Applying to Study English Course at a College: a Study on a Motivational Aspect

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is located in indo-china peninsula between latitude 14-23 degrees north and longitude 100-180 degrees east. It connects border with China to the North, Cambodia to the South, Vietnam to the East, Thailand to the West and Myanmar to the Northwest. Lao PDR has total population around 6.8 million people 2009 and Lao language is the national and official language, while English is a foreign language as well as French (Laos, 2009). Since Laos was offered independence by American colony in 1975 to 1980s, English was in used with limitation in many areas in Lao PDR. However, from 1980s to 1996, the English language increasingly became importance language as a foreign language in Laos because the development of the country received a huge power of official improvement assistance from many international organizations (Sundgren, 2008). In 1994, opening doors of the country to the world, Lao government put emphasized on development of English language in order to be important communicational tool (Sullivan & Schatz, 2009).

Nowadays, English language is required to be studied in public and private schools, colleges and universities even though in other organizations in Laos particularly in the capital, central of provinces throughout the country. in other hand, English is one of compulsory subjects in the public schools. It must be started from the first year of lower secondary until upper secondary educational levels. Lao students learn English under structured syllabus which offered by the Ministry of Education, particularly from the National English resources centre. However, the English syllabus at universities, college levels in both public and private are not standardized, because each university and/or college has their different set of requirement (Anson & Lau, 2003). In addition, the English teaching and curriculum designed had been criticized for ignoring the learners’ needs, because each college designed its own English course and choose its own textbooks and teaching aids, for example some colleges improved unique English program for business, technical terms and so forth (Chia at al., 1999).

Souksavath College is located in the central of Vientiane capital, Laos. It’s one of other private colleges in Laos which is managed by a private sector yet it is under controlled by the private Department of the Ministry of Education. In this college has offered many fields of studies, one of them is English programme. For the academic year 2010, there were some 70 students enrolled in the first year of English language programme. This English program was taken place in the evening session. However, recently, Lao students gained positive effect of learning English in their study in many areas such as business, finance and banking, science and technology, culture and international relationship (Gömleksiz & Bagherzadeh, 2010). So, Laos, a country that has national interest for learning English and presently experiencing impressive economic, social cultural changes, becomes an ideal place in which to explore the nature of English language learners’ motivation and characteristics formation in the state and private colleges (Gu, 2009). The views of motivation comprises of two processes as external and internal.

The internal process contains with purposes, beliefs, perceptions, and expectations as well as influenced by personal, sociocultural factors, and classroom environmental experiences (Dembo, 2004). At the same time, the extrinsic motivation should be generated. When possible in order to make learning full of fun, interesting and rewarding. Both external and internal motivation factors can work together (Wharton & Phil, 1999). If Learners already want to learn, they need to want to study things. According to Rifai (2010) motivation refers to a requirement to study a language because of their specific goals, such as a job, passing an examination as well as it also mentions to a demand of English learning for the communication with people of another culture. Consequently, motivation is important to students learning English that can be attracted learners of various factors. For instance, many classroom environmental factors effect student motivation such as assignments offered teacher behaviour, and instructional methods (Dembo, 2004). It also still has many techniques can be designed and implemented to motivate the students to learn English, particularly in the private colleges increase gradually.

Motivation of Lao students towards English learning play key role in order to enhance a quality English proficiency level. So, we determined to study what is current the level of students’ motivation to English subject. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to investigate the level students’ motivation toward applying to study English language course at the private college in terms of personal reasons, instructional situation and environments factors.

Name : Thongma Souriyawongsa

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