodick (1996) believes that a more adequate explanation of motivation has yet to be discovered and, indeed, no single definition of motivation has been agreed upon at present (Pintrich&Schunk, 2002).
In 1985, Gardner defined motivation as a multi-faceted construct which combines effort, desire, and positive attitudes toward language learning if the goal of learning L2 is to be achieved. This definition of motivation generated several problems because its main concern was integrative orientation which implied a situation where the language learners were in contact with the target language community. Often this is not the case and learners have almost no contact with speakers of the target language (Dönyei, 1990; Ryan, 2005). Also, Gardner’s definition does not take into consideration the fact that motivational levels fluctuate over time. The idea of time was included in Crookes and Schmidt’s (1991) expanded definition of motivation. For them language learning motivation features both internal and external aspects. The internal aspects include an interest in the L2, relevance of learning the L2 to personal needs, expectancy of success or failure and rewards. The external aspects consist of the decision to engage in language learning, persistence over time, and maintaining the activity at high levels.
Dörnyei (1998) presents a more dynamic definition of motivation to learn, emphasis the fact that motivation needs to be supported over time. For Dörnyei, “L2 motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate the learning behavior and later the driving force to sustain the long and often tedious learning process; that is, all the other factors involved in L2 acquisition presuppose motivation to some extent” (Dörnyei, 1998, p. 1).
Both Chambers (2001) and Dörnyei (2001) emphasize the multifaceted nature of motivation. They see motivation as changing over time and being influenced by the surrounding context. They recognize various factors which affect human behavior and which are, therefore, related to motivation. Both authors drawn up Dörnyei and Ottö’s (1998) definition of motivation which takes all of these factors into consideration: “The dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritized, operationalized and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out” (p. 64).
According to Maclntyre (2002), any explanation of language learning motivation requires one to answer three questions:
(a) Why is the performance directed toward a specific goal?
(b) What establishes the amount of intensity or effort devoted to achieving the goal?
(c) Why do people who have the same learning situations differ in their motivational levels?
In respect of the last question, Maclntyre (2002) focuses on the fact that individual differences are of extreme importance when it comes to studying motivation, and he acknowledges several authors, such as Crookes, Schmidt,