Motivation to learn English of Polish gymnasium pupils

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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In spite of plethora of motivational studies in a number of contexts (see Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2009, Csizér & Magid, 2014), there has been little investigation of the language learning motivation of Polish learners of English. Thus, this mixed-methods research set out to address this gap by investigating the motivational characteristics of Polish learners, the structure of their motivation and its relationship to proficiency. The study also sought to examine the role of important others and factors such as gender, location and parents’ education in language learning motivation. Data for this study was collected using a motivational questionnaire, the Oxford Quick Placement Test and semi-structured interviews. 599 14-to-16 year old Polish learners of English filled in the questionnaire, which contained scales from both applied linguistics and educational psychology. 398 students also completed the proficiency test and 20 students participated in semi-structured interviews. Factor analysis, MANOVA, ANOVA, t-tests and Structural Equation Modelling were used to analyse the quantitative data, whereas the interviews were transcribed and coded. The quantitative results show that the students endorsed international orientation more than instrumentality and had moderate self-efficacy beliefs and English self-concept. Their scores on the intrinsic motivation and self-regulation scales were also in the average range, whereas those on the ideal L2 self were rather low. The qualitative results, however, reveal substantial variation between individual learners. In a model of language learning motivation of Polish learners, the influence of goals on self-regulation was mediated by self-constructs and enjoyment derived from language learning. The model also points to a link between motivation and achievement. In their efforts to study English, Polish learners appeared strongly supported by their parents, and their learning environment was also shaped by English teachers and peers. A further three factors, namely gender, parents’ education and school location were also found to play a role in language learning motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
Award date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • motivation
  • Polish context
  • self-concept
  • gender
  • contextual factors
  • parents' education
  • rural/urban divide


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