Vol. 5. No. 2 A-2 September 2001
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Pair taping: Increasing motivation and achievement with a fluency practice

Peter H. Schneider
California State University, Northridge


Pair taping is a fluency practice in which learners record themselves speaking freely in pairs. Over several years, two sections of 50 second-year Japanese university students were offered the choice of doing pair taping over three or four days for an equivalent amount of time as their once-a-week 100-minute English listening/speaking class. Quantitative results from self-reports from this classroom research demonstrated that more than those who remained in class (28), learners who chose pair taping (73) reported increases in ease of speaking English, self-confidence about speaking English, motivation for improving their spoken English, relaxation in speaking English, enjoyment of speaking English, and improvement in speaking English. Factor analysis results mirrored those with the expectancy-value theory of motivated achievement, suggesting that learner improvement was related to their increased confidence and their increased motivation to improve to their increased enjoyment of speaking English.


Many intermediate learners in EFL classes may not have recognized that it is possible for them to speak English, having had little or no opportunity to use, release, or express the vocabulary and knowledge of structure with which their many years of study have endowed them. Indeed, for most of them English may merely be another school subject that they have had to take year after year. They may be less apt than ESL learners to desire becoming a part of an English language culture (Dörnyei, 1994) or to have started learning to speak English on their own initiative. In Japan, for instance, students begin learning English grammar and reading from the seventh grade, the impetus for learning English being entrance examination requirements for high school and college. Upon acceptance at a college, they may feel little personal desire to continue studying English. While some learners may have a chance to study English conversation in school at this time, most often with a native-speaking teacher, their classes will tend to be large, averaging from 38 to 50 students (LoCastro, 1988), and will generally meet only once a week (Caprio, 1990; Helgesen, 1987). With such limited opportunities for practice, they may not be confident about learning to speak, despite the English they already know. They may even believe themselves incapable of speaking it, and suffer the hopelessness common to many L2 learners (Dörnyei, 1994; Oxford and Shearin, 1994, 1996). With the added difficulty of trying to follow a native speaker, inevitably some may appear to spend a part of each class expressing their dissatisfaction through inattentiveness. It is little wonder that learner motivation may be the greatest concern of EFL teachers (Nunan, 1993). [-1-]

I have found that an effective method for increasing the motivation and achievement of EFL learners is to have them practice fluency by recording themselves while speaking in pairs (Schneider, 1998, 1998, 1993, 1995). Non-native speakers do as well if not better talking together than with a native speaker (Doughty and Pica, 1986). They have been shown to teach one another (Pica, 1994) and to almost never misinform (Long and Porter, 1985), to question each other about English usage more than a native speaker would (Bruton and Samuda, 1980), to correct one another (Bruton and Samuda, 1980), and to correct up to 50% of their own errors (Walz, 1986). They may not self-correct much with native speakers, who, Porter (1986) showed, tend to dominate conversations with non-native speakers and may even prevent them from pushing to express themselves by guessing what they want to say before they can say it. Non-native speakers -also have been shown to make fewer errors in interacting in ordinary conversations than in the transacting required in many rehearsal tasks (Ushimaru, 1992).

A literature review of general and ESL/EFL motivational theory and in particular with respect to the expectancy-value model follow.

The expectancy-value model of motivational achievement

Theories centering on either expectancy or values or both have been the source of the most influential conceptions in motivational psychology in the past forty years (Dörnyei, 1998). Research in motivation has tended to focus on either the valuing of doing an activity, whether for intrinsic or extrinsic reasons (Hunt, 1965; deCharms 1976, 1984; Deci, 1975; Deci and Ryan, 1985; Lepper, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi, 1985, 1990) and/or on expecting to succeed in the activity (Weiner, 1986; Bandura, 1977, 1982, 1986; Schunk, 1983, 1989; Bandura and Schunk, 1981). This distinction between valuing doing something and feeling one is able to do it is one that even first graders make (Wigfield, 1994).

In his attribution theory, Weiner (1984; 1986) proposed that the extent of future expectancy to succeed depends on what individuals attribute their past successes or failures to, whether to a stable factor such as ability, or to less stable ones like effort, luck, or task difficulty. Students who attribute a good grade on a test to ability are more likely to expect to do well on the next test than if they had attributed the grade to the test being easy or to being lucky. Conversely, attributing failure to inability, a stable factor, will have a more negative effect on the next test than attributing it to an unstable one like lack of study.

Expectancy of success in Weiner's attribution theory is similar to Bandura's (1977, 1982, 1986) concept of self-efficacy, the self-judgment of one's ability to perform a specific act. For Bandura, expectancy and self-efficacy are analogous, with the qualification that "outcome expectations," the beliefs that certain actions are necessary to produce an outcome, differ from "efficacy expectations," the beliefs that one can actually perform these actions. Knowing what must be done is not the same as being able to do it (Bandura, 1977, 1986; Bandura and Schunk, 1981). The greater one's self-efficacy to do a task, the greater will be the motivation to do it (Bandura, 1991). People are motivated to do what they think is possible for them to do (Weiner, 1986: 559). [-2-]

In her initial expectancy-value model, Eccles et al. (1983) proposed that expectancy for success in an achievement task and the subjective values for succeeding in the task are the best predictors of subsequently choosing the task, making effort in the task, persevering in the task, and succeeding at the task. In defining expectancy, she distinguished between interpretations of past events, self-competency beliefs, and expectancies for future success. The attributions within a specific domain are what we think are the reasons why we could or couldn't succeed in doing a task in the domain in the past. The general self-competency beliefs in that domain are what we think that we can or cannot do, dependent in part on how hard the task is and whether we were able to do one similar to it before. These self-competency beliefs influence, in turn, expectancies for future success at the task, what we are likely to think we later can or cannot do (Wigfield, 1994). Weiner likewise held that attributions precede ability perceptions in a given domain, which then causally precede expectancies for doing a task in the domain (1986). Wigfield and Eccles's (1992) results from 750 5th to 12th graders, however, revealed that feelings of competency in a domain, expectancies for success in the domain, and subsequent performance perceptions formed one factor, showing that the distinction between ability beliefs and expectancy for success had no empirical importance (Wigfield, 1994).

Eccles differentiated personal valuing into attainment value (or importance), intrinsic value (or intrinsic interest), extrinsic utility value, and cost value. The attainment value of a task, a term introduced by Battle (1965), is the importance of doing the task, its personal, familial, and social relevance to oneself. An example of personal importance is having an ongoing desire for mastery and achievement. The antecedents of achievement values for tasks in a specific domain are the achievement goals, which influence these achievement values and are the broader motivations for doing tasks, such as for one's career, or acting within the boundaries of socially-set behavior patterns such as honoring gender roles or parental values (Eccles et al., 1983; Eccles, 1984). The intrinsic value of a task is the interest in doing the task and the enjoyment of it that motivates one to want to do it. For explication of intrinsic value, Eccles referred readers to Deci and Ryan's studies of intrinsic motivation (Eccles et al., 1983)--which will be turned to below. The extrinsic or utility value of a task is its perceived usefulness, even if it is not currently important or interesting, perhaps due to a foreseeable future gain, such as fulfilling a requirement for college entrance by taking a language course in high school. Eccles and Wigfield (1991, 1995) later demonstrated that attainment values, intrinsic values, and utility values are independent factors. The cost value of a task is the effort spent in doing it that reduces the time available for other tasks and the negative costs of doing it such as having anxiety during performance or having a fear of failure (Eccles and Wigfield, 1991).

