Student Motivation Profiles: Ukrainian Studies at the Postsecondary Level in Canada

  • Alla Nedashkivska University of Alberta
  • Olena Sivachenko University of Alberta

Abstract

The study investigates postsecondary student motivation and demotivation for studying Ukrainian language, culture, folklore, literature, linguistics, and history. Four groups of students from one Canadian postsecondary institution are studied: (i) students taking Ukrainian language courses; (ii) those in Ukrainian content courses; (iii) students who took a language course at the postsecondary level in the past but did not continue; and (iv) students active in the Ukrainian community who have never taken any Ukrainian studies courses at the postsecondary level but are potentially interested in Ukrainian studies.

The analysis is grounded in Dörnyei’s motivational framework, which categorizes L2 motivation into three levels: the language level (in this study, ‘subject area’), the learner level, and the learning situation level (“Motivation”). The subject area level deals with reasons to learn certain subjects: instrumental and integrative motivation. The learner level focuses on learners’ personality traits and cognition. The learning situation level relates to learning environment. Dörnyei’s framework is employed to develop a motivational questionnaire, used as an instrument. The results are analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The quantitative data are elicited through participant responses to close-ended questions, showing the distribution and significance of various motivational factors in different groups of students under study. The qualitative analysis is based on participant responses to open-ended questions, allowing us to analyze both responses and perspectives on how their motivation relates to learning experience and the learning process overall. The combination of the two methods of analysis contributes to a multi-faceted understanding of motivational factors and yields pedagogical implications. The article concludes with a list of recommendations that stem from these analyses.

Author Biographies

Alla Nedashkivska, University of Alberta
Professor of Slavic applied linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies and an acting director of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta
Olena Sivachenko, University of Alberta
PhD candidate in Slavic Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, and research associate in the Ukrainian Language Education Center, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta
Published
2017-03-04