A Study of Language Learner Motivation: Learners of Korean as a Foreign Language

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    지민정. 2015. 한국어 학습자의 학습 동기 연구. 한국어교육 26-2: 213-238. 본 연구는 미국에서 한국어를 공부하는 학습자의 한국어 학습 동기를 분석하였다. 92명의 한국어 학습자가 10가지 하위변인으로 구성된 설문지를 작성한 결과를 4가지 변인(성별, 한국어 숙달도, 한국어 학습 목적, 계승어로서 한국어 학습)에 따라서 학습 동기에 차이가 있는지 분석하였다. 또한 10가지 학습동기 하위변인과 4가지 변인의 상관관계도 조사하였다. 전체적으로 학습자들의 한국어 학습 동기(M=3.65)가 높게 나타났는데, 특히 한국어를 배우고자하는 열망 (M=4.28)이 가장 높았다. 학생들의 통합적 동기(M=3.81)와 도구적 동기(M=3.82)가 높은 반면, 불안(M=2.92)과 한국어 학습의 실패를 자신의 노력이 아니 주변으로 돌리려는 경향(M=2.00)이 낮게 나와 한국어 학습자들은 이미 좋은 언어 학습자의 자질을 갖추고 있는 것으로 분석되었다. 상관관계 분석 결과, 도구적 동기가 다른 변인들과 가장 많은 상관관계를 보였고, 불안과 자기효능감은 서로 부정적인 상관관계를 보였다.


    Korean language learning motivation , learner variables , Korean as a foreign language , Korean as a heritage language

  • 1. Introduction

    Recently, enrollment in Korean language classes has rapidly increased in and outside of Korea. Nationally, the number of international students and foreigners who are married to Koreans have increased, and this phenomenon has led to the increased demand for Korean language courses (Choe, 2013; Shon and Jeon, 2011; Song, 2009). Internationally, influenced by the Korean Wave or Hallyu and by the social and economic growth of Korea, the number of people learning Korean has increased dramatically, especially after 1990s. The growing number has been maintained till now, causing an increased number of universities to offer Korean courses outside of Korea. For example, according to the Modern Language Association surveys (Goldberg, Looney, and Lusin, 2013), the enrollment of Korean language courses showed the highest increase (44.7%) among the less commonly taught languages in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013, and the number of universities offering Korean courses has also been increased accordingly. In Japan, the number of universities that offer Korean language courses has more than doubled between 1996 and 2007. In China, about 72 universities have offered a Korean Language or Korean Studies major in 2009. Indeed, Korean language programs have been expanded globally with strong support from both Korean and foreign governments in the past decade. Since 2007, the National Institute of the Korean Language in Korea has implemented policy measures to expand its Korean language institute, the King Sejong institute, around the world (Song, 2009).

    Despite the rapid growth of demand for Korean language courses, there have been only a few studies focusing on Korean language learners' affective domains such as motivation, anxiety, and attitude. Most studies so far have focused on Korean language teaching itself: teaching methods, textbook analysis, and error analysis (Kang, 2003, 2014; Jang, 2013; Shon and Jeon, 2011). Moreover, there is still a lack of studies on Korean language learners’ motivation (Jang, 2013; Shon and Jeon, 2011). Therefore, the present study focuses on the motivational factors of students learning Korean in order to address this gap in the literature. The findings will benefit instructors and program developers of Korean in terms of understanding their students’ motivation from a variety of perspectives.

