Students of Different Subjects Have Different Levels of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation to Learn English: Two Different Groups of EFL Students in Japan

  •  Kieran Green    
  •  Junichi Fujita    


Here is documented an investigation to assess the motivational drivers of a group of Japanese, first-year, dental-university students taking part in compulsory EFL classes and to compare those motivational drivers with an investigation into the motivational drivers of a group of Japanese IT students. There was a clear difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivational drivers between the two groups. It was discovered that dental students valued English much less for work related reasons (intrinsic) and more for personal reasons (extrinsic), and that overall they had a more favourable attitude to their EFL studies. It was demonstrated that for this group of dental students the importance of English for dentists at work and in research needs to be emphasized in lessons and that students have a favourable attitude to using English and would be happy to have more communication-based exercises in class. This work is the first documented evidence of students of different subjects having different motivations. It is important to the wider teaching community as there are few comparisons of motivation in the literature, and the investigation presented here clearly demonstrates that what motivates one group of students does not necessarily motivate another group, and quite probably, the fingerprint of motivational drivers is quite different for students of different subjects.

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