Learner perceptions of demotivators in the English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom: Conceptual framework, scale development, and tentative underlying cause analysis
AdvisorWei, Tianlan (Elaine)
CommitteeElder, Anastasia D.
Notwithstanding the negative influence of demotivation on student learning outcomes, prior research in EFL demotivation suffers from the lack of generally agreed-upon conceptual understanding, which hampers scale development. The present series of studies sought to explore the ideas of demotivation and describe the development of the Learner Perception of Demotivators Scale (LPDS) both conceptually and psychometrically. In Study 1 (N = 295), an exploratory factor analysis offered preliminary support for a factor structure comprising three dimensions: negative teacher behavior, loss of task value, and low expectancy for success. In Study 2 (N = 320), the proposed factor structure was further corroborated through confirmatory factor analysis, and its validity was documented by means of correlating with academic performance, self-efficacy, and mindset. A second-order factor model was tested to investigate whether a set of demotivating factors load on an overall construct that may be termed “Demotivator”. Whereas the model fit confirmed a well-fitting second-order model with post hoc model adjustment, one low first-order loading (negative teacher behavior) does not seem to support “Demotivator” as a higher order construct comprising three subdimensions. Furthermore, the LPDS demonstrated evidence of configural, metric, scalar, and residual invariance across gender, suggesting the same underlying construct is measured across gender groups. Contrary to the findings in motivation research, loss of task value was a stronger predictor of performance than low expectancy for success. Further, in Study 3 (N =320), loss of task value distinguished extremely motivated EFL learners from ordinary ones, offering tentative evidence for the reason behind demotivation in EFL learning. The unique role of task value found in Study 2 and Study 3 gave insights into the hypothetical construct of “demotivation”. It was also examined in the context of East Asian culture. By establishing a nomological network (academic performance, self-efficacy, and mindset), the current study provided a lawful pattern of interrelationships that exists between the hypothetical construct (demotivation) and observable attributes (e.g., academic performance) and that guides researcher for future L2 studies. More implications and limitations for future studies are discussed.