Other expectancy-value models similarly differentiate the types of values. In Pintrich's (1988) model, subjective value is composed of attainment value, intrinsic value, and utility value. Feather's (1988) model combines importance and intrinsic interests to form intrinsic value, an understandable reduction of the types of subjective value in that both the personal importance of a task and the interest and enjoyment in a task intrinsically motivate. [-3-]

Positive correlations have been found between expectancy and value (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield and Eccles, 1992; Meece, 1990), and between analogous variables: ability perceptions and student values (Candall et al., 1962), expectancy and attainment value (Battle, 1965), self-efficacy and being in control (Bandura, 1982), perception of self-efficacy and intrinsic interest (Schunk, 1982), and competency perceptions and intrinsic motivation (Harter, 1981; Ryan et al., 1985). Feather (1988) reported that college students' abilities in math and English were related to their valuing of these subjects, and Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde (1993) that greater self-esteem and self-efficacy accompany the intrinsically motivated state of being completely involved in doing a task.

Just as having greater skills but no greater challenge can result in boredom (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), something that becomes too easy to do may lose its value. Atkinson (1957) was the first to posit a relationship between being able to succeed in an activity and choosing to persevere in it (Wigfield and Eccles, 1992). He proposed that achievement in a task requires having both the ability to do the task, that is, expectancy for success, and the will to do the task due to a desire to succeed in it. Defining expectancy as anticipating success or failure on a task, and incentive value as finding it attractive to succeed in a task (Wigfield, 1994), he studied achievement motivation by having subjects throw a hoop over a ring from various distances. The higher the expectancy to succeed was, the lower was the challenge and thus the incentive value in doing it. In this, expectancy was the primary variable and incentive value was secondary, it being in inverse proportion to expectancy and determined by it. Value was also of less significance to Atkinson's student Weiner, for whom the value of succeeding at something was a constant whether one had high or low expectancy (Weiner, 1986; Wigfield and Eccles, 1992). Similarly, when studying children's self-efficacy in math, Bandura's colleague Schunk took it as a given that the children naturally valued doing school tasks (Schunk, 1983, 1989; Wigfield and Eccles, 1992).

While people may not value doing something that they feel very confident about succeeding in because they will not find it interesting then, the expectancy to succeed at something can also have a positive influence on the value of doing it. People, males especially, choose to do something because being good at it gives it importance to them, so that the more they expect to succeed in an activity, the more they value doing it (Wigfield and Eccles, 1992). Moreover, as seen above, expectancy-value models of motivational achievement include multiple ways of valuing and valuing an activity is in itself motivating if one is challenged by it, or has interest in it, or is involved in it, or enjoys it, or wants to do well in it or likes doing it well, or finds it useful.

Another commonly found relationship is that between expectancy and achievement (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield and Eccles, 1992). Weiner (1984, 1986) reported that, irrespective of ability, the greater the expectancy to achieve, the greater the likelihood to achieve. Bandura (1977, 1986) demonstrated that the more self-efficacy is felt with respect to an act, the more one will desire to do it, the harder and longer one will work at it, and the more one will accomplish, to the extent that the perception of self-efficacy may have more influence on motivation than actual ability. Locke et al. (1986) showed that, at any goal level, work performance increases proportionally with expectancy of success. [-4-]

However, contrary to her prediction that both expectancy and value were related to choice, effort, persistence, and success (1983), Eccles (1984) discovered, in a study of 5th to 12th graders, that achievement in math, as reflected in subsequent grades, was correlated more to the expectancy to do well in math than to the valuing of math for its importance, interest, or usefulness. Even more than to past grades, self-perceptions of ability and expectancies for success were related to future grades in math and English and to higher scores on standardized tests (Eccles and Wigfield, 1995). In another study, the confidence beliefs of 5th graders predicted their grades even nine years later (Wigfield, 1992). Battle (1965) had similarly revealed earlier, in 9th grader math and English students, that achievement had a higher correlation with expectancies for success than with achievement values.

Although value has not been reported correlated with achievement to the extent that expectancy has, Eccles (1984) conversely found that the valuing of math was more connected than expectancy to learners' intentions to take another math class and to their actually doing so (which could then result in further achievement for them). Feather (1988) likewise found that enrollment in college English was not related to having ability in English, but to valuing English, and Meese et al. (1990) that while subjective values were less connected to actual success than the expectation of success was, they were more related to intentions and choices than expectancy was. Others have also reported that the persistence of learners is positively affected by having intrinsic interest (Ryan, Connell, and Deci, 85; Weiner, 1992).

An expectancy-value model somewhat different from the representative one of Eccles et al. (1983) and Pintrich (1989) is Locke and Latham's (1990) model for work motivation. Vroom (1964) had introduced the expectancy-value theory to industrial/ organizational psychology, defining performance as a product of expectancy, instrumentality, and valence, where expectancy is the belief that effort will result in performance, instrumentality is the belief that performance will be rewarded, and valence is the valuing of the rewards. He reasoned that if valence and instrumentality, the desire for rewards and the belief in receiving them, were kept constant on a task, expectancy would have a positive relationship with the performance of the task. This proved true, according to Locke and Latham (1990), in that expectancy and performance have generally been found related when there are fixed goals and fixed rewards. Over 400 studies of goal-setting theory have revealed that when goals are specific and high and accompanied by high self-efficacy, performance is also high as long as there is commitment to the goals, the ability to fulfill them, sufficient autonomy, and feedback when success is revealed. Unlike the lack of goals or easy or vague goals such as "Do your best," clear, high goals challenge workers even if these were assigned to them, and self-efficacy makes them try harder and longer because they think that they can succeed. For more on the expectancy-value model, see Pintrich and Schunk's survey of motivation in education (1996). [-5-]

The intrinsic/extrinsic motivation models

To enjoy an activity is to desire doing it simply for its own sake (Aristotle as quoted in Rawls, 1971: 431-2); we are most inclined to pursue an activity because of the activity itself rather than for reasons external to the activity (Deci, 1975). This distinction between being moved from within or without has come to be termed that between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Asking people whether they will continue to do an activity if they are no longer required to do so will determine whether they are doing it for intrinsic or extrinsic reasons (Vallerand, 1997).

Csikszentmihalyi called the act of wholeheartedly doing something just to do it "flow," a term that subjects in his studies had used to characterize such experiences (Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde, 1993). Flow is an act of concentration in which time passes without any awareness of it having passed. It takes all of one's attention, leaving no space for the desire to be doing anything else (Csikszentmihalyi, 1985) or for self-consciousness or for the negative thoughts that commonly accompany boredom or apathy (Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde, 1993). Other requisites for flow are being in control of a task, having clear goals within it, and being challenged by it while possessing the skills to perform it. Such challenges must increase in proportion to increases in skills if one is to be truly able to put oneself into a task and enjoy concentrating on it fully and doing well. Lacking sufficient skills can over-challenge one and cause anxiety, while having more skills than required can lead to boredom. Vallerand (1997) equated this concept of experiencing flow with receiving pleasure, but while one can re-experience a pleasurable activity by doing it in the same manner as before, being completely involved and having the enjoyment of peak performance requires continual growth (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

There is considerable research on the efficacy of making choices, which, as Hunt was the first to propose (1965), also intrinsically motivates. deCharms (1984) had 5th to 7th graders set their own goals in classes so that their "loci of causality" would be internal. Having such options in their learning resulted in their being more self-confident and taking more risks in their learning, being more responsible for it, achieving more academically, and missing school less. Years later, they were still more responsible learners, had bigger career plans, and the boys among them were more likely to have graduated than boys who had not had the experience of being in charge of their learning (deCharms, 1984). Spring (1974) had also found that greater learner influence over classroom activities proportionately increased personal causation and the amount of learning. Likewise, learners allowed to choose which puzzles they were to solve in class learned more (Ryan, Connell, and Deci, 1985), and those who could determine the schedule for their homework assignments completed more of them (Wang, 1983). Increased effort results from perceiving that one has played a role in causing an event (Maehr and Archer, 1987).

