|dc.description.abstract||Drawing from self-determination theory as the main theoretical framework, this study investigated the motivation of Vietnamese technical English majors in their English studies and the influences that impacted on their motivation. The topic germinated from the researcher’s personal experiences as an English major and EFL teacher in Vietnam, and from the scant research on Vietnamese EFL learners’ motivation in learning the English language.
The thesis addresses three research questions:
(1) Are Vietnamese technical English majors intrinsically motivated in their English studies?
(2) What other types of motivation do these research participants have in their English studies?
(3) What are the influences on Vietnamese technical English majors’ motivation to learn the English language?
The thesis data were collected from seven Vietnamese technical English majors, and eight of their teachers of English over the course of ten months. From the perspective of a qualitative case study approach, several data collection methods were utilized: semi-structured interviews, and students’ weekly diaries. Semi-structured interviews were conducted four times with students and once with their teachers. Students’ diary-writing activities were conducted over the course of a three-month semester. The thesis data were further enriched by extensive email exchanges with both students and their teachers. Using grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2008; Strauss & Corbin, 1998), the process of data analysis identified three main sources of influence on students’ motivation to learn the English language: Influence of the perceived values of English knowledge; influence related to the English educational environment; and influence of family and social networks.
The main arguments were centred around several points: (a) Vietnamese technical English majors were intrinsically motivated to learn the English language; (b) Most of the time, other types of motivation overrode the students’ intrinsic motivation; (c) Students’ motivation was influenced by inter-cultural contact with the target language and its communities, and specific Vietnamese cultural practices.
The study findings imply that simply applying a Western-designed theory of motivation to the Vietnamese context, without taking into account the social and cultural values practised in that context, would most likely lead to an inappropriate application, and even misinterpretation of, the motivation and learning approaches of Vietnamese students. The findings also suggest some pedagogical recommendations for the students’ teachers. For example, teachers should create opportunities in which students’ need for autonomy, competence and relatedness are met. Finally, the study also suggests directions for future research, for example research on the impact of cultural values on Vietnamese students’ motivation.||en_NZ