Is Language Learning Motivation Theory Realism or Imperialism?

Author: Clyde Warden

Transworld Institute Conference
Transworld' AFL Conference
Professor Warden presents a summary of results from his recent work on language learning motivation within a Chinese cultural setting. Trying to be a bit provocative, Clyde pushed on how out of sync current accepted theory is with normal practices in Taiwan (which are similar in China and Japan). This talk was given as the keynote for a conference at Transworld Institute of Technology, located in central Taiwan. Schools like this one are part of the vocational technical track in Taiwan, which was very strong up to the mid 90s when the MOE decided to upgrade all schools to universities and flood the educational system and by implication, wipe out the entrance exam emphasis. 

Well, things did not quite work out that way, and now schools that were once solid in the vocational track now must hire Ph.D.s and do anything they can to appear to compete with research universities. One result is the clear mismatch between what returning Ph.D.s think is motivating for students and what is actually motivating for language learners. The gap is often huge, like night and day. Schools will even push students into classes with labels like advanced and high, when single English sentences cannot be completed, spoken or written. There are even numerous cases of graduate students in Applied Foreign Language departments writing their theses in Chinese, even though they are graduating from an applied English track.

Clyde comes out and says it is time we should look at the reality, and especially the reality that masses of consumers may actually know more about what their futures need than language motivation theorist back in the USA and UK.  

Research Results:

This presentation was given as a keynote speech at a conference sponsored by Transworld Institute of Technology's  Applied Foreign Language department. 

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Length: 41 minutes. Download MP3 18.66MB (Right click->Save As).

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From a conference at Transworld Institute of Technology, Clyde discusses English language learning theory research.
Length: 41 minutes.

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