Community College Students' Motivational Orientations and Chinese Language Learning



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Motivation is a key component in Second Language (L2)/Foreign Language achievement. In existing literature, a few studies have explored the students’ motivation in Chinese language learning. However, the majority of participants in those studies were either four-year university students or secondary school students. Few studies focused on students in U.S. community colleges. In addition, most of the research involved heritage language learners or the comparisons between heritage and non-heritage language learners. Finally, Gardner’s Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) has been the main instrument to examine the intangible motivational constructs, but the validity of the instrument was not mentioned in most studies despite different languages and different language learning contexts. To fill this gap in Chinese language motivation research, the present study integrated the classical theoretical model of integrative and instrumental motivations by Gardner, with Dörnyei’s framework of L2 motivation, which specifically focuses on attitudinal motivation in the foreign language classroom, to investigate how motivational orientations influenced the Chinese learning outcomes of non-heritage students in U.S. community colleges. A 30-item survey was developed as the instrument to examine 161 participants’ motivational orientations at T College. Factor analysis and multiple linear regression were employed as the major statistical tests in this study. The value of KMO (.91) indicated patterns of correlations were relatively compact and the sample size was adequate to yield distinct and reliable factors. Bartlett’s test was highly significant (<.001), indicating that R-matrix was not an identity matrix, and therefore factor analysis was appropriate. Three factors were identified from the process of analysis, namely attitudinal motivation, integrative motivation, and instrumental motivation. The overall Cronbach’s Alphas for these three subscales were .871, .878, and .804, respectively and indicated a good reliability. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that the multiple linear regression model with all the three motivational orientations was significant (p = .004) in predicting the students’ Chinese learning outcomes.



Motivation, Second languages, Foreign language, Chinese, Community colleges