Open Journal of Modern Linguistics
2012. Vol.2, No.2, 43-50
Published Online June 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 43
Globalization and EFL Learning Motivation: A New Perspective
on Integrative vs. Instrumental Motivation among Iranian
Learners of English
Saeed Mehrpour1, Mehdi Vojdani2
1Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Shi raz University, Shiraz, Ir a n
2Fakher Higher Education Collage, Shiraz, Iran
Email: smehrpur@rose.shir, mehdivojdani09@gmail. com
Received January 9th, 2012; re vised Ma rch 1st, 2012; accept e d March 8th, 2012
The present study had a globalization perspective on Iranian EFL learners’ motivation to learn the global
language, English. It investigated the effects of technological variables such as the Internet and satellite
television programs, and social issues like migration and willingness for education at universities abroad
on motivation for learning English as a foreign language among Iranian learners. In order to conduct the
study, 238 learners of English (107 females and 131 males) were randomly selected from four language
teaching institutes in Shiraz, Iran. A questionnaire was first developed based on the operationalization of
some aspects of globalization which were either related to instrumental motivation or integrative motiva-
tion. The data obtained from the administration of the questionnaire to the participants were later on ana-
lyzed and the results revealed that technological, sociological and scientific aspects created or intensified
through the process of globalization influenced Iranian EFL learners’ motivation to learn English and that
the participants were mainly instrumentally motivated.
Keywords: Globalization; Motivation; Instrumental; Integrative; Technological
Nearly all human behaviors originate from certain kind of
“motivation”. Motivation is commonly considered to be an
inner drive, impulse, emotion or desire that moves one to a
particular action. It is a highly complex term, widely used not
only in everyday life but also in many areas of social sciences,
for example in various branches of psychology, educational
studies and in applied linguistics. Gardener (1972) defines mo-
tivation in his social-psychological model as a combination of
efforts plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language
plus favorable attitudes towards learning the language. Arnold
and Brown (1999) define it as the learners’ reasons for at-
tempting to acquire the foreign language. Almost all applied
linguists are unanimous about the pivotal role of motivation in
L2 learning. That is why many different kinds of motivation
have been proposed so far. But the most widely known con-
cepts associated with Gardeners’ work in the field of second
language are two orientations labeled as “integrative” and “in-
strumental” motivations. Gardener and Lambert (1972) differ-
entiate between the two kinds of motivations. Integrative moti-
vation occurs when the learner wishes to learn more about the
cultural community because he or she is interested in it in an
open-mind way. In contrast, if the purpose of the language
learning reflects more utilitarian values of linguistic achieve-
ment such as getting ahead in one’s occupation, the motivation
is said to be instrumental. Gardener’s Socio-psychological
Model maintained that successful language learners must be
integratively motivated but the subsequent studies showed
something else. Lukmani (1972), Niitsuma (1991) and Agni-
hotri and Khanna’s (1998) findings showed that there is hardly
any integrativeness in Bambay, Japan and South Asia, respec-
tively. It probably shows that EFL learners seem to have been
more instrumenta lly motivated than their E SL peers. This utili-
tarian orientation to foreign language learning in EFL context
seems to have been accelerated by “globalization process” and
the development of global communication.
Globalization as Giddens (1990) refers to is “the phenome-
non of acceleration and intensification of world wide social
relation which links distant localities” (p. 64). It focuses on a
“borderless single society and culture” where all nationalities
with different languages coexist. This amount of interconnect-
edness and interdependencies requires a shared linguistic code,
or an international language such as English for modern social
life. Therefore, in our global era knowing English, as Kachru
(1986a) holds it, is “like possessing the fabled Aladdin’s lamp,
which permits one to open the linguistic gates to international
business, technology, science and travel” (p. 1). That is why De
Swaan (2001) argues that English is a ‘hypercollective good’:
The more speakers it has, the more people want to learn the
language and the higher the language’s communication value
for them. De Swaan looks at the concepts of economic theory
which offer the study of language in the age of globalization.