The efficacy of making choices is due to people desiring power over their own lives (Deci, 1975; deCharm, 1984; Deci and Ryan, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1989; Deci et al., 1991). They determine one course of action over another, whenever they can, by consciously choosing to do something that they want to do (Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1989). Their authority to choose their own actions is motivating (Deci and Ryan, 1983; Dörnyei, 1994) and is positively correlated with doing well, that is, with having increased conceptual learning, better long-term memory, and greater creativity; with feeling positive emotions, enjoyment, and satisfaction; with being self-initiating and self-responsible; and with having an interest in learning, valuing learning, and having confidence in being able to learn. [-6-]

Conversely, doing things for a reward can take away one's feeling of ownership of them. With an "external locus of causality" (Rotter, 1966), one can feel pushed around or like a "pawn" (deCharms, 1984). Being watched over, being forced to rehearse, receiving deadlines, being threatened with grades, or competing with others inhibits learning (Ryan et al., 1985; Lepper, 1983; Maehr, 1976). Whatever takes place as a process of compliance or coercion rather than discovery has lesser tendency to be internalized and made into one's own (Ryan et al., 1985). Even doing an interesting task to avoid negative consequences may decrease intrinsic motivation and related parameters (Deci et al., 1991). As long-time proponent of intrinsic motivation in language learning H. Doug Brown (1994) has said, we are not motivated to consume what is shoved down our throats.

A representative externally controlled form of learning is preparation for a test. Grolnick and Ryan (1987) showed that 5th graders who were given material to read and told that it was for learning had the same retention of its details on the test as those asked to learn the material for it but had a better grasp of central concepts than them. In a follow-up study ten days later, those who had thought they had been learning for the test remembered significantly fewer details. This loss was attributed to "core dumping," the common discarding, after a test, of all the material learned for it (Ryan et al., 1985). The ease with which we forget things learned for exams suggests the value of intrinsic motivation for long-term retention (Brown, 1994).

The self-determination theory, an extension of Deci and Ryan pioneering studies on the intrinsic/ extrinsic dichotomy (1983) posited that for an activity to be intrinsically rewarding, it must fulfill the basic human needs for experiencing competence, relatedness, and autonomy. People feel competence in repeatedly succeeding in an activity, relatedness in doing activities with others, and autonomy in making choices about activities and having personal control over them. Satisfying any of these three needs increases intrinsic motivation, but competence and relatedness do so only if accompanied by some form of autonomy.

Deci and Ryan (1985) further differentiated extrinsic motivation into four types dependent on the degree of self-determination that learners have in it. These range from external regulation, extrinsic motivation for a task over which one has no control, to integrated regulation, extrinsic motivation for a task that one wholeheartedly accepts and adopts. While the more controlling and so less self-determining that regulation is, the less learning takes place (Deci et al., 1991), an extrinsically motivated activity, even a test, can be self-determining if learners accept the value of it.

Vallerand (1997) further refined the elements of self-determination theory into a hierarchy of motivations for doing an activity: in ascending order of effectiveness, amotivation, having no reason to do an activity; three of the four above categories of extrinsic motivation, having to do an activity, feeling obligated to do it, and fully agreeing with the value of doing it; and three types of intrinsic motivation, getting pleasure from doing an activity, achieving by doing it, and satisfying a curiosity or desire for knowledge in doing it. In other words, learners are self-determining and intrinsically motivated in learning when they are interested in it, want to do well in it, or enjoy doing it. They are self-determining but extrinsically motivated when they value learning because of its importance to them, are extrinsically motivated but less self-determining when learning what they feel they ought to, and are not self-determined when learning what they have to do or else. They are not motivated at all when they have no reason to learn. [-7-]

Another way that learning imposed from outside may not necessarily impede motivation is if, because of it, learners acquire a knowledge of or proficiency in a subject that causes them to have interest in the subject (Deci et al., 1991). As Lepper (1983) stated, the best way to counter the possible demotivating effects of external controls on the performance of a learning activity is if the continuance of it results in acquiring abilities that have value for learners. Indeed, most tasks are begun for externally motivated reasons, according to Csikszentmihalyi (1990), such as receiving money or recognition or something else of external value; only over time do people find themselves interested in and enjoying such tasks (Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1989).

ESL/EFL studies

Gardner and Lambert (1959) pioneered the investigation of the relevance of learner attitudes and motivation in foreign language study (Dörnyei, 1994). Two of Lambert's students (1955) were Americans with unusually high levels of proficiency in French but with different reasons for having acquired it. One identified strongly with France and French culture while the other was an experienced French teacher (Gardner and MacIntyre, 1993). It was subsequently found that students who wanted to be with and/or be like the native speakers of a specific foreign language, those with an "integrative orientation," had a more open and positive regard towards the native speakers and their culture and towards foreign languages in general (Tremblay and Gardner, 1995). Such students were also more motivated and so more active, hardworking and successful in their learning than those with an "instrumental orientation," who felt that studying the language would be useful to their lives or careers (Gardner, 1988).

Gardner and Lambert (1972) also found that achievement in language study was correlated with motivation, which in turn was influenced by learners' attitudes. With the subsequent development and use of the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) for studying the influences on French language achievement of learner aptitude, attitudes, and motivation, Gardner and Smythe (1981) demonstrated that motivation had a greater correlation with learner achievement than did attitudes towards the learning situation, i.e., the teacher and class, or with "integrativeness" (the summation of the integrative orientation, made up of attitudes towards French Canadians, attitudes towards European French people, and interest in foreign languages). Motivation was also a greater contributor to learners choosing to continue their language study than language aptitude, or attitudes towards foreign language speakers and cultures, or attitudes towards the learning situation (Gardner, 1988). While Gardner stressed the importance of the "integrative motive" (Oxford and Shearin, 1994), the summation of integrativeness, motivation, and attitudes towards the learning situation, he said that the integrative motive was only a useful way of labeling a collection of motivations and attitudes and did not actually exist, and that the origins of motivation were not important so long as it and the affective attitudes required to maintain it were present (1985). [-8-]

For nearly thirty years this "socio-educational model" dominated the discussion of motivation (Gardner and Lambert, 1959; Gardner and Lambert, 1972; Gardner 1885, 1988; Gardner and McIntyre, 1993; Tremblay and Gardner, 1995). One result of this may have been the relatively little research being done elsewhere on motivation in ESL/EFL (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991). Many researchers eventually came to question the universality of this model, with its focus on sociologically impacted motivation (Oxford and Shearin, 1994), perceiving it as most suited, linguistically and politically, to the situation in Canada where social integrativeness remained a national goal (Dörnyei, 1990).

Also, independent findings were not always compatible with the integrative/instrumental framework as it was understood (Dörnyei, 1990; Oxford and Shearin, 1994). Being good at studying a foreign language may also motivate learners (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991; Savignon, 1972), a perspective with which Gardner may not have initially concurred (1985: 99). Early successes or failures in learning a language may have as much an effect on future language learning as a positive attitude about a specific foreign culture (Burstall, 1975). Those who have failed in learning a foreign language may have negative feelings towards its native speakers that are much stronger than the positive feelings of those who have succeeded (Schumann, 1978; Hermann, 1980). Fulfilling entrance or curriculum requirements is also a motivation for learning a language (Ely, 1986). Those who become "hooked" on the language (Oxford and Shearin, 1994) in this manner will continue past the common terminal point of study often for reasons other than purely instrumental (Ramage, 1990). Two-thirds of a group of American high school students studying Japanese gave motives for learning Japanese that were neither instrumental nor integrative (Oxford and Shearin, 1994). Learning a language in a country where it is not spoken may not be integratively motivating with respect to some particular culture where it is spoken but rather to foreign things and languages in general (Dörnyei, 1990; 1994). Increased language proficiency may motivate learners to develop more positive attitudes not only towards learning the language but also towards the people and culture associated with it (Au, 1988). The motivations for language learning differ across cultures and learning contexts (Oller, 1981), dependent on "who is learning what where" (Dörnyei, 1994), and can vary within individuals at different times in their lives (Oxford and Shearin, 1994; Ehrman, 1996; Schumann, 1998).