    2. Literature Review

    In the field of second language acquisition (SLA), many researchers have agreed that motivation is one of the factors that influence students’ achievement and that determine students’ success or failure in learning a foreign or second language (Dörnyei, 1994; Gardner and Lambert, 1972). Motivation can be defined as “the combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favourable attitudes toward learning the language (Gardner 1985: 10).” As the definition implies, motivation contains various and complex aspects of learning. As a result, modifications of the concept of motivation have been developed since Gardner and Lambert (1972) started to study students’ motivation for learning a second language. According to them, integrative motivation was more beneficial than instrumental motivation in second language achievement. However, the dichotomy of integrative versus instrumental motivation has been criticized by many researchers with contrasting evidence and expanded research on motivation. For example, Clément and Kruidenier (1983) classified motivation into instrumental, friendship, travel, and knowledge orientations. A more systematic framework, Self-determination theory, was proposed by Deci and Ryan (1985). According to them, self-determination theory is a continuum of motivation based on “the degree to which the motivations emanate form the self (i.e., are self-determined) (Ryan and Deci, 2000: 72).” Amotivation is the state of no intention to act or no motivation. The other end of the continuum is intrinsic motivation, behaviors for inherent satisfaction or innate needs. In between the two ends, there are four types of extrinsic motivation; external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and integrated regulation. Externally regulated behaviors are least autonomous and derived by possible benefits or rewards like instrumental orientation (Gardner and MacIntyre, 1991). Behaviors caused by introjected regulation are performed in order to avoid feeling of guilty or attain self-esteem. More self-determined behaviors are caused by identified regulation, performed based on personal value or personal importance. The most autonomous form of extrinsic motivation is integrated regulation, that “occurs when identified regulations are fully assimilated to the self (Ryan and Deci, 2000: 73).” Many aspects of integrated regulation are similar to intrinsic motivation, except that these behaviors are done to get some outcomes rather than just for inherent enjoyment. The importance of Self-determination theory lies that it shows the relationship between orientations and learning outcomes (Noels, Pelletier, Clément, and Vallerand, 2000).

    In addition, an expanded model for motivation construct was suggested by Tremblay and Gardener (1995) by adding several motivational constructs from other research areas in order to better understand language learners’ motivation. They introduced variables such as goal salience, valence, and self-efficacy, and one of them was causal attributions. The causal attributions are related to the concept of self-determination because they evaluate “students’ feelings of control (internal or external) over events in the language classroom (Kissau, 2006: 408).” In their study, Tremblay and Gardener (1995) used 8 scales (ability-success, ability-failure, effort-success, effort-failure, context-success, context-failure, luck-success, and luck-failure) based on the four causal attributions of ability, effort, context, and luck for success and failure of language learning. For example, “effort-failure” measures the degree to which one ascribes failure in learning a language to lack of effort, and “luck-success” measures the degree to which one ascribes success in learning a language to luck. Studies have reported that Students who have internal attributions (i.e., ability and effort) tend to show high self-efficacy and responsibility for their behaviors and more motivated than students with external attributions (i.e., luck and context) (Noels, Pelletier, Clément, and Vallerand, 2000; Tremblay and Gardner, 1995). Another framework was suggested by Dörnyei (1994), and Clément, Dörnyei, and Noels (1994). They insisted that motivation should include language, learner, and learning situation. More recently, Dörneyi and Csizér (2002) identified integrativeness, instrumentality, validity of L2 community, milieu, self-confidence, cultural interest, and attitudes toward L2 speakers as components of motivation. Therefore, as Gardner and Tremblay (1994) stated, motivation is a complex and dynamic composite with interrelated variables.

    Even though studies on motivation have proved its importance in SLA, only a small number of studies have been done with students learning Korean. Kwon and Lee (2005) investigated the motivation of 15 foreign adult learners living in Korea with respect to their achievement. In this study, students who had instrumental motivation (such as getting a job in Korea) showed the highest achievement, and students who were personally interested in Korea and Korean people also showed high level of achievement. However, students who studied Korean because they were married to a Korean or who were heritage Koreans had low achievement. Won’s (2010) study used a survey to examine motivation orientation, expectancy for achievement, and self-evaluated skills of 117 students learning Korean in an academic context. The students in this study had the highest mean score in required motivation (i.e., taking the Korean class in order to take courses required of major requirements), followed by instrumental motivation and integrative motivation. Moreover, the students thought that their previous effort to study Korean had a positive effect on their current proficiency in Korean, but they were not sure whether their current effort to study Korean would have a positive effect on their future proficiency. A much fuller and richer study was done by Shon and Jeon (2011). In the study, they suggested a broad range of motivation based on previous studies (Clément et al., 1994; Csizér and Dörnyei, 2005) including integrativeness, instrumentality, interest in media and culture, attitudes toward Koreans, self-confidence, anxiety, and attitudes toward the Korean language program. Nearly 800 students learning Korean in an institute in Korea participated in the survey. The data were analysed with respect to such personal variables as gender, age, students’ first language, proficiency, and achievement in Korean. Most of the motivational variables had significantly positive correlations with each other except self-efficacy and anxiety. Based on Deci and Ryan’s (1985) self-determination theory, Koh and Kim (2011) investigated 155 Chinese students’ academic self-regulation (amotivation, external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, integrated regulation, and intrinsic regulation) using a survey. The students were Korean language and culture majors in a Korean university and the data were analysed by gender and achievement. The Chinese students were highest in identified regulation (i.e., they studied Korean because they wanted to), followed by integrated regulation and intrinsic regulation. Significant negative correlations were observed only between introjected regulation and achievement. No statistically significant differences were observed between male and female students. With American students learning Korean, Nam (2012) explored the students’ motivation and attitude. The students were divided into two groups, a continuing group and a discontinuing group, in order to investigate what motivations affect students’ persistence in learning Korean. Several motivations were reported, such as cultural interest, linguistic interest, and desire to communicate with native Korean speakers. Differences were observed between the two groups: the continuing group students showed higher intrinsic motivation in language and culture, integrative motivation, and ideal-self-related motivation than the discontinuing group students. A qualitative study with American students learning Korean was conducted by Choe (2013). Using individual narrative interviews over a semester, he focused on three non-heritage or Korean as a foreign language (KFL) learners and came up with several factors that motivated them to learn Korean, such as personal encounters with Korean culture and people. As drawbacks to motivation, they mentioned little use of Korean in the U.S., lack of Korean community, and the grammar and reading-focused and heritage-focused curriculum.

