The relationship between motivation, second language learning, and stress in international students
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Mastering a second language costs time, money, and effort. Identifying factors that help students master a second language is necessary. Motivation has been identified by researchers as an important factor in second language learning. The present study examined relationships between types of motivation and improvement in English proficiency in terms of self-determination theory, specifically whether motivation would be a predictor of improvement in English proficiency after statistically controlling stress. The Language Learning Orientation Scale (LLOS), the Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students (ASSIS), and the English Placement Test (EPT) were administrated to 62 international students. None of the subtypes of motivation (e.g., external regulation, introjected regulation, and identified regulation) were significantly correlated with improvement in proficiency. These results may be due to the finding of no significant improvement in English proficiency. Also, although stress was a predictor, motivation was not a predictor of improvement in proficiency. Possible reasons are discussed.