Motivators that do not motivate: The case of Chinese EFL learners and the influence of culture on motivation

Judy F. Chen, Clyde A. Warden, Huo Tsan Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Language learning motivation plays an important role in both research and teaching, yet language learners are still largely understood in terms of North American and European cultural values. This research explored language learning motivation constructs in a Chinese cultural setting, where large numbers of students are required to study English. In Taiwan, 567 language learners responded to a survey concerning motivation orientation, expectancy, and self-evaluated skill. Factor analysis and structural equation modeling were used to explore potential relationships within the framework of the process model. Expectancy was found to be an intervening construct between motivation orientations and self-evaluated skill. The strongest link to expectancy was the required motivation, with the integrative motivation playing no significant role. The context of these findings is discussed in relation to Chinese cultural and educational history and a proposed motivator-the Chinese Imperative. Implications for teaching practice are explained, including the need to reconsider motivation constructs within non-Western cultural settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-633
Number of pages25
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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