Motivating young language learners: A longitudinal model of self-determined motivation in elementary school foreign language classes

William L. Q. Oga Baldwin, Yoshiyuki Nakata, Philip Parker, Richard M. Ryan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    38 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Promoting intrinsic motivation is often a central concern in teaching foreign languages to elementary school children. Self-determination theory posits that intrinsic motivation develops through the interaction of the person and the environment. The present study investigated how elementary school students’ motivation develops over the course of a school year in Japanese public schools. Five-hundred and fifteen Japanese elementary school children were surveyed over the course of one school year. Self-reported motivation, perceptions of teacher support, need satisfaction, and engagement were measured at different times. External raters observed students’ engagement, while classroom teachers assessed the quality of students’ motivation and learning. Structural equation modeling results indicated a positive, dynamic relationship between motivation, perceptions of the learning environment, and engagement. External raters’ assessments showed significant positive correlations with students’ self-reported engagement. Findings indicate how the instruction offered in these Japanese elementary schools supported students’ foreign language learning motivation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)140-150
    Number of pages11
    JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
    Volume49
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 1

    Keywords

    • Elementary school
    • Engagement
    • Japan
    • Longitudinal model
    • Motivational development
    • SDT

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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