Motivation among young EFL learners: Comparing pair and individual work with a dictogloss

Eighth International Conference on Task-Based Language Teaching (August 19-21, 2019) TBLT: Insight, Instruction, Outcomes
Carleton University, Ottawa (Canada)

Motivation has been shown to be a crucial variable for successful L2 acquisition (Doiz, Lasagabaster & Sierra, 2014; Dörnyei, 2009). Research has shown that L2 learners may display different attitudes towards distinct tasks, which in turn might affect their active engagement (Dörnyei & Kormos, 2000). However, research on motivation from a task-based perspective and with young learners (YLs) is scarce (Muñoz, 2017), more so with tasks that require a written component (such as dictogloss), which have been claimed to provide more opportunities for L2 development than oral tasks (García Mayo & Azkarai, 2016), and with tasks carried out collaboratively, which have been shown to provide more opportunities for L2 learning than individual work (Storch, 2013).This study explores the motivation of a group of 64 Spanish EFL learners (age: 11-12), (motivation understood as “the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language” plus positive attitude towards such action (Gardner, 1985: 10)). They carried out the same dictogloss (Wajnryb, 1990) individually (week 1 and 3-twice) and in pairs (week 2-once), and completed a motivation questionnaire (MQ) – based on Doiz et al. (2014)- twice, before the first performance and after the last one. The MQ consisted of 32 items (Likert-scale) regarding pupils’ motivation and attitudes towards learning English, the dictogloss and theirpreferences for individual vs. pair-work, among others. The main findings showed that their motivation to learn English while engaged in the dictogloss increased significantly from the first time they completed the MQ to the second time while their anxiety levels lowered. Moreover, the children preferred to work collaboratively, although they claimed working individually provided them with more opportunities to learn English. These findings will be further discussed in light of the impact of task-based collaborative work on EFL YLs’  motivation.Brief Summary:This study explores the motivation of EFL young learners when working on a dictogloss task individually and in pairs, by means of a motivation questionnaire including 32 items regarding motivation towards English, dictogloss, and individual/ pairwork, among others. These students’ motivation increased, and they prefered pairwork over individual work.