Many scholars (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991; Schmidt, Boraie and Kassabgy, 1996; Oxford and Shearin, 1994; Brown, 1994; Dörnyei, 1994, 1996, among others) subsequently attempted to expand on the socio-educational model (Dörnyei, 1996, 1998) or to look beyond social milieus to what teachers could do to motivate learners (Dörnyei, 1994; 1996), but without denying the relevancy of the model in specific circumstances (Dörnyei, 1998), and while paying due tribute to Gardner and his colleagues for introducing the concept of motivation to foreign language teaching and defining the methods of measurement and analysis that brought the research of motivation to maturity (Dörnyei, 1994). They often turned to mainstream motivational psychology for answers (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991; Oxford and Shearin, 1994; Dörnyei, 1996, 1998). [-9-]

The expectancy-value theory was one of the three mainstream approaches to motivation, together with the self-determination and goal theories, both of which it incorporated, that began to receive validation in these nineties studies (Dörnyei, 1998). In 1995, Tremblay and Gardner demonstrated that the motivational dimensions of goal salience, valence, and self-efficacy, among others, mediated between affective language attitudes and motivational behavior. Students were more motivated and learned more if they set goals for themselves in their language learning, or personally valued the learning, or had high self-efficacy in their learning. In this study, the concept of integrativeness received no more attention than the other five influences on attitude. Gardner and MacIntyre (1993) had earlier responded to criticisms of the stress on integrative motivation, stating that integrativeness did not contribute to motivation in all situations by any means, and that the integrative and instrumental motives were not in a polar relationship but were often positively correlated and simultaneously motivating (Clément, Smythe, and Gardner, 1977; Gardner and Smythe, 1981; also in Clément, Dörnyei, and Noel, 1994). Gardner (1996) later stated that motivation is an internal force that is possibly affected by orientations, strongly interpersonal and/or strongly practical and/or other external forces, that represent goals or motives and are common reasons for learners being motivated, though not components of motivation. He added that the most important premise of the socio-educational model, one shared with other models, was that motivation affects achievement.

Gardner did oppose identifying integrative motivation with intrinsic motivation, as doing so would ignore the influence of community on motivation (1996), yet, interestingly, each part of his definition of motivation (1985) has components that are analogous to those in Eccles' expectancy-value model of motivation and resultant behavior: "Individuals who are truly motivated not only strive to learn the material"-effort in Eccles et al.'s (1983) motivated behavior­"but also seek out situations where they can obtain further practice"­choice in Eccles' motivated behavior. "Furthermore, such individuals will have definite cognitions about the value of achieving competence"­Eccles' achievement value­"(for whatever reasons)"­Eccles' ---achievement goals­"and will find the experience enjoyable"­Eccles' intrinsic value.

Schmidt et al.(1996) directly addressed the correspondence between integrative and intrinsic motivation. They stated that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation resemble integrative and instrumental motivation, respectively, but are not identical to them in that both the integrative and the instrumental motives are extrinsic in being focused on goals, the one to become closer to native speakers, the other to get ahead. They also pointed out that intrinsic and integrative motivation differ in that someone who needs to learn a language in order to relate with native speakers may not enjoy learning it, "[+integrative][-intrinsic]," while someone with no integrative goal may nevertheless learn a language because of the enjoyment found in doing so, "[-integrative] [+intrinsic]." The latter is particularly representative of EFL learners, who seem able to experience seeing movies in English, listening to music in English, reading in English, or taking a vacation in a country whose people speak English as interesting, enjoyable things to do irrespective of whether they have positive feelings towards native speakers, or value relating to them or value being close to them. [-10-]

Schumann's (1998) analysis of the Attitude/ Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) also suggested the influence of intrinsic motivation in the socio-educational model. Using Scherer's (1984) causation stimulus appraisal model of motivation, Schumann demonstrated the degree to which the 64 AMTB items for measuring integrativeness and motivation originate in neural stimulus appraisals in the brain for appealingness/pleasantness, all but two of the 64 originating, at least partially, in them. Twelve of the 64 items are also connected with the stimulus appraisal for goal significance, but only two of these exclusively so, implying the lesser importance of goal significance in integrativeness and motivation in the socio-educational model.

In a study of 301 Hungarian 11th graders using an AMTB-type survey, Clément et al. (1994) found three sub processes that were each correlated with achievement: integrative motivation, classroom cohesion, and self-confidence, defined as a combination of having a lack of anxiety about using a language and having a cognition of proficiency in it (The self-perceived proficiency element of Clément's self-confidence, while resembling expectancy, refers more to a general competency belief than to the self-efficacy to perform a particular action (Tremblay and Gardner, 1995; Dörnyei, 1998). Although subjects had no contact with native speakers, self-confidence was the sub process most highly related to success, establishing its importance in an EFL context. Similar to reports about the relationship between expectancy and achievement (Eccles et al., 1983; Wigfield, 1994; Wigfield and Eccles, 1992; Weiner, 1984; 1986; Bandura, 1977, 1986; Harter, 1981; Ryan et al., 1985), Clément et al. (1977, 1980) had previously demonstrated in a multicultural environment that the greater self-confidence of language learners who had actual contact with native speakers was the greatest determiner of their attitude and effort (i.e., motivation) in learning the language and was also the factor most related to improved performance. Earlier, Clément, Smythe and Gardner (1976) had found that motivation and interest in foreign languages inversely predicted the dropout rate in French classes, in other words, that motivated and interested language learners were more inclined than others to continue studying. This is comparable to the previously reported correlation between subjective values and further goal to study in expectancy-value research (Eccles et al., 1983; Eccles, 1984; Feather, 1988; Meese et al., 1990; Pintrich and De Groot, 1990; Eccles and Wigfield, 1995; Wigfield, 1992; 1994).

The first explicit use of an expectancy-value model in language learning was in Schmidt, Boraie, and Kassabgy's 1996 study of 1,554 adults in extension EFL courses in an Egyptian university. They adopted a composite of models from Keller (1983), deCharms (1968), Maehr and Archer (1987), Pintrich (1989), and Dörnyei (1990), none of which, apart from Pintrich's, was an expectancy-value model, but all treating motivation as multifactor in that "[p]eople will approach activities that they consider valuable and relevant to their personal goals and that they expect to succeed at." Schmidt and his colleagues subsequently found, using multidimensional scaling, three motivational subsets, which they labeled "affect" (after also considering "enjoyment" and "intrinsic motivation"), "goal orientation," and "expectancy," reminiscent of intrinsic values, achievement values, and expectancy in the expectancy-value model. Each dimension was positively related to achievement, but only affect increased with level of proficiency, with advanced learners enjoying studying more than other level learners did. As mentioned before, enjoyment in using a skill increases as ability in the skill increases (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), just as extrinsically motivated learning becomes intrinsically motivated as people come to like to learn what they have had to learn (Deci et al., 1991; Lepper, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1989). That is, the more proficient learners become in English, the more they can be expected to obtain enjoyment from learning and using English. [-11-]