Like Bourdieu (1991), he finds that linguistic behaviour is
profit-driven and thus concludes that, concerning English, peo-
ple seek to learn the language because it is perceived to be so-
cially and economically useful to them. Acquiring English is a
skill that is seen to lead to an increase of both “symbol capi-
tal”-prestige and honour—as well as “economic capital”—
material wealth (Bourdieu, 1991). Indeed, the more global the
use of English becomes, the greater the motivation becomes to
learn it. This ultrafunction of English as the language of the
world at large has had major consequences on L2 motivation
especially in EFL contexts. Block and Cameron (2002) have
noted that globalization changes the condition under which
language learning takes place. Some of the most significant
changes are economic. They believe that globalization has
made a condition under which people are learning languages
for more economic reasons. Some commentators like Heller
(1999a) have suggested that languages (and mainly English) are
treated more and more as economic commodities. This com-
modification of language affects both people’s motivations for
language learning and their choices about which language to
learn. Wee (2003) uses the term “linguistic instrumentalism” to
refer to this recent ideological change due to globalization and
capitalism. By the same token, Graddol (1997) predicts a fore-
casting model towards EFL demand around the world which
suggests that patterns of English language usage will be deter-
mined by economic and technological development rather than
cultural or political factors.
By and large, the world has greatly changed since Gardener
and Lambert first introduced the notion of integrative and in-
strumental motivation in the late 1950s. The last decade has
seen what Gardener himself has called a “motivational renais-
sance” (Gardener & Tremblay, 1994) with new concepts, new
needs and, consequently, new motivational attitudes toward
language learning. It is increasingly recognized that learner
attributes and activities are profoundly influenced by economic
environment emerging through globalization and technology
forces. In this situation, there seems to be some aspects of the
processes of globalization and modernism which have been
motivating language learners instrumentally in EFL contexts
such as Iran to learn the global language English at any cost.
Status of English in Asia and Iran: A Brief Overview
Kim (2002) describes the status of English in Asia as fol-
English as a world/global language has successfully made its
way to a central position in non-English speaking countries
such as Korea, Japan, and China as well as Southeast Asian
nations and countries in the Middle East where people believe
the economic power and prestige are connected to the language,
English. (p. 29)
With regard to the status of English in Iran, it can be stated
that the role of English in Iran is almost purely functional as
English is used as a language of international link. Unlike some
EFL contexts such as Singapore and Malaysia, English is not
used as an interpersonal and inter-institutional means of com-
munication and there is seemingly no possibility of English
becoming the lingua franca in Iran. But English has been used
for years and for different purposes in Iran and gradually it is
becoming part of the socio-cultural system. As the use of Eng-
lish is increasing day by day in different forms, there is signifi-
cant evidence of use of English along with Persian in the form
of code-mixing and code-switching (Monajemi, 2001; Vojdani,
2008). English is taught in Iran from Junior high school, but
recently, it has been tentatively included in course programs not
only in some elementary schools but also in some kindergartens
or pre-school centers under the supervision of the Ministry of
Education. But the language teaching institutes play the main
role in developing English language learning in Iran. In recent
years, the number of language institutes has considerably in-
creased. In a sample survey, Vojdani (2008) compared the
number of language institutes and EFL learners in Shiraz City.
He showed that in 1375 (1996) there existed around 207 Eng-
lish language institutes for about 36432 language learners
whereas in 1386 (2007) there were about 356 institutes for ap-
proximately 60797 learners in Shiraz. This clearly shows that
today more and more knowledge of English is needed in Iran
due to some globalization requirements and consequently new
forms of motivations might be identified.
Literature Review
A significant amount of research has been conducted in the
study of motivation in foreign language learning ever since. But,
to the best of the researchers’ knowledge, very few studies have
ever dealt with the effects of globalization or technological
aspects on EFL learner’s motivation.