    In sum, some studies have been done since 2003 of Korean learners’ motivation, and different studies used different frameworks of motivation with different research methods. Moreover, learner variables and the context of learning Korean were quite diverse. In other words, such variables may affect the data analysis and interpretation of the data and illuminate different perspectives. Compared to other foreign or second languages, studies of student motivation in learning Korean are scarce, especially in the KFL context. Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between the motivational variables and learner variables of students learning Korean in a U.S. university. Ten motivational variables (motivational intensity, desire to learn Korean, integrative motivation, instrumental motivation, parental encouragement, anxiety, self-determination; effort-failure, self-determination; context-failure, self-determination; luck-success, and self-efficacy), and four learner variables (gender, proficiency level, achievement, purpose of learning Korean, and heritage language) were examined. The research questions were as follows:

    3. Methods

       3.1 Participants

    A total of 92 students who enrolled in Korean courses offered by a large public university in the southwest U.S. participated in this study. 47 (51.1%) were male and 45 (48.9%) were female. Their ages ranged from 18 to 35, and the mean age was 20.8. Among them, 52 (62%) were heritage1) students and 35 (38%) were non-heritage students. By proficiency level, 40 (43.5) were intermediate–low level and 52 were novice–low level based on the level test2) of the university. For the purpose of taking the Korean class, 64 (69.6%) students were taking the Korean class for personal interests, 22 (23.9%) students were taking it for a language requirement, and 6 (6.5%) students were taking it because the class was related to their major or Korean was their major. None of the students had prior experience of learning Korean at an educational institute.

       3.2 Instrument

    A 5-point Likert scale (1= Strongly disagree, 5= Strongly agree) survey, adopted from various instruments, was distributed to the students. The questionnaire consisted of 48 items for non-heritage students and 57 items for heritage Korean students.3) Students were supposed to circle the number that best represented their response to the statements. The questionnaire, which addressed motivational variables, was divided into three sections: Motivational Orientation, Self-determination, and Self-efficacy. The Motivational Orientation was organized with six categories: Motivational intensity (10 items4)), Desire to learn Korean (10 items5)), Integrative motivation (5 items6)), Instrumental motivation (4 items7)), Anxiety (5 items8)), and Parental encouragement (9 item s9), only for the heritage Korean students). The items were adopted from The Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) designed by Gardner et al. (1979), and the Cronbach alpha coefficient for this composite was .865. Self-determination items, adopted from The Causal Attribution Measure, designed by Tremblay and Gardner (1995), consisted of Effort-failure (3 items10)), Context-failure (3 items11)), and Luck-success (3 items12)). Under this measure, a student with high score in Effort ascribes failure in a Korean class to a lack of his own effort, displaying internal locus of control. On the other hand, a student with high score in Context and Luck tends to ascribe failure in Korean class to external sources such as luck rather than his own internal effort. The Cronbach alpha coefficient of this composite was .709. The items of Self-efficacy (5 items13)) were adopted from a study by Kissau (2006), measuring students’ own judgement of their capabilities in Korean class. The Cronbach alpha coefficient was .824 in this study. Negatively written items were reversed during the data analysis in order to measure students’ responses in a way that the highest degree of each category received the highest score, and vice versa.

