Students' Motivation in English Language Learning (ELL): An Exploratory Study of Motivation-al Factors for EFL and ESL Adult Learners

Muhammad Sabboor Hussain, Abdus Salam, Aisha Farid


This study analyzed adult learners’ motivation in learning English from two diametrically different paradigms viz., the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) from Saudi Arabia and the ESL (English as a Second Language) from Pakistan. The quantitative tool of the 20-items questionnaire administered at 100 EFL learners and 100 ESL learners helped find out the factors impacting the adult learners’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation resulting in their being amotivated, unmotivated, and highly motivated English language learners. The major findings are that the learners in both the EFL and the ESL contexts were found intrinsically motivated to learn the English language. However, the Saudi EFL students, unlike ESL learners, lacked extrinsic motivation due to i) lack of an environment conducive for English language learning and ii) social disapproval of the English language learning. The extrinsic factors lacking for ESL learners in Pakistan are the provision of highly motivated and trained teachers, well-equipped classrooms, financial rewards, and a conducive learning environment in the institutions. Based on the findings, the study recommends that teachers must be trained to involve the intrinsically motivated students in challenging and encouraging activities. The teachers engaged in teaching to Saudi EFL learners need to exert more to create an excellent learning environment in their class to motivate and encourage their students towards learning of the English language, and to waive off the negative impact of social disapproval of the language outside the classroom.


ESL Learners, EFL Learners, Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, Amotivation

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