As the initial pieces of research on the relation between mo-
tivation and language learning, Gardener (1960) and Gardener
and Lambert (1959) investigated the relation between learners’
motivation and their linguistic performance. They identified
two kinds of motivation, namely instrumental and integrative.
Gardener and Lambert (1972) carried out an extensive study in
Quebec, Ontario, Hartford, Connecticut, Louisiana and Maine.
Their study showed that in all cases motivation is a leading
factor in students’ success and students with integrative orien-
tation are more successful as compared with those with instru-
mental motivation.
Another study was conducted by Gardener and his coworkers
in the Philippines. The result of the research showed that for an
EFL context such as the Philippines, learners seemed to be
more instrumentally motivated and they tried to learn English
for their better job positions. Since then, further researches
(such as Lukmani, 1972; Dornyei, 1990; Shaaban & Ghaith,
2000; Warden & Lin, 2000) have highlighted the significance
of instrumental or utilitarian dimension of L2 motivation which
belonged mostly to EFL contexts.
Raham (2005) analyzes the various socio-psychological ori-
entations of the undergraduate students of private universities
of Bangladesh towards learning English. His study focuses on
what are considered as the two most important social psycho-
logical variables: attitude and motivation. Domain use is also
investigated to determine the present linguistic reality of Bang-
ladesh and features important in describing the motivational
orientations of students. To achieve the goal, 94 students (56
male and 38 female) of 19 - 23 age group were randomly se-
lected from the American International University, Bangladesh
(AIUB) to give their ideas about their motivation for English
learning. The findings of the research finally shows that stu-
dents focus on English for its “functional role” (i.e. its utilitar-
ian value) in limited and discrete domain areas where knowl-
edge of English is required. Raham believes that the study does
not reject or undermine Gardner’s theory, rather it tries to find
out the reliability and applicably of such theory in a strong EFL
country like Bangladesh as it was investigated before in other
EFL contexts. This study also demonstrates that the learners
learn English for “instrumental” reasons as opposed to previous
research conducted in Bangladesh, which concluded that “inte-
grative motivation” functioned as the dominant motivational
orientation for the students to learn English. It seems that, as it
was previously mentioned, the more Bangladesh is globalised,
the more language learning is considered as a utilitarian value
than a cultural identity.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
The volume, Motivation, Language Attitudes and Globali-
zation: A Hungarian Perspective, written by Dörnyei, Csizér,
and Németh (2006) contains the results of the largest ever-con-
ducted L2 motivation survey, involving over 13,000 language
learners on three successive occasions: in 1993, 1999 and 2004.
The survey took place in one particular country, Hungary, and
the sample represents young teenagers from the whole cross-
section of the nation. The examined period covers a particularly
prominent time in the country’s history, the transition from a
closed, Communist society to a Western-style democracy dur-
ing which the country finally became a member of the Euro-
pean Union in 2004. The book presents a good example of an
overall change in language learning motivation due to global-
ization process in an EFL context. It describes how sociopoliti-
cal changes and globalization process introducing English as
the global language has affected the various language attitudes
prevailing amongst Hungarians and their motivation to learn
five different target languages: English, German, French, Italian
and Russian. Their study, with respect to the third phase of the
data (gained in 2004), showed that Hungarians tend to take up
the study of English increasingly as a self-evident part of edu-
cation. Therefore, the global English is becoming increasingly
associated with a cosmopolitan and technologically advanced
“imagined community” and thus with the pathway to career
success among Hungarians.