       3.3 Procedures and Data analysis

    A semester consisted of 15 weeks, and during the sixth week of the first semester, students were informed of the study and volunteered to participate. Students’ consent forms were collected, and the surveys14) were distributed. For statistical data analysis, SPSS version 21 was used. Descriptive data analysis, AVOVA, and Pearson Correlations were implemented.

    1)In this study, heritage students were Korean-American, had parents who were immigrants in the U.S., and had 10 years of education in the U.S. prior to entering the university (Kang and Kim, 2012; Lee, 2002)  2)The level test was designed based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (2012) and the test included reading, writing, and oral interview.  3)Both the heritage and non-heritage students filled out the same 48 items, and heritage students had additional 9 items of “Parental Encouragement.”  4)Sample items: “When I am studying Korean, I ignore distractions and stay on task.” and “I really work hard to learn Korean.”  5)Sample items: “I wish I had begun studying Korean at an early age.” and “I wish I were fluent in Korean.”  6)Sample items: “Studying Korean is important to me because it will allow me to be more at ease with fellow Koreans who speak Korean.” and “Studying Korean is important to me because it will allow me to meet and speak with more and varied people.”  7)Sample items: “Studying Korean is important to me because I’ll need it for my future career.” and “Studying Korean is important to me because it will make me a more knowledgeable person.”  8)Sample items: “It embarrasses me to volunteer answers in Korean class.” and “I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking in Korean.”  9)Sample items: “My parents really encourage me to study Korean.” and “My parents try to help me with my Korean.”  10)For example, “I can overcome the obstacles of learning Korean if I work hard.”  11)For example, “The reason that my Korean grades are not higher is because Korean is a difficult subject.”  12)For example, “If I do well in Korean, it is because I am lucky.”  13)Sample items: “I expect to do well in Korean class.” and “I feel that I can write well enough in Korean to describe an event, or a person, or tell a story.”  14)Full questionnaire information is available upon request.

    4. Results

    RQ1: What motivational variables exist among Korean language learners?

    As Table 1 shows, the composite mean of the Motivational orientation was 3.65 (SD=.37), indicating moderately high motivation in this sample. By subscales, the students showed the highest mean score for Desire to learn Korean (M=4.28, SD=.55), followed by Effort-Failure (M=3.91, SD=.88). In other words, the students had a high desire to learn Korean and they tended to ascribe their failure to their lack of efforts rather than Context (M=2.00, SD=.73). Moreover, they showed almost same level of Integrative motivation and Instrumental motivation, confirming that both Integrative and Instrumental motivations are inter-related rather than dichotomous. Anxiety and Context-failure ranked the lowest among the variables, implying that the students had low anxiety and that they did not ascribe their failure to learn Korean to the context. Thus, the students showed features of “good language learners” in that they had moderately high motivation and self-efficacy with low anxiety. Moreover, the majority of the students tended to blame their poor grades to the lack of effort rather than peripheral factors, displaying a high internal locus of control.


    ] Descriptive Statistics


    RQ 2: How do motivational variables differ according to the learner variables?

    For learner variables, gender, proficiency level, achievement, purpose of learning Korean, and heritage language were examined. Details of the Univariate ANOVA results are as follows.

    Gender: Gender had significant effects on only Instrumental motivation (F(1,90)=3.975, p=.049, Table 2). Female students (M=3.97) had higher Instrumental motivation than male students (M=3.67). As a marginal difference (F(1,90)=3.692, p=.058), female students (M=4.41) tended to have higher Desire to learn Korean than male students (M=4.15).