Another model with correspondences to the expectancy-value was Schumann's (1998) above-mentioned neurological model of stimulus appraisal (Scherer, 1984) positing that motivation originates in the brain's five methods for evaluating received stimuli. These determine whether stimuli are familiar, are appealing, relate to personal goals or needs, can be successfully coped with, or are compatible with personal or social values or those of important others. The stimulus appraisal for familiarity checks, for instance, whether something has been eaten before and so is safe to eat, a biological search for the tried and true that interprets things that are new to us as foreign to us. Schumann proposed that all motivational models describe the emergent properties of stimulus appraisals and share a common source in this small number of stimuli receptors. He demonstrated this by categorizing the items on representative ESL/EFL motivation surveys into the type(s) of stimulus appraisal that they elicited, often finding, as shown above with the integrative motive model, that they originated in particular neural appraisals. Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura's (1989) proposal that a task is rewarding when there is a match between the challenge it poses and the perceived skill in meeting the challenge corresponds to the appealingness appraisal having identified a new and positive challenge and the coping potential appraisal having identified sufficient skill for dealing with the challenge (89). Goal setting, expectancy/self-efficacy and attributions in Tremblay and Gardner's (1995) demonstration of their motivational effect are related to stimulus appraisals for goal/need significance, coping potential, and appealingness/pleasantness, respectively (94). Schumann also suggests that the dissatisfaction expressed with Gardner's earlier model was connected to the overwhelming number of AMTB items that prompted stimulus appraisals for appealingness (175). Clément, et al. (1994) reported factors concerned with integrativeness and instrumentality when using survey items referring to appraisals for appealingness and goal significance (101). Schmidt et al.'s (1996) discovery of an expectancy-value model based on affect, goal orientation, and expectancy came from inquiring about stimulus appraisals for pleasantness, goal relevance, and coping potential (96; 102).

Two more recent studies have directly addressed intrinsic motivation in SLA. The research of Noels, Clément, and Pelletier (1999) looked at the connection between intrinsic motivation and whether learners had autonomy and received useful feedback. It revealed that intrinsic motivation was related to greater language success, greater motivational intensity, greater perceived competence, and less anxiety, and that learners whose teachers were controlling and permitted them little autonomy were less intrinsically motivated. That of Noels, Clément, Pelletier, and Vallerand (2000) showed the Deci, Ryan and Vallerand's self-determination hierarchy accurately delineated language learner motivation and that self-determined learners were less likely to feel anxious or to give up studying the language. [-12-]

Preliminary study

A preliminary study of pair taping was conducted with second-year Japanese college learners in their eighth or more year of studying English. At the beginning of the first of two semesters, the teacher gave an option to the 50 students each in two sections of an English conversation course: instead of attending their once-a-week class, individuals could record conversations in English in pairs in the university's language laboratory or elsewhere for an equivalent amount of time as the class, but divided into equal parts over four days a week. Within this format, learners could talk about whatever they wanted to, whenever they liked, and with whomever they wished, as long as they spoke only English, were not silent, and did not stop recording after they had started. They were to submit these tapes to the teacher once a week. (An added incentive for their speaking continuously in English may have been their knowledge that the teacher would be monitoring conversations with these tapes.) Those who opted to remain in an ordinary class would use the second volume of the communicative course book from the previous year (Richards and Bycina's Person to Person, 1984), with extra opportunities for free conversation. Changing from one option to the other was permitted at the beginning of the second semester--and was mostly from the ordinary class to pair taping--and those few learners who proved unable to keep up in their taping were asked to return to the regular class [1].

In the second week of the school year, learners in both groups in the two classes recorded 22 minutes of unstructured speaking in pairs. They also took a listening comprehension test consisting of 23 questions from an item-analyzed TOEFL examination (one without any questions that all of a representative group of intermediate Japanese college learners had answered correctly or incorrectly). In the last week of classes of the first and second semesters, learners repeated this procedure, making tapes with the same partner and retaking the listening comprehension test. Administering the same listening comprehension questions was thought to be adequate for determining changes in comprehension levels in the same learners. All learners then answered "Do you enjoy speaking English more now," "Is it easier for you to speak English now," and "How much has your English speaking improved?" with "[Yes,] a lot," "[Yes,] some," [Yes,] a little," or "[No,] not at all." The pair taping learners also responded with these to, "Do you think taping conversations in English is useful?" and "Do you think it is more useful to speak English in many short periods a week than in one usual class?" All students further indicated whether they had spoken or listened to English anywhere else during the time of the course other than in their English literature class taught by another teacher in Japanese.

Proving an experimental hypothesis requires random sampling (Gardner, 1996), and the self-selection of learning style here precluded making quantitative statistical analyses of differences between those who did pair taping and those who did not. [2] In classroom research such as this, however, both actual differences between the data of the groups and factor analysis of the data of the test group may also have persuasive power. As it is, few teachers would consider adopting an experimental protocol that might prevent current learners from using a promising technique so that future learners might benefit. In any case, I did not have the authority to arbitrarily assign learners to do pair taping, which almost always took place outside of the scheduled class time. Moreover, the perception of self-control that these learners had from having considerable say in their study, from whether or not to do pair taping and with whom, to when and where to do it, and what to talk about, could be predicted to increase their motivation (Deci et al., 1991). [-13-]

Being able to choose their mode of studying was also considered important for those who chose not to tape. Learners have preferred learning styles (Reid, 1987). Nunan (1988) reported that Willing found that immigrants to Australia learned language best through analyzing its structure, yet enjoyed communicating in it, while another 30% were person-oriented yet preferred teacher-centered learning. Similarly, Skehan posited the existence of two separate types of aptitude, one for learning language analytically as a system, and another for learning language in pieces (1991). Wesche had previously discovered that language learners with an analytical aptitude enjoyed learning more and did better when taught by a complementary methodology (1981). Skehan concluded that the most success with language teaching comes when combining learner characteristics with compatible pedagogies (1991). Forcing learners to use an approach that was antithetical to them could have had a negative effect on their learning.

Preliminary results (Schneider, 1993) comparing self-reported achievement and changes in attitudes towards speaking English at the end of the second semester showed differences between those who elected to do pair taping and those who decided to remain in class. After elimination of the data of individuals who had had significant extracurricular contact with English, such as through membership in a club for speaking English, attendance in an English class outside of school, or travel abroad, and of individuals who had changed from one of the groups to the other, the pair taping learners (25) had greater positive changes in ease and enjoyment of speaking English and more improvement than classroom learners (31). The pair taping learners were also very positive about the usefulness of taping and of speaking English in many short periods a week rather than attending the usual class. Both groups were further reported to have had similar initial listening ability and equal change in it: the means of the correct answers to the 23 questions on the listening comprehension test were, at the beginning of the first of the two semesters, 9.5 [±2.4] for the pair taping learners and 9.6 [±2.4] for the classroom learners, and 13.2 [±2.8] and 12.4 [±2.6] at the end of the second. Thus, not having had extensive contact with a native-speaking teacher or not using a text with listening practices was concluded not to have adversely affected the listening comprehension of the pair taping learners.


For another three years, second-year college learners in the same institution had the option to do pair taping. In the second and third year, this was for 30 minutes three times a week as previous learners had expressed some difficulty with scheduling four times. Also, groups of six to ten pair tapers met with the teacher every third week for 30 minutes to report on how the taping was proceeding and to listen to each other's tapes. Another change in the procedure within the three years was that learners in the first year answered questions from the preliminary study three times, at the beginning of the first semester and at the beginning and the end of the second semester, while learners in the succeeding two years answered more questions and only at the beginning and the end of the year. Because of these differences in data and data collection, most of the results from the first of the three years were discarded. The additional questions in the second and third years, with the same responses as in the preliminary study, were: "Do you feel less worried about speaking English now," "Has your English speaking improved," "Do you feel more relaxed about speaking English now," "Do you feel more confident about speaking English now," "Do you feel closer to the teacher now," and "Do you want to improve [your English speaking] more now than before?" [-14-]

The questionnaire data from the second and third years were combined to increase the number of participants used for analysis. This was necessitated by many classroom learners having switched to pair taping for the second semester, leaving both years with a much smaller number of classroom learners than pair taping learners. [3] However, listening comprehension data from the initial year was compatible with that from the following two years as learners in all three years took the test at the beginning of the first semester and at the end of the second, and the data of these three years was combined so as to increase the number of learners sampled.

Also, a fifth year of learners, who had been given the option to pair tape for a single semester, were asked at the end of it, in written Japanese, to plot on a time axis changes in their speaking ability throughout the semester. These one-semester learners also selected, again in Japanese, what they considered was the ideal class for studying English conversation: only doing pair taping, only taking the usual class, having a mixture of the two, or having some other style of class.

Lastly, factor analysis was performed on the questionnaire data with Microsoft SPSS-X 9.0, but only on the data of the learners doing pair taping (73), due to the prohibitively limited number of learners remaining in the class for a second semester. A Scree Test revealed the optimum number of factors to be five; with the minimum eigenvalue set at 0.90, this accounted for 72.6% of the variance. Oblimin rotation, selected because it yielded the clearest differentiation of factors and correlations between the factors, converged in 19 iterations. The criterion for loadings was taken as greater than 0.40.


Fig. 1a shows the means of the pair taping and classroom learners' answers to the questionnaire, and Fig. 1b the differences between their means.

Fig. 1a -- Arithmetic means of answers of pair taping learners and classroom learners


Fig. 1b -- Differences between arithmetic means of answers of pair taping learners and classroom learners (from Fig. 1a)

The pair taping learners (73) had higher means than the classroom learners (28) for every question except that for being closer to the teacher: they enjoyed speaking English more than before than them, felt more confident than before than them, had improved more than them, wanted to improve more than before than them, felt speaking was easier than before than them, felt more relaxed speaking than before than them, and felt slightly less worried than before than them. On the listening comprehension test, pair taping learners (90) went from answering a mean of 10.0 [±3.0] questions to a mean of 11.1 [±3.1], while those who remained in class (44) went from 9.8 [±3.0] to 10.8 [±3.1]. These were nearly equal increases, of 11.5% for the pair taping learners and 10.7% for the classroom learners. This demonstrated again that the type of class that learners chose to take had no effect on improvement in their listening skills. [4]

Table 1a is the pattern matrix of sorted factors of the pair taping learners' means, and Table 1b is the correlations between these factors.

Table 1a: Factor analysis summary of the means of the pair taping learners

Oblimin Rotated Factor Pattern Matrix, Communalities (h2), and Eigenvalues
                Factor        1      2      3        4       5       h2  
Enjoy speaking more?        .517     -       -      .429     -      .584  
Feel more confident? .873 - - - - .795
Have improved? .776 - - - - .633
Feel less worried? - .903 - - - .838
Want more to improve? - -.436 - .585 - .576
Feel closer to the teacher? - - .628 - - .647
Speaking often more useful? - - -.806 - - .804
Is taping useful? - - - .854 - .810
Is it easier to speak? - - - - .930 .841
Feel more relaxed? - - - - .675 .734
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Eigenvalues 3.13 1.18 1.09 .96 .91
Factor 1 = More confident, improved; Factor 2 = Less worried, wanting less to improve; Factor 3 = Speaking often more useful, less close to the teacher; Factor 4 = Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve; Factor 5 = Easier to speak, more relaxed speaking. [-16-]

Table 1b: Factor correlation matrix of the means of the pair taping learners

                                        Factor          1      2      3      4       5
1. More confident, improved                            1.00
2. Less worried, wanting less to improve .06 1.00
3. Speaking often more useful, less close to teacher -.00 -.00 1.00
4. Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve .31** -.04 .02 1.00
5. Easier to speak, more relaxed speaking .36** .06 -.02 .24* 1.00
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ * = P<. 05; ** = P<.01.

Factor 1 received high loadings from the means of the answers to "Do you feel more confident about speaking English now?" and "Has your English speaking improved?" and a third and lower loading from the mean for "Do you enjoy speaking English more now than at the beginning of the year?" Labeled More confident, improved, this factor appears to reflect a relationship commonly found between expectancy and improvement with the expectancy-value theory of motivated achievement (Eccles, 1983; 1984), and between expectancy and improvement and intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1975). These concepts will be taken up later.

Factor 2 was termed Less worried, wanting less to improve due to its high loading from the mean of "Do you feel less worried about speaking English now?" and somewhat lower and negative one from the mean of "Do you want to improve your English speaking more now [than you did at the beginning of the year]?" The implication is that feeling less necessity to continue to learn to speak English is connected to becoming less worried about speaking it.

Factor 3, labeled Speaking often more useful, less close to teacher, has high loadings from the mean of " . . .do you think it is more useful to speak English in many short periods a week than in one usual class?" and, with reversed polarity, the mean of "Do you feel closer to the teacher now?" This may reflect the understandably inverse relationship between speaking frequently outside of class and feeling closer to the teacher.

Factor 4 receives a high loading from the mean of " . . . do you think that taping conversations in English is useful?" and lower ones from the means of "Do you want to improve your English speaking more now?" and "Do you enjoy speaking English more now than at the beginning of the year?" This connection between finding the practice useful, feeling increased enjoyment, and having greater desire to improve resembles another relationship commonly found with the expectancy-value model, that between valuing an activity and desiring to continue doing the activity; the factor was termed -Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve. [-17-]

Factor 5 has a dominant loading from the mean of "Is it easier for you to speak English now?" and a somewhat lower one from the mean of "Do you feel more relaxed about speaking English now?" and was labeled Easier to speak, more relaxed speaking. As seen in the component correlation matrix in Table 1b, Easier to speak, more relaxed speaking is correlated with both More confident, improved (p<.01) and Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve (p<.05). The latter two are also correlated (p<.01). Neither Less worried, wanting less to improve nor Speaking often more useful, less close to teacher have correlations with other factors.


As previously suggested, findings with the expectancy-value and intrinsic motivational models shed light on the results in this study of the pair taping learners. Their largest mean, that for wanting to improve English speaking more than before (Fig. 1a), was also the mean that was the most higher than that of the classroom learners' (Fig. 1b). [5] Their mean for enjoying speaking English more, indicative of their intrinsic motivation, was also among their highest (Fig. 1a) and was the second highest than classmates' (Fig. 1b). These means loaded together, in Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve, with the very high mean for the usefulness of taping conversations in English (Fig. 1a).

Although this mean represents an evaluation not of the personal importance of speaking English but of the pair taping technique per se, its inclusion shows that finding pair taping useful was related to increased intrinsic motivation and desire to continue. Factor analysis reveals neither the causative relationship between variables nor the influence of an uninvestigated variable (Gardner, 1996). That said, this co-occurrence of the mean for rating pair taping highly with those for enjoying speaking English more and for desiring to improve more, two of the pair taping learners' highest means and also the two highest in comparison to classmates', parallels the above finding with the expectancy-value theory that valuing a subject (which here includes valuing it because of enjoying it and valuing the method itself) is related to desiring to keep on improving in it.

The implication is that the pair tapers' greater increased enjoyment of speaking English than their classmates' may have had an influence on their greater increased desire than them to improve. Being motivated to continue studying speaking English is especially important for those in their last conversation course. Giving any class of intermediate or upper intermediate learners the opportunity to do a fluency practice may thus target increasing their valuing of speaking English and their corresponding desire to go on studying it.

The pair taping learners' moderately increased means for feeling more confident about speaking than before and for speaking having improved (Fig. 1a), [6] both moderately higher than the others' means (Fig. 1b), were factors in More confident, improved, along with the mean for enjoying English more. This suggests, again with the caveat with respect to factor analysis directionality, that the pair tapers' greater self-evaluated improvement than classmates' is connected to their greater increase in confidence than them. This connection between confidence and improvement is one, as shown previously, very often found in studies with expectancy-value and other motivational models. [-18-]

The fact that the pair tapers' mean that was representative of intrinsic motivation appeared as a variable with expectancy and improvement may reflect an increase in their enjoyment in using a skill occurring with their greater proficiency in the skill (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Schunk, 1989). Schmidt et al. (1996) found that the level of English speaking proficiency of Egyptian learners was correlated with their enjoyment of speaking English. A possible model for this greater increase in intrinsic motivation in both the expectancy/achievement and value/continuance factors here may be that the confidence that the pair taping learners had in speaking English increased as they improved in it, and as they improved, their enjoyment increased and the more they wanted to improve.

