Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number3   September 2021                                            Pp.242-256

  Full Paper PDF


Students’ Motivation to Learn English as a Foreign Language in the Context of Saudi
Arabian Learners

Hind Aljuaid
Department of Foreign Languages, College of Arts
Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia


Received: 4/16/2021               Accepted:  8/30/2021             Published:  9/24/2021 

Motivation is the major contributor to the students’ learning English as a second language. However, varying reasons have been suggested by different researchers and theorists to explain the reasons and dimensions of this motivation. Therefore, the study aimed to evaluate the motivation to learn English as a foreign language (EFL) among 157 Saudi Arabian university students. The instrument used for the analysis was a modified version of the motivation scale developed by Wen (1997), which measures motivation based on six subscales: integrative, instrumental, effort, valence, expectation, and ability. In addition, students’ motivation was compared among students with different English language levels using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) on six motivation subscales. The results of the MANOVA revealed that there was no significant difference among students of different levels of English knowledge when each level was compared separately.  Nevertheless, when comparing a merged group of students with English level knowledge of 1st to 3rd with the group of 4th level, the motivation of the latter group was statistically significantly higher. Furthermore, the difference in mean values was significant for integrative, effort, valence, and ability subscales. Thus, the findings of this research depicted that instrumental and integrative motivations could be the main contributor to students’ motivation to learn English as a foreign language.
Keywords: English as a foreign language (EFL), instrumental motivation, integrative motivation, language learning, motivation, second language 

Cite as:  Aljuaid, H. (2021). Students’ Motivation to Learn English as a Foreign Language in the Context of Saudi Arabian Learners .  Arab World English Journal, 12 (3) 242-256.


Anjomshoa, L., & Sadighi, F. (2015). The importance of motivation in second language acquisition. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL), 3(2), 126-137.

Au, S. Y. (1988). A critical appraisal of Gardner’s social‐psychological theory of second‐language (L2) learning. Language learning, 38(1), 75-99.

Batubara, F., Derin, T., Putri, N. S., & Yudar, R. S. (2020). Five Factors Influencing the Students’ Motivation to Learn English as a Foreign Language: A Closer Look into Montessori Classroom Environment. REiLA: Journal of Research and Innovation in Language, 2(2), 76-84.

Belmechri, F., & Hummel, K. (1998). Orientations and motivation in the acquisition of English as a second language among high school students in Quebec City. Language learning, 48(2), 219-244.

Claro, J. (2016). Japanese first-year engineering students’ motivation to learn English. Studies of Human Science, 12, 67-105.

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language: Ernst Klett Sprachen.

Dörnyei, Z. (1990). Conceptualizing motivation in foreign‐language learning. Language learning, 40(1), 45-78.

Ferguson, C.F. (2009). An effect size primer: a guide for clinicians and researchers. Professional
  Psychology: Research and Practice 40(5): 532-538.

Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1959). Motivational variables in second-language acquisition. Canadian Journal of Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie, 13(4), 266.

Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. Uppersaddle River: NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Janati, M., & Marzban, A. (2014). The Relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ motivation and their English proficiency level. Journal of Studies in Learning and Teaching English, 2(6), 65-79.

Jin, M. (2014). A case study of non-English major college students’ motivation in English language learning. Open journal of modern linguistics, 4(02), 252.

Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2008). Age‐related differences in the motivation of learning English as a foreign language: Attitudes, selves, and motivated learning behavior. Language learning, 58(2), 327-355.

Lee, E.-H., & Oh, H. J. (2011). Relationship between motivation and proficiency improvement. Linguistic Research, 28(2), 405-430.

Nawaz, H., Amin, M., & Tatla, I. A. (2015). Factors Affecting Students’ Motivation Level to Learn English as a Second Language in the Pakistani University Context. Journal of Research & Reflections in Education (JRRE), 9(2).

Ngo, H., Spooner-Lane, R., & Mergler, A. (2017). A comparison of motivation to learn English between English major and non-English major students in a Vietnamese university. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 11(2), 188-202.

Oller Jr, J. W. (1981). Can affect be measured? International Review of Applied Linguistics, 19(3), 227-235.

Pham, C. (2016). Identifying socio-cultural influences on high school students’ motivation to learn English in rural areas in Vietnam. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 22(1), 5-20.

Rahman, H. A., Rajab, A., Wahab, S. R. A., Nor, F. M., Zakaria, W. Z. W., & Badli, M. A. (2017). Factors affecting motivation in language learning. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 7(7), 543-547.

Shaaban, K. A., & Ghaith, G. (2000). Student motivation to learn English as a foreign language. Foreign language annals, 33(6), 632-644.

Suryasa, W., Prayoga, I., & Werdistira, I. (2017). An analysis of students’ motivation toward English learning as a second language among students in Pritchard English academy (PEACE). International journal of social sciences and humanities, 1(2), 43-50.

Vibulphol, J. (2016). Students’ Motivation and Learning and Teachers’ Motivational Strategies in English Classrooms in Thailand. English Language Teaching, 9(4), 64-75.

Vijchulata, B., & Lee, G. S. (1985). A survey of students’ motivation for learning English. RELC Journal, 16(1), 68-81.

Wen, X. (1997). Motivation and language learning with students of Chinese 1. Foreign language annals, 30(2), 235-251.



Received: 4/16/2021
Accepted:  8/30/2021 
Published: 9/24/2021 

Dr. Hind Aljuaid is currently an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics in the Foreign Languages Department at Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Aljuaid has obtained her PhD from Griffith University, Australia in 2015, an MA in Applied linguistics from Griffith University, Australia in 2010. Dr. Aljuaid research interests include language learning strategies, the studies of English language learners, and English language learning and teaching in an EFL context. ORCID: