Self-determination theory in a collectivist educational context: motivation of Korean students studying English as a foreign language
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The focus of this study was classroom motivation of Korean middle school students studying English as a Foreign Language (EFL), from the perspective of selfdetermination theory (SDT). Five research questions were addressed: (1) What is the motivational pattern of Korean middle school students learning English as a foreign language, from a SDT perspective, as measured by the Self-Regulation Questionnaire-Academic (SRQ-A)? (2) What is the correlation between the results of SRQ-A and these students’ self-report of classroom achievement in English? (3) How do these students perceive their parental involvement and support for their autonomy, as measured by the Perceptions of Parents Scales (POPS)? (4) What is the correlation between the results of POPS and these students’ self-report of classroom achievement in English? (5) What are the correlations among scales and subscales of the SRQ-A and the POPS? A total of 167 students, ages 13-16 years, studying EFL at two middle schools in Seoul, Korea, participated in this study. Three survey instruments were used in this investigation: the Self-Regulation Questionnaire-Academic to assess student motivational patterns; the Perceptions of Parents Scales to measure student perceptions of parental involvement and support to their autonomy; and a Self-Report of Classroom Achievement Questionnaire. A quantitative analysis was performed on the data collected, and findings indicated that the motivational pattern of these students was mainly extrinsic, at the identified level of self-regulation. Intrinsic motivation was the least often mentioned reason for studying English for these students. Student perceptions of parental involvement and support to autonomy were reported to be low for these students. These results are similar to studies done in western cultures, and may attest to the possibility of the universal applicability of self-determination theory. The relationship of these students’ motivational patterns and perceptions of parental involvement to their self-reported classroom achievement is also presented, and the study concludes with a discussion of pedagogical implications.