    ] ANOVA Results: Gender


    Proficiency Level: Proficiency level had significant effects on Self-efficacy (F(1,90)=13.087, p=.000), Instrumental motivation (F(1,90)=5.488, p=.021), and Effort-failure (F(1,90)=4.055, p=.047). In other words, high proficient students (Intermediate–low level, M=3.78) showed higher self-efficacy than low proficient students (Novice–low, M=3.20). High proficient students (M=4.02) also tended to have higher instrumental motivation than low proficient students (M=3.66). Interestingly, however, low proficient students (M=4.07) showed a tendency of having a higher internal locus of control than high proficient students (M=3.70). Considering that all the high proficient students were heritage students with some background in Korean language and culture, background knowledge of Korean or learning environment (Korean as a heritage language versus as a foreign language) may affect students’ self-efficacy and determine the reasons for poor performance. In addition, Integrative motivation showed a marginally significant difference (F(1,90)=3.654, p=.059), indicating that high proficient students (M=3.97) had higher Integrative motivation than low proficient students (M=3.70). That is, high proficient students tended to have higher instrumental and integrative motivation than low proficient students. Table 3 indicates the results.


    ] ANOVA Results: Proficiency Level


    Purpose for Learning Korean: Students were asked to choose their purpose for taking the Korean class among three: 1. Personal interest, 2. Language requirement, and 3. Major/major-related. Only Parental encouragement showed a significant difference (F(2,55)=4.030, p=.023) with this variable (Table 4). That means that only the heritage students had a significant difference in terms of their reason for taking the Korean class. Students who took the Korean class because it was their major or major-related course (M=4.17) had the highest score on parental encouragement, followed by personal interest (M=3.59) and language requirement (M=3.11). In other words, for Korean heritage students, parents’ encouragement and care directly affected students’ choosing Korean as their major, and that exceeded personal interest.


    ] ANOVA Results: Purpose for Learning Korean


    Heritage Language: Whether Korean was the Heritage language had significant effects on Motivational intensity (F(1,90)=7.793, p=.006) and Self-efficacy (F(1,90)=13.825, p=.000). Heritage Korean students (M=3.68) showed a higher level of Self-efficacy than non-heritage Korean students (M=3.07). On the other hand, non-heritage Korean students (M=3.46) showed a higher level of Motivational intensity than heritage Korean students (M=3.22). In other words, non-heritage students had more enthusiasm and exerted a greater effort in learning Korean than heritage students, but they were less confident about learning Korean than heritage students (Table 5).



    Achievement: Based on the mean scores of the final grades, the students were divided into three groups in terms of achievement: high, mid, and low achievement. No significant differences, however, were observed. In other words, students’ achievement did not have any significant effects on the motivational variables. The biggest differences were observed with Anxiety (F(2,89)=2.461, p=.091), corroborating the conclusions of previous studies (Aida, 1994; Cheng, Horwitz and Schallert, 1999; Horwitz, 1986; Kim, 1998; Kim, 2010; Kim, Nam, and Kwon, 2010; Saito and Samimy, 1996) in that students with low achievement had higher anxiety than students with high achievement.

    RQ 3: What are the relationships among the motivational variables and learner variables?

    To examine the correlations among the variables, Pearson Correlation Coefficients were used, and several significant correlations were observed (Table 6). Among the motivational variables, Instrumental motivation had the highest number of significant correlations with other variables. It had significantly positive correlations with Integrative motivation, Self-efficacy, Parental encouragement, Desire to learn, and Gender (for coding, “1” was male and “2” was female). Students who had higher levels of Integrative motivation also had higher levels of Instrumental motivation than students who had lower levels of Integrative motivation, which confirmed that Integrative motivation and Instrumental motivation are related (Shon and Jeon, 2011). In addition, students who had high Instrumental motivation tended to show high Self-efficacy, and vice versa. Moreover, students who had a higher desire to learn tended to have a higher level of instrumental motivation than students who had a lower desire to learn. Female students had a higher level of Instrumental motivation than male students, and heritage students whose parents were encouraging and supportive of learning Korean tended to have a high level of Instrumental motivation, and vice versa.