In another study, Lamb (2004) investigates the effects of
globalization and global forces on integrative motivation of
Indonesian children aged 11 - 12 years old, as they begin for-
mal English in an urban junior high school. His main idea re-
volves the notion of “integrativeness” which he believes to
have greatly changed since the emergence of globalization
process. He argues that as English loses its association with
particular Anglophone cultures and is instead identified with
the powerful forces of globalization, the desire to integrate
loses its explanatory power in many EFL contexts and therefore,
the individuals learn English to develop a bicultural identity of
their local culture and at the same time as a member of the
“global culture”. Knowing English gives Indonesian young
generation a sense of belonging to a worldwide culture and
awareness of information, style and events of that. It is specu-
lated that changes in individuals’ motivation to learn the lan-
guage may therefore be partly explained by reference to ongo-
ing processes of identification which, in turn, may change
through some social processes like globalization.
Al-Atemi & Shuib (2009) undertook a study on learners’
motivation and attitudes towards learning English in Yemen.
The study focused on three motivational constructs, i.e., in-
strumental motivation, integrative motivation, and personal
motivation. The results of the study revealed that both instru-
mental and personal reasons were important motives for learn-
ing English. However, integrative motivation had the least im-
pact on learners’ language learning.
Abdol Latif, et al. (2011) using a questionnaire conducted a
project to determine the link between attitude, motivation,
anxiety and instrumental orientation on performance of a group
of 757 learners of English in Open University Malaysia (OUM).
The regression analysis of the data revealed that all the vari-
ables except for personal motivation had a significant effect on
performance with anxiety having a negative impact while atti-
tude and instrume n t a l orien tation having positive impacts.
Alqahtani (2011) explored 35 Kuwaiti learners’ perceptions
of the relationship between English and globalization through
interviewing them. The findings indicated that despite recog-
nizing and appreciating the establishment and identity of Eng-
lish as a global language, learners did not seem to have a clear
and complete understanding of the “essence” of this global era.
As far as the situation of learning English in Iran is con-
cerned, some studies have been conducted on motivational
variables among Iranian language learners during the last dec-
Roohani (2001) studied the motivational variables (integra-
tive and instrumental) towards learning English as a foreign
language among senior students at two state-run and private
universities. The results indicated that the students at the
state-run university were more integratively motivated as com-
pared with their peers at the private university.
Vaezi (2008) conducted a study to describe and examine a
group of Iranian’s undergraduate students’ integrative and in-
strumental motivation toward learning English as a foreign
language. The results of the study revealed that the participants
had very high motivation and positive attitudes towards learn-
ing English and were more inst rumentally motivated.
As the literature review shows, most of the previous studies
conducted in Iran have dealt with the classic concepts of inte-
grative and instrumental motivation and no study has ever been
focused on the effects of globalization and 21st century issues
on EFL learners’ motivation in the country.
Objectives of the Study
For many EFL learners in our globalizing world, knowledge
of English seems to be utilized more as a tool to address their
needs, in terms of dealing with modern technology or some
social issues like migration to Europe or North America to have
better job positions and life style. The current study had a glob-
alization perspective on Iranian EFL learners’ motivation to
learn the global language, English and it was meant to investi-
gate the effects of technological variables such as the Internet
and satellite television programs; social issues like migration
and high tendencies to education at overseas’ universities on
motivation for learning English among Iranian learners. Con-
sidering the purpose of the study and the studies reviewed, the
researchers addressed the following research questions:
1) Has globalization and its technological and social aspects
affected Iranian EFL learners’ type of motivation toward learn-
ing English?
2) If so, how has it been effective? In other words, has it
made learners more instrumentally or integratively motivated?
To conduct the study, 238 English language learners (107
female and 131 male) from four language teaching institutes
were randomly selected. The participants were of different
socio-economic backgrounds and different levels of proficiency,
that is, beginner, intermediate and advance levels. To minimize
the effects of age on the study, the range of 17 to 27 was chosen
which also accounts for the largest number of learners of Eng-
lish in Iran.
