Thi Minh Uyen Phan, Thi Tra My Ly, Thi Thuy Hang Nguyen, Nguyen Minh Ly Nguyen


Among the many factors that increase students’ achievement in the mastery of foreign languages, including English, are motivation and use of language learning strategies. Previous studies by a range of researchers have identified these two elements as the most important in obtaining success in language learning. This study carried out on 152 university students, roughly equal in gender, studying at a university in Can Tho, Vietnam, sought to discover the relationships between these two factors within the Vietnamese language learning context. In particular, the study sought to 1) discover which of two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic, is most prevalent among the students studied; 2) their use of language learning strategies; 3) reveals the relationship between students' motivation and use of language learning strategies; and 4) describe the differences in their use of language learning strategies based on whether their motivation was high, medium or low. Research instruments included Schmidt et al.'s Questionnaire on Motivation in Learning English, and Oxford's Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (both modified for the Vietnamese language learning context and translated into Vietnamese), plus an interview with 18 of the students to gain greater insight into the answers they gave on the questionnaires. Results were obtained using standard deviations and t-tests. They showed that Vietnamese university students are mainly extrinsically motivated; that all strategies were used at least at a medium level, amidst other fluctuations; and that those metacognitive strategies are most prevalent among medium and high motivated students but affective strategies are most common among low motivation students. Recommendations flowing from these results are that teachers should prioritize the formal teaching of learning strategies and should attempt to increase intrinsic motivation by putting greater emphasis on making language learning fun and relevant to the students' interests and passions.

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