Another increased mean of the pair tapers that was higher than classroom learners' was that for feeling more relaxed about speaking English than before (Fig. 1a), the difference between the two being the third largest (Fig. 1b). It co-occurred with the increased mean for speaking English being easier than before, which was also higher than that of the others'. The correlation of this factor, Easier to speak, more relaxed speaking, with the factors More confident, improved (p<0.01) and Valuing practicing, wanting more to improve (p<0.05) (Table 1b) demonstrated a relationship between speaking with greater ease and relaxation with both increases in confidence in speaking English and achievement in it and with greater valuing of speaking English and greater desire for improvement in it. Perhaps as the pair taping learners found speaking English more relaxed and easier, they also became more confident about it and more proficient in it, and came to like speaking English more and wanted to study it more as well.

The pair tapers' mean most similar to classmates' was their moderately increased mean for feeling less worried about speaking English than before (Figs. 1a & 1b). Why both groups had equal decrease in worry is not clear, although conceivably, when the pair tapers were asked in English about "worry," the cultural weight of the Japanese, shimpai, might have obscured in their responses any extra ameliorating effect that doing a fluency practice had on their degree of worry about speaking. The polarized relationship of this mean with that for wanting to improve English speaking more than before, in the factor Less worried, wanting less to improve, may be indicative of a degree of release from the negatively charged emotion of worry leaving the pair taping learners with less compulsion to continue learning to speak English. The lack of correlation between Less worried, wanting less to improve and the factors for having more confidence/ improving and for valuing speaking more/desiring more to improve (Table 1b) is suggestive of Eccles' (1983) afore-mentioned placement of anxiety into a category of subjective valuing dependent of valuing importance, interest, and usefulness.

The moderately increased mean for feeling closer to the teacher (Fig. 1a) was the only mean of lesser magnitude than that of classmates (Fig. 1b). This makes sense in lieu of the much greater contact that classmates had with the teacher. The mean factored negatively, in Speaking often more useful, feeling less close to teacher, with the high mean for the usefulness of speaking several times a week in short periods outside of class rather than once a week in class. This may reflect the predictable relationship between perceiving the efficacy of speaking English multiple times a week outside of class and feeling more distant from the teacher, with whom very little time was subsequently spent. [-19-]

Regrettably, little attention was paid in this or other expectancy-value studies to feelings of affiliation and its relationship to other variables. As mentioned above, affiliation is a central component (with autonomy and intrinsic motivation) of the self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985). In Clément et al. (1994), class cohesion was found (with self-confidence and the integrative motive) to be an independent component of motivation. It was also highlighted as an often-neglected group-specific motivation in Dörnyei's 1998 survey of ESL/EFL motivational studies, and dealt with in Ehrman and Dörnyei's 1998 book on the dynamics of relationships in language classes. My own observation is that friendliness towards one another is an important element in making doing pair taping appear less of a chore to learners than going to class.


Pair taping learners reported greater quantitative increases than classroom learners in self-confidence and improvement (in expectancy and achievement), in enjoyment and wanting to improve (in intrinsic valuing and desire to achieve), and in relaxation and ease of speaking. It must be reiterated that the fact that learners were not randomly selected prevented statistical validation of the results, nor was it proved that the success with pair taping was independent of frequency of speaking or other variables such as learning style preferences, aptitude, ability, or classroom cohesion (Clément et al., 1994; Dörnyei, 1994; Dörnyei, 1998). What I hope to have shown in this classroom research is that the pair taping has promise and that it and other fluency practices merit more controlled study in the future.

It remains to detail some of the advantages of doing fluency practices. This study demonstrates that allowing learners to speak freely may have had an effect on their confidence to succeed in learning to speak. According to Bandura (1982), four types of evidence affect self-efficacy in doing a task: seeing others with comparable ability succeed in it, personally experiencing success in it, being told that success in it is possible, and feeling less anxiety when doing it. Although Tremblay and Gardner's (1995) suggested that it is easier for teachers to influence goals and values than self-efficacy, fluency practices may provide all of these. Seeing partners succeed in speaking should help learners believe that they can also succeed. Practicing speaking should give learners the experience of succeeding at speaking. Having the teacher show confidence in them by letting them speak should encourage learners to believe that they can speak. Becoming more familiar with speaking should make them feel less worried and more relaxed about speaking.

Fluency practices are not appropriate tasks at all levels of proficiency, however. Self-efficacy is based on the perception of ability in a previously learned skill, but once a skill becomes well established, it is actual proficiency rather than expectancy that motivates (Schunk, 1989). Learners who know that they can do something are no longer motivated by that knowledge but by the enjoyment they receive from doing it (Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 1989). Very proficient language learners are thus unlikely to be motivated by further experiences demonstrating their ability to speak. Beginners, on the other hand, cannot experience expectancy to succeed in skills that they do not possess. [-20-]

Where expectancy should be of specific relevance is in the motivation and achievement of intermediate learners. This is particularly true for the great number of EFL learners who, despite their knowledge of English, have never considered succeeding in speaking it and so lack confidence and are unmotivated. Recognizing, through doing fluency practices, that they can express themselves in English should encourage learners with low expectancy to overcome their feeling of "I can't." Such learners should find, if gradually, that success is coming from effort made in the past, and discover that the power to succeed is in their hands (Weiner, 1986). Belief in the high probability of future success comes from learners perceiving that success results from their own effort (Schunk, 1989). Brown also suggests that fluency practices may help intermediate learners to break through their anxiety about always having to say things correctly (1994: 113).

Fluency practices may not immediately influence the expectancy of language learners, especially those who have already given up on ever being able to speak. Overcoming the negative input of past inability may require prolonged perception of self-efficacy (Bandura and Schunk, 1981). However, they should soon address the problem of motivating those learners who are already minimally able to communicate and, satisfied with their current level of proficiency, have lost interest in progressing further (Hammond, 1988). My experience is that the limitations on their present ability can become clear to such language learners in their repeated attempts to communicate when doing a fluency practice and force them to acknowledge having much room for improvement and to value further study.

Fluency practices also enable learners to experience fulfilling goals. Besides needing continual confirmation of their potential to carry on a conversation in English to increase their expectancy of success, learners need to feel that they are getting somewhere as they proceed (Oxford and Shearin, 1994). Children who had not done well at a task were assigned self-directed learning of it and were suggested to have a short-term goal or to have a long-term goal or were not suggested anything. Those with short-term goals evaluated their self-efficacy higher, were more accurate judges of that self-efficacy, persisted more, and did better than those with long-term goals or no goals (Bandura and Schunk, 1981). An environment in which learners have both immediate goals and autonomy and in which their own skills in an activity, as yet not fully recognized, match the challenge of the activity, should also be more conducive to their experiencing complete involvement (Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde, 1993). [-21-]

Another finding with pair taping was its positive connection with intrinsic motivation. Intermediate EFL learners who are achieving an initial degree of fluency just as their compulsory education in English is coming to an end require more than merely having the perception of their ability to acquire sufficient skills. They need to go on studying English to actualize their potential to speak and for that they must desire to continue on their own. Yet the promise of proficiency may fail to motivate learners who have always made effort for externally determined reasons such as grades. Learners need control over their learning to maintain continuous interest in it (Paris, Newman, and McVey, 1982). Those who haven't had autonomy in their learning in the past may not feel responsible for it in the present or future (deCharms, 1984; Keller, 1983). To have choices is to be in control, which motivates intrinsically (Deci and Ryan, 1985) and in turn affects whether learners will study more than is required of them (Wigfield and Eccles, 1992); any freedom that learners have increases the intrinsic value of speaking English for them (Brown, 1994, p.43). The part that fluency practices can be expected to play in increasing intrinsic motivation should also increase learner desire to continue studying.

