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J. Bobkina, M. Fernandez de Caleya Dalmau

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
The issue of motivation continues to play a major role in the area of EFL/ESL learning due to the fact that a student´s motivation and attitudes towards learning a foreign language often result to be the predictors of further success or failure.

The current investigation aims at exploring the motivation patterns of EFL engineering students at the Technical University in Madrid towards learning the English language. The topic seems to be especially relevant due to the fact that English course at this university (English for Professional and Academic Purposes) has recently become a compulsory subject for every engineering specialty.
The study investigated students’ motivation in terms of three motivational constructs: instrumental motivation, integrative motivation and personal motivation based on Gardner’s (1985) and Cooper and Fishman’s (1977) works.
On the other hand, learners´ attitudes towards the use of English in the social and educational contexts, the English language and the culture of the English speaking countries have been identified.
The researchers have utilized a motivational questionnaire based on a Likert scale that was administered to 72 university students from second to fifth year, belonging to two different Engineering Schools: the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineering and the University School of Technical Industrial Engineering.
The findings show that the motivation patterns dominant among Spanish engineering students are extrinsic in their nature. Instrumental reasons for learning English language, including utilitarian and academic ones, are the most frequently mentioned. Most of the students have indicated the necessity of learning a foreign language to become a well prepared professional, as well as to have more possibilities to get a better job in the future.
Personal reasons, such as travelling or communication, are also regarded as important motives by the respondents. Meanwhile, the integrative reasons are considered to be the least important ones. The results provide the evidence that learning English as a part of culture has actually had the slightest impact in the students’ motivation.
On the other hand, data for the students’ attitudes reveal the fact that most of students have positive attitudes towards the social value and educational status of English. Besides, the findings show the students’ positive orientation toward the English language. At last, the results indicate that a high number of the students show their interest in a number of aspects of the English speaking culture, such as music, movies and science issues.

Finally, some pedagogical implications, based on these findings, are discussed in the paper.

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Pendergrass, N., Kowalczyk, R., Dowd, J., & Laoulache, R. (2001). Improving first-year engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 90 (1), 33-41.