logo logo European Journal of Educational Research

EU-JER is is a, peer reviewed, online academic research journal.

Subscribe to

Receive Email Alerts

for special events, calls for papers, and professional development opportunities.


Publisher (HQ)

Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
language acquisition language learning motivation self concept

Changes in and the Relationship between Language Learning Motivation and Self-concept in 11-14 year-old Students in Hungary: A Longitudinal Study

Szilvia Peter-Szarka

Motivation to learn foreign languages is a significant determinant of successful language acquisition. The subject has been widely researched in the p.


Motivation to learn foreign languages is a significant determinant of successful language acquisition. The subject has been widely researched in the past, and since the early 1990s a great deal of empirical research related to the classroom environment has been proposed to expand theory into everyday classroom practice. I present an empirical, longitudinal (3-year) study to explore the relationship between and changes in foreign language learning motivation, learning motivation and self-concept in the 5th, 6th and 8th forms of elementary school. The same tests (Kozéki-Entwistle’s Learning Motivation Questionnaire, the Tenessee SelfConcept Scale, and Clément, Dörnyei and Noels’ Foreign Language Learning Motivation questionnaire) were administered three times, so I was able to compare the results and draw conclusions about developmental tendencies. A strong correlation was found between motivational and self-esteem scores, and between learning and foreign language learning motivation subscales. It is necessary to highlight the importance of the Moral, Family and Social Self, which draws our attention to the family values and beliefs students are equipped with, when they enter the school. The significant decrease in motivation and self-esteem in the period under investigation focuses our attention on problems of adolescence, and challanges language teachers to establish a highly motivating classroom practice.

Keywords: Language acquisition, language learning motivation, self-concept

cloud_download PDF
Article Metrics


Ahmed, W., Briunsma, M. (2006). A structural model of self-concept, autonomous motivation and academic performance in cross-cultural perspective. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 4 (3), 551-576.

Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28, 117-148.

Balogh, L. (2004). Measuring the efficiency and program-evaluation of school talent nurturing programs. Applied Psychology in Hungary 2003-2004, 65-83.

Burns, R. B. (1982). Self-concept development and education. London, New York, Sidney, Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Byrne, B. M. (1996). Academic self-concept: Its structure, measurement, and relation to academic achievement. In B. A. Bracken (Ed.), Handbook of self-concept (pp. 287-316). New York: Wiley.

Dörnyei Z., Ottó I. (1998). Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation. Working Papers in Applied Linguistics (Thames Valley University, London), 4, 43-69.

Campbell, E., Storch, N. (2011). The changing face of motivation. A study of second language learners’ motivation over time. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 34 (2), 166-192.

Clément, R. (1986). Second language proficiency and acculturation: An investigation of the effects of language status and individual characteristics. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 5, 271-290.

Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. London: Longman.

Clément, R., Dörnyei, Z., Noels, K. A. (1994). Motivation, self-confidence and group cohesion in the foreign language classroom. Language Learning, 44, 417-448.

Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G. (1995). Self-concept of gifted students: Patterns by self-concept domain, grade level and gender. In Katzko, M. W. & Mönks, F. J. (Eds.), Nurturing talent: Individual needs and social ability (pp. 66-74). Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum.

Crookes, G., Schmidt, R. (1991). Motivation: Reopening the research agenda. Language Learning, 41, 469-512.

Dévai, M. (1988). Az énkép jellemzőinek vizsgálata 9-14 éves korban, összefüggésben egyes személyiségjellemzőkkel (Relation between self-concept and some personality characteristics az age 9-14.). Pszichológia, 8 (4), 557-573.

Dévai M., Sipos M. (1986). A Tenessee énkép skála. (The Tenessee self-concept scale) Pszichológiai tanácsadás a pályaválasztásban, Módszertani füzetek. Budapest: Országos Pedagógiai Intézet.

Dörnyei, Z. (1994). Motivation and Motivating in the Foreign Language Classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 78 (3), 273-284.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001a). Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001b). Teaching and Researching Motivation. Harlow: Longman/Pearson Education.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The L2 motivational self-system. In Dörnyei, Z. & Ushioda, E. (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 9-42). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Ehrman, M. E., Leaver, B. L., Oxford, R. L. (2003). A brief overview of individual differences in second language learning. System, 31, 313.330.

Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Gardner, R. C., MacIntyre, P. D. (1993). On the measurement of affective variables in second language learning. Language Learning, 43, 157-194.

Heckhausen, H., Kuhl, J. (1985). From wishes to action. The dead ends and short cuts on the long way to action. In Frese, M. & Sabini, J. (Eds.), Goal-directed behaviour: The concept of action in psychology (pp. 134-160). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Helmke, A., Van Aken, M. A. G. (1995). The causal ordering of academic achievement and self-concept of ability during elementary school: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 624-637.

Józsa, K. (2002). Tanulási motiváció és humán műveltség (Learning motivation and human education). In Csapó, B. (Ed.), Az iskolai műveltség (pp. 239-268). Budapest: Osiris Kiadó.

Kim, T. Y. (2006). Interview method development for qualitative study of ESL motivation. Foreign Languages Education, 13(2), 231-256.

Kozéki B., Entwistle, N. J. (1986). Tanulási motivációk és orientációk vizsgálata magyar és skót iskoláskorúak körében (The analysis of motivations of and orientations towards studying in British and Hungarian children). Pszichológia, 6 (2), 271-292.

Marsh, H. W. (1990). Causal ordering of academic self-concept and academic achievement: A multiwave, longitudinal panel analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 (4), 646-656.

Páskuné Kiss, J. (2002): A másodoktatás szerepe a gyerekek képességeinek fejlesztésében – különös tekintettel a tehetséggondozásra (The role of extracurricular activities in skills’ development – with special attention to the talented). In Dávid I., Bóta M., & Páskuné K. J. Tehetségkutatás (pp. 219-333). Debrecen: Kossuth Egyetemi Kiadó.

Radin, N. (1982). The unique contribution of parents to childrearing. In Moore, S. J. & Cooper, C. R. (Eds.), The young child: Reviews of research (pp. 55-76). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Sanchez, F. J. P., Roda, M. D. S. (2003). Relationships between self-concept and academic achievement in primary students. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology and Psychopedagogy, 1 (1), 95-120.

Schunk,  D. H. (1991). Self-Efficacy and Academic Motivation. Educational  Psychologist, 26, 207-31.

Skehan, P. (1989). Individual differences in second-language learning. London: Edward Arnold.

Ushioda, E. (1998). Effective motivational thinking: A cognitive theoretical approach to the study of language learning motivation. In Soler, E. A. & Espurz, V. C. (Eds.), Current issues in English language methodology (pp. 77-89). Universitat Jaume I, Castello de la Plana, Spain.

Wentzel, K. R., Wigfield, A. (2009). Introduction. In Wentzel, K.R. & Wigfield, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Motivation at School (pp. 1-8). NY: Routledge.

Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion. Psychological Review, 92, 548-573.

Wesely, P. M. (2010). Language learning motivation in early adolescents: Using mixed methods research to explore contradiction. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 4, 295-312.

Williams, K. C., Williams, C. C. (2011). Five key ingredients for improving student motivation. Research in Higher Education Journal, 12, 1-23.