Chinese EFL Learners' Motivation and Anxiety in a Task Context and the Effects of Individual Difference on Task Performance

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dc.contributor.advisor East, M en Wang, Qiong en 2019-12-04T22:09:37Z en 2019 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract In the past three decades, there has been a surge of interest in Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) among applied linguists and teaching practitioners (e.g., Ellis, 2003, Skehan, 1996; Van den Brandon, 2006). Some studies have explored how the individual difference variables - motivation, anxiety, and working memory - took effect while second language (L2) learners were completing a task. However, few of them made attempts to distinguish learners' motivation related to tasks from the general motivation to learn English; similarly, little effort has been taken to examine whether anxiety regarding tasks is distinct from anxiety arising from learning a foreign language or the anxiety-proneness in one's personality. This study examined the nature of motivation and anxiety in a task context and to what extent motivation, anxiety, and working memory predicted L2 learners' task performance in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. This study was conducted in two stages. During the preliminary study, 37 participants in a Chinese university completed a video narration task. Two questionnaires - a task motivation questionnaire and a task anxiety questionnaire - were developed based on the interviews and stimulated recalls regarding participants' self-reported experiences. For the main study, 96 participants from the same university completed the same video narration task, and a series of questionnaires and working memory tests, including the L2 motivation questionnaire and the task motivation questionnaire. The answers to the questionnaires were subject to multiple exploratory factor analyses with the purpose of identifying the underlying facets of the measured construct. Structural equation modelling was subsequently utilised to map the relationship between task motivation and L2 motivation, and to configure the association between task anxiety, foreign language anxiety, and trait anxiety. The predictive power of the individual difference variables on learners' task performance was calculated through multiple regression analyses. Among the 96 participants, 35 completed a stimulated recall of their motivational or anxiety fluctuation during task completion. Patterns and triggers of the changing trajectories were identified. The results showed that the task motivation construct had three facets - positive attitudes toward the task, negative attitudes toward the task, and task as a diagnostic tool, and that it is a distinct construct from L2 motivation. The task anxiety construct also had three facets - language-related anxiety, anxiety reliefs, and setting-related anxiety, and showed distinctiveness from foreign language anxiety or trait anxiety. The results of structural equation modelling revealed that trait anxiety had a direct influence on foreign language anxiety and an indirect impact on task anxiety. As regards the predictability of the individual difference variables on task performance, 5.1% to 44% of the variance of task performance was accounted for. In other words, the individual difference variables investigated in this study had a restrictive influence on the quality of L2 learners' task performance. Noteworthy is that this study revealed more significant relationships between individual difference variables and task performance compared with previous studies (e.g., Kormos & Dörnyei, 2004; Kormos & Trebits, 2011; Révész, 2011; Robinson, 2007). The results of the study contribute to an understanding of motivation and anxiety within a task context, and the association between individual difference variables and task performance. Practical suggestions for pedagogy and future research were also identified. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265209313302091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Chinese EFL Learners' Motivation and Anxiety in a Task Context and the Effects of Individual Difference on Task Performance en
dc.type Thesis en Applied Linguistics en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 788622 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-12-05 en

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