    ] Correlations among the variables


    With Luck-failure and Proficiency level (for coding, “1” was Intermediate-low students and “2” was Novice-low students), Instrumental motivation had significantly negative correlations. That means students who had higher Instrumental motivation tended not to ascribe their failure or unsuccessful performance in Korean to their luck than students who had lower Instrumental motivation, and vice versa. Moreover, higher proficiency level students showed have higher levels of Instrumental motivation than lower proficiency level students. With Integrative motivation, there were significantly positive correlations with Instrumental motivation, Desire to learn, Self-efficacy, and Parental encouragement. Since Instrumental motivation and Integrative motivation were highly correlated in a positive way, Desire to Learn, Self-efficacy, and Parental encouragement had a similar tendency with Integrative motivation and Instrumental motivation. In other words, the Desire to learn, Self-efficacy, and Parental encouragement variables were closely related to both motivational variables. Desire to learn was also significantly positively related to Effort-failure than Integrative and Instrumental motivation, showing that students who had a high Desire to learn tended to ascribe their poor performance in Korean to their lack of effort. Self-efficacy showed significantly positive correlations with Parental encouragement, too. Moreover, it was correlated with the Heritage language (for coding, “1” was heritage students and “2” was non-heritage students) variable and with the Proficiency level variable. In other words, students who had high Self-efficacy tended to be heritage Korean learners with a high level of proficiency. For heritage students, students who had high Parental encouragement showed a high level of Self-efficacy, and vice versa. Thus, Self-efficacy was an important factor for heritage students. Self-efficacy also showed significant negative correlations with Anxiety and Luck–failure. Thus, students who had high Self-efficacy showed a tendency to have low Anxiety, not ascribing their poor performance to their luck.

    With respect to Anxiety, it was closely related to Self-determination variables, especially with Context–failure (positive) and Luck–success (positive). In other words, students who had high Anxiety tended to ascribe their unsuccessful learning to such external components as context and luck rather than their effort. Regarding Self-determination variables, Effort–failure had significantly positive correlations with Desire to learn, Parental encouragement, and Proficiency level. It showed significantly negative correlations with Context–failure, which was predictable: the higher the Effort–failure, the lower the Context–failure. Context–failure had significantly positive relations with Anxiety and Luck-success, which were also quite predictable: the higher the Context–failure, the higher the Anxiety and Luck–success.

    Luck–failure also had significantly negative relations with Instrumental motivation and Self-efficacy. Regarding Motivational intensity, it was significantly related only with Heritage language, indicating that non-heritage students tended to have higher Motivational intensity than heritage students. Heritage language also showed significant correlations with Purpose of learning Korean and Proficiency level. In sum, heritage Korean students tended to take Korean as their major or as a major-related requirement, whereas non-heritage students tended to take the Korean class as their personal interest. Thus, mentioned above, heritage students tended to be more proficient and show higher Self-efficacy than non-heritage students. However, they tended to have lower Motivational intensity than non-heritage students. With respect to proficiency level, students who had higher proficiency tended to have higher Instrumental motivation and Self-efficacy than lower proficiency students. They, however, tended not to ascribe their failure to learn Korean to their lack of effort, and they tended to take Korean to fulfil their language requirement or their major or major-related requirement rather than because of personal interest. Moreover, high proficient students tended to be heritage Koreans. Gender showed significant correlations only with Instrumental motivation, and Achievement did not show any significant correlations with other variables.

    15)Instr.=Instrumental motivation, Integ.=Integrative motivation, DL=Desire to learn Korean, MI=Motivational intensity, A=Anxiety, SE=Self-efficacy, PE=Parental encouragement, EF=Effort-failure, CF=Context-failure, LS=Luck-success, PL=Proficiency level, G=Gender, PK=Purpose of learning Korean, HL=Heritage language

