Understanding the Japanese University Students’ Motivation and Demotivation in Attending EFL Classes

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Faramarz Samifanni


The purpose of this study was to identify the motivation and demotivation of Japanese university students in attending
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes. The participants included 455 students who took English courses for
the first semester of 2023 from two private universities in Japan. The data was collected using a five-point Likert scale
motivation and demotivation survey comprised of 24 items and two open-ended questions through an online
questionnaire. The results from the quantitative and qualitative strands indicated that the motivation of the respondents
towards attending EFL classes is mainly extrinsic. The basis of extrinsic motivation comprised getting credit, getting
good grades, and knowing the tips for the exam. In addition, Japanese university students showed low demotivation
towards attending EFL classes based on teacher-related, class content-related, and personal factors. The thematic
analysis revealed that the students have low expectations for success and lack of self-discipline. From a cultural
perspective, these findings reveal that the Japanese tend to blame themselves rather than point fingers at others to
maintain harmony even in their academic life. The findings of this study can be used by EFL instructors, school
administrators, and curriculum developers to offer interventions intended to motivate the demotivated EFL students
to improve class attendance and help Japanese university students achieve academic success.

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