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Bethany Deibler LIN 4200, C. Stuart May 4, 2010 Critical Summary Tremblay, P. & Gardner, P. (1995).

Expanding the motivation construct in language learning. The Modern Language Journal, 79 (iv), 505-519. The authors Tremblay and Gardner conducted a study on the motivation behind learning French for students in a Northern Ontario francophone secondary school. The students often used English in regular every-day interactions, but it was still considered a bilingual context as 76% of the students claimed French as their first language. Tremblay and Gardner begin by describing motivation and the different factors that are involved. They also describe the process and terms that are used later on to describe the motivation of the students. Before presenting the results, they show a proposed model for motivation. Goal Salience, Valence, Self-Efficacy, and Adaptive Attributions are the four parts of motivation that affect the final outcome or achievement of the students. Goal Salience is the theory that when students make goals, they will look forward and anticipate meeting their goals. This, in turn will result in more motivation to reach their personal goals. Valence is if the students think they are learning the language for a good reason. Students who are learning language just to pass high school dont care about actually learning a language; while students who plan to travel or live somewhere that uses the language will be more motivated to learn the language well. Self-Efficacy is related to the students expectations of how well they can learn a language. If students are confident in their abilities to learn language, they will be more motivated and will try harder than a student who is not confident. Adaptive attributions are how the students relate their results to their actions. If they think they did poorly on an exam due to lack of study time, they will be encouraged to study more for the next test. If students attribute their grade to bad luck or think it was because they arent able to learn the language, they will simply give up and not try harder next time. The authors take these different types and aspects of motivation to create and test ten hypotheses.

The article starts out with a good introduction, pointing out the common problems that can occur when doing similar studies. They mention ways to avoid these problems, One way of improving a model is by clarifying the relationships among its variables and reaching this objective can be facilitated by the identification of mediators (p. 506). They also do a good job of explaining how they will improve their model and clearly describe and relate all the terms used throughout the article. The authors gave the students a questionnaire in which they assess themselves in many situations. This could produce incorrect and biased data. When analyzing or evaluating themselves, students will give their opinion on how well they think they have done which usually does not match up with the actual results. This factor may affect the study somewhat. The article becomes a bit confusing when the 11 scales of the attitude motivation test battery are explained. There are also the casual attribution measures, goal salience, performance expectancy, and French language dominance scales. While these terms were explained previously, it becomes confusing when each of them has a separate set of terms and acronyms. As a reader of the results from this study, it is hard to keep track of all the names as the article seems to be for the people who actually were involved in the process. The reader feels like an outsider, especially when the authors picture a very complex diagram (p. 514) and attempt to explain it. In order to understand it completely, the reader would have to compare the text to the picture many times. While it is an attempt to simplify the 10 hypotheses, there is simply too much data all crammed into one little diagram. Concluding the article, the authors list several concerns and humbly state that, we stress that our model is not carved in stone but provides initial support for the development of more elaborate motivational theories of L2 motivation (p. 516). It is good for authors to note this and not insist that they are right and will be forever. Overall, the article is quite informative on how the studies have been conducted, but the actual results of the study are a bit difficult to comprehend.