    5. Discussion and Conclusion

    The present study investigated relationships among the 10 motivational variables and 4 personal variables of students learning Korean using statistical analysis. Overall, the students had moderately high motivation (M=3.65) with a high desire to learn Korean (M=4.28) and both Integrative motivation (M=3.81) and Instrumental motivation (M=3.82). However, they had low Anxiety (M=2.92) and little tendency to ascribe their poor performance to external Context (M=2.00) rather than their lack of Effort (M=3.91). In other words, the students in this study already possessed features of “good language learners” (Ellis and Sinclair, 1989; Green and Oxford, 1995; Oxford, 1990). With regard to personal variables, Proficiency level indicated the highest number of significant differences with motivational variables: Self-efficacy, Instrumental motivation, and Effort–failure. That means students with high proficiency in Korean tended to have a higher level of Self-efficacy and Instrumental motivation than students with low proficiency. However, more low proficiency students were likely to ascribe their failure or poor performance of Korean to their lack of effort than high proficiency students. With the Heritage language variable, heritage Korean students showed higher levels of Self-efficacy than non-heritage Korean students, whereas non-heritage students had higher level of Motivational Intensity than heritage students. In other words, students who learn Korean as a foreign or second language for the first time would bring a high motivational intensity to the class. Given that enrollment shrinks as the level goes up, instructors should make efforts to support students in maintaining their motivational intensity such as establishing a close and reliable relationship with the students, providing positive feedback, and supporting students to set an achievable goal. Gender had significant effects only on Instrumental motivation: female students tended to have higher level of Instrumental motivation than male students. The purpose for learning Korean also had significant effects on only one variable—Parental encouragement with heritage students—indicating that heritage students who took the Korean course because it was their major showed the highest score on parental encouragement, followed by personal interest and language requirement. Thus, parents’ continuous care and support may play an important role for heritage students’ choice of Korean as their major. Providing seminars or workshops for these parents in order for them to have consistent interest and care for their children to learn Korean would be beneficial. Indeed, the finding seems to give a meaningful insight for fostering high quality Korean majors in order to develop Korean programs in and outside of Korea, and ultimately to help improve Korea’s international status. Moreover, achievement did not show any significant differences with other variables. That means students’ achievement in a class did not have a huge impact on students’ motivation, self-efficacy, anxiety, parental support (for heritage students) and self-determination on interpreting their failure of learning Korean.

    In terms of correlations among the variables, some important correlations were found. Instrumental motivation had the most number of significant correlations with other variables, especially with Integrative motivation. That confirmed that students who had high Instrumental motivation tended to have high Integrative motivation, and vice versa (Shon and Jeon, 2011). Moreover, Desire to learn, Self-efficacy, and Parental encouragement were highly related with motivational variables, given that students who had a high level of Instrumental motivation and Integrative motivation tended to have a high Desire to learn Korean, high Self-efficacy, and high Parental encouragement, and vice versa. Self-efficacy was found to be an important variable for heritage students, because heritage students showed a higher level of Self-efficacy than non-heritage students. Given that Self-efficacy plays a significant role in achieving high level of proficiency (Gahungu, 2010; Magogwe and Oliver, 2007; Templin, 1999), heritage students had a potential to achieve a high level of proficiency. In addition, there were negative correlations between Self-efficacy and Anxiety, concurring with previous studies (Baker and MacIntyre, 2000; Bandura, 1997; Shon, and Jeon, 2011; Tremblay and Gardner, 1995). Anxiety showed a close relationship with Self-determination variables. Students who had high anxiety tended to blame their poor performance on contextual reasons or on bad luck. Among the personal variables, Proficiency level had the highest number of significant correlations with other variables: Instrumental motivation, Effort-failure, Self-efficacy, Purpose of learning Korean, and Heritage language. In other words, students who had high proficiency tended to have high Instrumental motivation, high Self-efficacy, and a low tendency to ascribe their poor performance to the lack of effort. High proficient students were also taking the class in order to fill their language requirement and/or major requirement. Moreover, high proficient students were likely to be heritage Korean students.

    As limitations of the study, the sample size was relatively small, so that may be a detriment to the validity of the study. Moreover, since the study solely depended on the quantitative data, mixed methods including qualitative data analysis such as interviews and classroom observation may increase the significance of the findings. Future studies may consider various learning contexts in various countries in order to fully understand whether cultural differences or learning environments affect students’ motivation. Moreover, more in-depth studies with heritage Korean learners may enrich the literature. Based on this study, much fuller and in-depth discussions on Korean language learners’ motivation in relation to various factors, especially focusing on pedagogical implications, are expected.

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    • [<Table 1>] Descriptive Statistics
      Descriptive Statistics
    • [<Table 2>] ANOVA Results: Gender
      ANOVA Results: Gender
    • [<Table 3>] ANOVA Results: Proficiency Level
      ANOVA Results: Proficiency Level
    • [<Table 4>] ANOVA Results: Purpose for Learning Korean
      ANOVA Results: Purpose for Learning Korean
    • [<Table 5] Table 5. ANOVA Results: Heritage Language>
      Table 5. ANOVA Results: Heritage Language>
    • [<Table 6>] Correlations among the variables
      Correlations among the variables