In order to examine and investigate the possible effects of
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 45
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
globalization on English learners’ motivation, a questionnaire
was designed based on the operationalization of some aspects
of globalization which were either related to instrumental or
integrative motivation. The questionnaire included two types of
items: 1) some items addressed technological advances such as
computer, the Internet and satellite TV programs; sociological
issues like migration, and scientific issues which all have been
intensified through process of globalization and seem to have
instrumentally motivated Iranian English learners to learn the
global language with much greater interest. 2) Some other items
had an integrative orientation and were basically designed by
Laine (1982). These were added to a few other items to see if
the students were highly influenced and motivated by English
language culture .
The questionnaire was first pilot tested. Some items were
omitted and finally 23 items were kept. The questionnaire fol-
lowed a five-level Likert scale format and therefore offered five
choices for each item ranging from strongly agree to strongly
disagree. To find out about the reliability of the questionnaire,
Cronbach’s alpha was calculated. The index was found to be
0.80 which is indicative of a highly acceptable level of reliabil-
Since this questionnaire was newly developed, in order to see
if it was a valid and appropriate measure to tap the variables of
the study, its construct validity was determined through the
application of factor analysis procedure. A factor analysis of the
dat a re vea led t hat t he questionna ire enjoyed construct validity to
a great extent and its items loaded on the different aspects of the
two factors of instrumental and integrative motivation (Table 1).
Data Analysis
The data gathered by the administration of the questionnaire
were analyzed by means of the SPSS program, version 11.5. In
the analysis of the data the choices made by the language
learners were given numerical values. The numerical value 1
was assigned to strongly agree, 2 to agree, 3 to no idea, 4 to
disagree, and 5 to strongly disagree. After computing the means
of the two motivational variables—instrumental and integra-
tive—for each questionnaire, a paired t-test was run to compare
the two means. The results appear in Table 2 below.
The results of this analysis clearly show that regarding the
first research question globalization and its different techno-
logical and sociological aspects have affected English learners
motivation either integratively or instrumentally. Based on the
mean of the two variables, we can safely conclude that the Eng-
lish learners participating in the survey have clear inclination
toward instrumental orientation created under the influence of
the globalization factors such as technology. Tables 3 and 4
illustrate the classification of instrumental and integrative mo-
tivation variables introduced in this study and surveyed in the
questionnaire along with the frequency distribution and their
respective means.
Results and Discussion
The analysis of the data, as shown above, reveals that some
EFL learners are either integratively or instrumentally moti-
vated to learn English. This finding is in line with the studies
Table 1.
Paired sample statistics for th e two variables integrative & instrumental motivation.
Mean N Std. Deviati on Std. Error of Mean
Integrative 2.1870 238 .66168 .04289
Pair 1 Instrumental 1.8013 238 .39280 .02546
Table 2.
Paired sample T-test between the two variables integrative & i nstrumental motivation.
Paired differences
Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error of Measurement t Df Sig (2-tailed)
Pair 1 Integrative & Ins trumental .3857 .61897 .04012 9.613 238 .000
Table 3.
Instrumental motivation (frequency distri but ion and mean scores) .
G1: to learn
English to use
computers better
G2: to watch
TV programs
G3: to use
world Net
G4: to prepare for
migration to English
speaking coun t ries
G5: to participate
in English
International Exams
G6: to prepare
for scientific
*Frequency of responde n ts
out of 238 vote on each item 187 181 149 166 198 202
% 78.6 76.1 62.6 69.7 83.2 84.9
#Mean 1.70 1.74 1.90 1.99 1.67 1.66
Total mean 1.80
*This is the frequency of respondents who strongly agree or disagree on each item. The rest of the respondents either had no idea or were against the information conveyed
by the specific item. #Mean scores closer to the range 1 - 2 show greater degrees of agreement of the respondents on instrumentally-oriented items (see section 5.3 data
Table 4.
Integrative motivation (frequency distribution and mean scores).