Increased expectation of success in learning to speak English and valuing of speaking English may both be necessary. McComb (1988) has demonstrated that the presence of self-control and self-efficacy are required for having continuing motivation to learn. Bandura's (1982) before-mentioned research on assigning proximal goals found that expectancy and valuing reinforced one another, with children's success at short-term goals leading to a perception of self-efficacy, which in turn revealed the power they had over their learning and resulted in higher performance and eventually higher intrinsic interest.

A further advantage of fluency practices may be to help learners activate their English. Watkins (1984) showed that learner autonomy affects information processing. He revealed that students not in control of their learning dealt with information presented in class by simply memorizing pieces of it, while students with control over their learning put together their previously acquired isolated pieces of information. Such deep, integrative information processing when learners have autonomy has been correlated with self-efficacy and personal control (Schmeck, 1988). It follows that fluency practices should allow learners to concentrate more on doing what Swain recommended (1985): making the output from their accumulated knowledge comprehensible.

Finally, the use of fluency practices can avoid problems associated with using only task work. Individual teachers may give learners time in class to practice just speaking, but course books rarely do, and while task work is clearly intended to be enjoyable, learners can find it uninteresting and irrelevant, if not meaningless or childish, to rehearse situations that are imposed on them and that they cannot imagine encountering some day (Littlejohn, 1985; Nunan, 1988:87). Nor is it necessary to use novelty to stimulate curiosity (Keller, 1983). The pleasure that novelty may give learners is not the same as the enjoyment that they would receive from putting themselves fully into their learning (Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde, 1993). With the real interest that comes with proficiency, there is no need for games (Lepper, 1983).

A possible model for the effect of fluency practices on intermediate language learners, suggested by the literature and the findings with pair taping, is: learners engaging in a fluency practice with the short-term goal of communicating moment by moment should come to believe more in their ability to speak and have a better chance of becoming more proficient. Being in charge while doing a fluency practice and feeling affiliation with others should make them have more interest in speaking English and enjoy it more. Such increase in intrinsic motivation should lead to a greater desire to continue learning to speak the language. This should also eventually result in achievement, subsequent practice with English leading to improvement. In short, just as people learn to drive a car by driving one, language learners learn to speak a language by speaking it. Allowing intermediate learners to focus on developing proficiency by doing a fluency practice may enhance their confidence to succeed in English, their achievement, their interest in English and their persistence. [-22-]

Other possible uses of pair taping

A further potential configuration for an intermediate listening-speaking EFL class would be to integrate a fluency practice into it. There is evidence that the learners in this study would have desired this. In a one-semester study, about one learner in six (16.2%) chose only to peer record and about one in sixteen (6.8%) only to have the regular class, while about one in six (17.0%) chose something altogether different, generally a form of independent study. The remaining three-fifths of the class (59.5%) reported desiring to have had both pair taping and the regular class. To offer a class with both styles of learning, a once-a-week conversation course could be divided into two sections, each meeting for half of the allotted time, with learners assigned to do two sessions of a fluency practice such as pair taping on their own, preferably on different days than the scheduled days. A large class would become more manageable when cut in half. Moreover, each learner would have a chance to speak multiple times a week as well as acquire new information and skills, receiving input as well as producing output.

A similar opportunity could be provided without shortening the class time by having learners do fluency practice as an out-of-class task, particularly on non-class days. It would resolve the problem of finding homework to give in a listening/speaking class. Indeed, the positive results in these studies may be due in part to learners having spoken English several times a week. Pair taping learners rated very highly the efficacy of this over being in class once a week (Fig. 1a).

Kluge and Taylor (2000) have reported on using a fluency practice as homework. They assigned college learners to do "partner taping" 23 minutes a week outside of the classroom with school-supplied portable recorders, checked what learners recorded, and collected their initial recordings, returning them at the end of the semester. Learners subsequently made final recordings on these "keepsake" tapes and then did 10-second word counts at three places on both sides of these tapes to measure for quantitative change in their fluency, often surprising themselves with the extent of it. They were also enthusiastic in their assessment of the technique.

A conceivable downside of incorporating a fluency practice into a class by reducing in-class time or assigning one as homework is that loss of the ability to choose their class style on their own would decrease self-determination. However, learners would retain the autonomy of deciding when and where to speak, who to speak with, and what to speak about, and would still have the enjoyment of speaking freely with one another. Since English in an EFL setting is usually but one of many compulsory courses, it may be hard to avoid some form of trade-off between diminishing motivation and instituting accountability. The restraints of having to record and having to hand in their tapes did not seem to have a significant effect on learners here. [-23-]


I would like to express my appreciation for the two hundred plus students who took a chance with pair taping. I am especially indebted to epidemiologist Atsushi Kadowaki, who, as a fifth-year medical student, designed the Japanese questionnaire and initially analyzed the results from it; William Reis of Doshisha Women's University, who provided the item-analyzed listening comprehension exam; statistician Bradley Jones who recommended and checked the methods of data analysis; and Matt Taylor for his astute suggestions.


[1] Schneider (1998) has detailed instructions for pair taping and the management of tapes.

[2] I considered not publishing at one point, reasonable objections concerning this lack of randomness from a statistician, readers of earlier manuscripts, and audience members at presentations having convinced me of the inappropriateness of statistical claims.

[3] The results for questions asked in just one of the three years of the study are not reported here. Only learners in the first year answered, "Do you ever want to study English speaking again?" and "Do you plan to study English speaking again?" with responses nearly identical to those for the question concerning wanting to improve more; only learners in the second year answered, "Do you feel like you have your own English more now than before?"

[4] There is a striking difference between these percentage increases for the listening comprehension test and those in the preliminary study, which were 39.4% for the pair taping learners and 28.9% for the others (Schneider, 1993). Those higher values originally may be attributable to test familiarity. All learners had the same major, pre-medicine, and in order that coursework in basic medicine could be begun earlier, the university doubled, in the second semester of the second year, the number of classes in each course for five weeks in order to compress the length of the semester to ten weeks. In accommodation for the change, the pair taping learners made 30-minute rather than 22-minute tapes over the shortened semester period. Under this new schedule, second-semester classes, which began in early October, ended in early December rather than in mid February. Learners in the preliminary study had taken the listening comprehension test at the beginning of the first and second semester and at the end of the second, and, in retrospect, their very large increases in listening comprehension seem due to their having some recall of the test when taking it for a third time only nine weeks after taking it for the second. Despite such quantitative differences between the listening results of the two studies, it remains that the comprehension of all pair taping groups was equal if not slightly higher than that of the classroom groups, despite the latter having had a native speaker teacher and used communicative approach texts.

[5] In the first year of the study, the pair taping learners' next highest mean (n = 30) after that for wanting to improve more than before was for "Do you ever want to study English speaking again?" There was also a higher mean for "Do you plan to study English speaking again?" In a trial factor analysis not reported here, these three loaded together, suggesting a close relationship between the desire to improve more than before and the desire to continue studying, the latter a variable typically investigated in an expectancy-value model (Eccles, 1984). [-24-]

[6] Proof of pair taping learners' greater improvement than classroom learners' came from another source also. When learners in a separate one-semester study (not otherwise reported) were asked, in Japanese, to graphically depicted changes, if any, in their English speaking ability over the course of the semester, more than twice as many pair tapers (35 of 40) as classmates (16 of 40) drew ascending curves and thus indicated an improvement in proficiency.


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About the Author

Peter Schneider teaches in the IEP Program at California State University, Northridge, and runs an internet service that puts learners from different countries together in pairs to practice speaking English online using video or voice conferencing software.

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