G1: to learn
English to become familiar with Anglophone culture a n d t r adition G2:
to be interested in learning English per se
*Frequenc y of respondents out
of 238 vote on each item 93 159
% 39.1
Mean 2.27
Total mean 2.18
conducted by Abdol Latif, et al. (2011), Al-Atemi & Shuib
(2009), Gardner & Lambert (1959, 1972), Roohani (2001), and
Vaezi (2008). All these studies, like the present study, show
that there is a positive relationship between either instrumental
motivation or integrative motivation or both and language
With respect to the relationship between globalization and
motivation for learning English, the results of the present study
are in agreement with those conducted by Dornyei, et al. (2006),
Lamb (2004), and Raham (2005) which show that the process
of globalization has had an impact on motivation to learn Eng-
In what follows, globalization aspects which seem to have
recently influenced Iranian EFL learners’ motivation to learn
the global language and which have been identified in the re-
search questions of the study will be discussed.
Technological Issues
Computer Technology
Not long ago, the eight-year-old son of the Kyrgyzstan
president informed his father: “I have to learn English.” In a
central Asian country where Western tongues are rarely spoken,
President Askar Akayev wanted to know why. The reply: “Be-
cause, father, the computer speaks English.” (Erickson, 1998: p.
Globalization has undoubtedly fostered the ubiquity and
domination of English through the technological development
of the recent decades (such as computer industry, IT, the Inter-
net and Satellite TV channels) all over the EFL countries and
has urged the people in these countries to learn English as a
gateway to modernity. The result of the present survey shows
that 78% of our Iranian learners studied English in order to
operate computers better, understand the errors and warnings
given by the computers and be able to work with different
software related to their field of study or interests. Gaining a
good knowledge of English and computer literacy seem to have
gone together in recent years in Iran and many parents urge
their teenagers to participate in both English and computer
courses. This has naturally been intensified by the prevalence of
computer games among young adults. On the other hand, using
hardware and software reflected the need for knowing English
among computer users and experts. Although numerous soft-
ware companies in Iran have been designing Persian versions of
software compatible with Iranian PC systems, so many others
still have either no Persian version or are not fully compatible
with our writing system and therefore make the users turn to the
English version.
The Internet
In the developed world of information technology and glob-
alization, using the Internet, as an essential feature of modern
life, strongly motivates students to learn and use English effec-
tively if they want to deal properly with the huge amount of
information appearing on it. The Internet has by far created
high levels of motivation among the EFL learners to study Eng-
lish in our globalizing era. Two hundred and seventeen respon-
dents (about 91.2% of the participants) agreed on the first item
of the questionnaire which dealt with studying English in order
to have the linguistic ability to use the global Net. By and large,
77.68% of them believe that they learn English to have access
to some materials in their fields of study or interest on the net,
read online magazines, have access to the breaking news,
communicate and exchange ideas with foreign people from
different countries through chatrooms or emails, participate in
Net Work Marketing or E-business and have the ability to
search in English. Table 5 shows that the internet-related issues
motivated Iranian learners to study English. The respective
means and the frequency of respondents agreeing on each item
are also given in this table.
Although the presence of other languages such as Persian
and Arabic have been greatly increasing in EFL contexts in
recent years, according to Crystal (2004), more than 50% of
web pages are still in English. The majority of Iranians first go
into the cyber cafe s or buy a cheap Internet card to ha ve access
Table 5.
Internet-related issues motivating learners to learn English.
I learn English language to… Mean Percentage
Use the global Net 1.64 91.2
Understand and use electronically
stored information on the Net 1.78 84.9
Make friends and exchange ideas with
foreigners through ch at rooms 2.04 68.5
Make friends and exchange ideas with
foreigners t hrough emails 2.08 68.5
Be able to search different subjects on
the Net 1.67 89.1
Read and use online journals and
magazines 1.86 80.7
Have linguistic ability to take part in
E-business and Netw or k marketing 2.21 60.9
Total 1.75 77.68
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 47
to the Internet since they see it as a trendy and useful tool ena-
bling them to establish relationship with the outside world. But
as they go a bit further to take more advantage of it, they find
out that there is only one real way to do it, that is, learning Eng-
lish. A widely reported statistic is that about 80 per cent of
electronically stored information is currently in English (Crys-
tal, 2003). Today learning English language for graduate and
Ph.D. students in Iran is a must if they want to take full advan-
tage of internet sources, E-journals, and E-books which are
steadily increasing in number. Furthermore, as Vojdani (2008)
points out, some problems with respect to the compatibility of
English software with Iranian PC systems and Persian script
system in searching process has limited the internet users in
Iran and increased their motivation to learn English to make use
of global technology.
EFL learners’ motivation to learn English just because it is
the unique language of computer and the internet is sometimes
so instrumental that one would think that everybody would
learn Chinese if Bill Gates had been born in China.
Satellite TV Channels
The third millennium is truly known as “the era of satellites”
which have accelerated broadcasting of foreign media espe-
cially Western television and radio programs and which have
motivated people all over the world, especially in Asia, to lean
English in order to take full advantage of their amusing pro-
grams including both world news and exciting movies. The
result of the survey run by Vojdani (2008) showed that 91.6%
of his respondents confirmed the idea that Iranians are increas-
ingly using non-Persian satellite TV programs at the present.
According to a survey, many Iranians believed that the low
quality of national and local television programs and lack of
amusing programs are among the main reasons moti v a ti n g them
to watch satellite TV channels (Monajemi, 2004). Table 6 be-
low illustrates that the participants were instrumentally moti-
vated through watching satellite TV programs to study English.
The use of satellite TV channels and radio programs has re-
cently multiplied in Iran. According to statistics released by
Iranian officials’, currently one third of Iranian families are
receiving different TV channels (an interview with Aliahmadi,
Minister of Education, cited in Zamaneh, 2008, online at: among which
MBC has a widespread popularity due to its fascinating movies
and attractive TV shows which are all in English and seem to
be a strong motivator for interested viewers in Iran to attend
English courses.
Sociological Issues
In our globalizing world, more people than ever before think
of migration especially in developing countries in EFL contexts.
Having a modern lifestyle and better job positions are the main
incentives among many Iranians who wish to migrate to
English-speaking countries such as Australia or Canada. Today,
around 200 million migrants are seeking better life in one of the
more developed countries while about 12% of these are Iranian
migrants (cited in Sarmayeh online Newspaper on 29.4.06).
The rate of migration has sharply increased in Iran so far as it is
the second country to send emigrants in Asian and Oceanic
Area (cited in Tadbir Monthly, Ordibehesht 1384, 2005) and
how to pass the IELTS exam has turned out to be one of the
Table 6.
Instrumental motivation for learning English through watching satellite
TV programs.
I learn English language t o… MeanPercentage
Watch English movies broadc ast on
satellite TV channels 1.55 89.1
Be able to listen to and unders t and English
programs broadcast over sa t ellite radio channels 1.97 72.3
Be able to listen to and unders tand world
news in BBC and CNN 1.71 82.1
Total 1.74 81.16
main preoccupations for most Iranian learners of English when
they start learning the language. According to the result of the
present study, about 70% of the learners are learning English
for migration purposes and 83.2% claimed that they learn
English in order to take part in the international exams such as
IELTS. In spite of the difficult conditions of taking IELTS
exam in Iran and its high level of difficulty, IELTS courses are
very widespread nowadays and many language institutes have
paid special attention to such courses.
Scientific Issues
Globalization has undeniably created a condition in which
English has proved to be the first and the main language in
scientific domains. The high-pace scientific development of
English-speaking countries such as the United States, the UK
and (recently) Canada has been among the major factors for
English ubiquity. As it was mentioned before, learning English
has turned out to be a must-learn for graduate and post graduate
students in Iran and the use of English has become more and
more of a necessity, at least for publishing articles in English
journals or participating in international academic conferences.
Apart from International Journals, scientific publishers in many
countries have shifted from publishing in their national lan-
guage to publishing in English and this has irresistibly urged
university students in Iran to learn English to make use of them
in writing academic research papers (Grrodal, 1997). Today a
huge number of university students in Iran prefer to continue
their graduate studies overseas, mainly in English-speaking
countries. And this leaves no choice for them except to learn
English. The results of the present study showed that 83.6% of
English learners learn the language to be able to continue their
study overseas. Moreover, 83.2% of them have claimed that
they learn English to take part in the TOEFL exam. For some of
them learning English is so important that they devote most of
their daily time to attending intensive courses four or five days
a week. One might think of these learners to have a hy-
per-motivation for learning English.
The findings of the study present a consistent picture which
establishes the idea that new waves of motivational variables
have emerged among Iranian EFL learners. Like almost every-
thing, language and language learning motivation have been
affected by the increasing connectedness of today’s world due
to globalization and its technological advances. Based on offi-
cial statistics, in Iran as an EFL context where English is just an
international language, today, more than ever before people
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
from different scientific and social backgrounds are motivated
to learn English. Huge expansion of technological devices for
scientific and entertainment purposes such as computer soft-
wares and games, the internet and cyber communication, satel-
lite TV channels, and acceleration of migration tendencies to
English-speaking countries due to competitive standards of
lifestyle all seem to have brought about tempting instrumental
motivations for Iranians, especially the young generation, to
learn English.
The results of the survey showed that technological, socio-
logical and scientific aspects created or intensified through the
process of globalization have affected Iranian EFL learners’
motivation to learn English and have made them more instru-
mentally motivated. The results also confirm the idea of Block
and Cameron (2002) who constantly insist that language learn-
ing and communication skills demanded by globalization and
new technologies affect learners’ motivation toward more in-
strumental orientations and turns language into a marketable
commodity rather than a cultural identity. It seems that nowa-
days many individuals in Iran learn English not because they
wish to become bilinguals or have a love of the language, but
rather because they want to have access to such things as scien-
tific and technological information, global economics, and
higher education. In fact, knowing English makes such access
As for implications of the study, it can be stated that though
technology has greatly advanced throughout the world and
technological devices are used for language teaching purposes
worldwide, unfortunately little use is made of such facilities in
our educational system, as far as teaching English is concerned.
In fact, in some junior and senior high schools in Iran old
methods of language teaching such as the grammar translation
method and the audio-lingual method are still in vogue and if
this trend continues, the status of teaching and learning English
in Iran might become worse than what it is now. This requires
immediate attention on the part of curriculum designers and
material developers in the Ministry of Education and those in
charge of educational boards of language teaching institutes
throughout the country. One way of addressing this problem is
to equip schools with technological facilities for teaching Eng-
lish so that students become more interested in learning the
language. Another alternative is preparing materials or using
materials which are developed according to advances in tech-
nology and use of technology for language learning and teach-
ing purposes. For instance, use can be made of series such as
Top Notch in which text messages are used as examples of
every day conversations and the content of sample e-mails are
used as reading passages. Utilizing such materials can function
as a great source of motivation for language learners to help
them improve their English and the actual use of such materials
has, in fact, proved successful in language teaching institutes in
Iran. With respect to the sociological aspects of globalization,
students in our educational system should be made aware of the
utmost importance of the issue and its great effect on every
individual member of the society. This being so, they will get a
better understanding of the role of English as medium of glob-
alization so that they will not fall behind others in this
fast-paced competition. One last point which can be added
concerns the importance of scientific issues and its relationship
with globalization. Since globalization is a multi-faceted enter-
prise, gaining a footing in the process and stabilizing the stance
requires great scientific background. Considering the fact that
much of scientific publications appear in English both tradi-
tionally and in the form of electronic materials such as e-books
and e-journals, one can conclude that gaining a good knowl-
edge of English is a must for those who want to get involved in
the process of globalization
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