Does Learner Motivation Impact Pronunciation Gains in the Light of Teacher and Peer Oral Corrective Feedback?

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Urmia University

Abstract

Almost in every stage of their language learning process, the learners have motivation for what they do and receive a negative or positive feedback for it. The current study was after finding the would-be effect of motivation on 58 elementary EFL learners’ pronunciation gains successive to teacher and peer oral corrective feedback. To this aim, two intact groups at elementary level of proficiency were employed as the study participants, each of which was exposed to treatment through one type of oral corrective feedback (either teacher or peer feedback type) following the initial administration of a tailor-made recognition test of pronunciation. Thus, following pretest, an adopted motivation questionnaire was assigned to participants in both groups to gauge their motivation type (intrinsic or extrinsic) in learning a foreign language. Subsequent to the treatment applied via teacher and peer corrective feedback methods, the posttest was administered to all the study participants. The oral corrective feedback was utilized to provide implicit instruction to the EFL learners regarding their pronunciation at the segmental level. The results revealed that no statistically significant difference existed between the two groups regarding their pronunciation enhancement. Thus, it was indicated throughout the research that neither learners’ motivation type nor the corrective feedback type offered by the study played a significant role in ameliorating learners’ performance on pronunciation posttest. The issue problematized in the current study may help teachers rethink the way they provide corrective feedback in their classes, and be more vigilant of and sensitive to the preferred ways of feedback provision on the part of learners in the light of motivational and attitudinal factors.
      Keywords: motivation; second language pronunciation; oral corrective feedback
 
جستاری درباره تاثیر انگیزه یادگیرندگان بر بهبود تلفظشان در سایه دریافت بازخورد اصلاحی از معلمان و همکلاسان
 
یادگیرندگان زبان در هر مرحله از فرایند یادگیری از انگیزه برای آنچه انجام می دهند برخوردار بوده و بازخورد مثبت یا منفی در قبال آن دریافت می کنند. هدف تحقیق حاضر بررسی تاثیر انگیزه زبان آموزان سطح مقدماتی بر بهبود تلفظشان بدنبال اجرای جلسات بازخورد اصلاحی شفاهی بود. بدین منظور در ابتدای کار دو گروه از زبان آموزان سطح مقدماتی انتخاب گردیده و پس از اجرای پیش آزمون تلفظ، هر کدام به یکی از دو شیوه بازخورد اصلاحی (از طریق معلم و یا همکلاسان) مورد بررسی قرار گرفتند. همچنین جهت تعیین نوع غالب انگیزش زبان آموزان (درونی یا بیرونی)، پرسشنامه انگیزش توسط محققان ارائه گردید، و در انتهای کار پس آزمون تلفظ از فراگیران به عمل آمد. گفتنی است بازخورد اصلاحی شفاهی با هدف اجرای آموزش غیر مستقیم تلفظ به زبان آموزان صورت گرفت. بر پایه نتایج حاصله، هیچ تفاوت معناداری در میزان پیشرفت زبان آموزان دو گروه در پس آزمون مشاهده نگردید. بنابراین محققان از یافته های تحقیق حاضر اینگونه استنباط نمودند که نه نوع بازخورد اصلاحی ارائه شده و نه نوع انگیزش زبان آموزان هیچکدام تاثیر عمده ای در ایجاد تفاوت معنادار بین عملکرد دو گروه در پس آزمون تلفظ نداشتند. در نهایت چنین به نظر می رسد که نتایج پژوهش حاضر می تواند به معلمان کمک کند تا در نحوه ارائه بازخورد اصلاحی در کلاس تجدید نظر نموده و نسبت به ترجیحات زبان آموزان در این خصوص با توجه به انگیزه و نگرش های آنان آگاهانه تر و دقیق تر عمل نمایند.
 
کلید واژگان: انگیزش، تلفظ در زبان دوم، بازخورد اصلاحی شفاهی

Keywords

Main Subjects


Introduction

Several factors influence the success of learners during the foreign language learning process. As one such factor, motivation provides the initial stimulus to learn a foreign language and helps the learners maintain the learning process (Dörnyei, 1998). Another factor which is of paramount importance during the language learning process is corrective feedback. In every stage of their lives, people receive feedback for what they do, and learning a foreign language is no exception. Students learning a foreign language always receive oral or written corrective feedback either from their teachers or their peers (Hernández, Gómez & Jiménez, 2010; Lyster & Ranta, 1997; Mall-Amiri & Hesami, 2013; Martinez, 2013; Mollakhan, Rasouli, & Karbalaei, 2013). Finally, foreign language pronunciation plays an important role in the language learning process. There has been, to date, some research with a focus on the relationship between motivation and pronunciation (Wen, 2005; Yousofi & Naderifarjad, 2015) and the relationship between corrective feedback and pronunciation (Dlaska & Krekeler, 2013; Saito & Lyster, 2012).

The present study attempts to find the effect of motivation on elementary EFL learners’ intelligible pronunciation. Also, it probes which type of correction (teacher or peer type) makes a more significant contribution to better student uptake in terms of pronunciation and leads to more intelligible pronunciation. Furthermore, it investigates whether intrinsically motivated students in the first group differ from their counterparts in the second group in terms of the possible pronunciation gains resulting from the corrective feedback.

 

Literature Review

Pronunciation in a foreign language

Having an intelligible pronunciation may be one of the important factors influencing learners' success in foreign language learning. According to Gilbert (1984), if students cannot understand and hear English well, they are cut off from the language except in printed form and, as a result, they cannot communicate with native speakers. Morley (1998) notes that perfect pronunciation is not an objective anymore. She discusses that students should have functional intelligibility (ability to make themselves relatively easily understood), functional communicability (ability to meet the communication needs they face), increased self-confidence, as well as speech monitoring abilities and speech modification strategies to be understood by native speakers. She is of the opinion that learners should speak English intelligibly and comprehensibly not necessarily like natives but just well enough to be understood.

In this regard, pronunciation instruction is thought to be of paramount significance, in that it is also closely related to the success of learners in other language skills. The focus of pronunciation instruction in most studies is either related to segmental features (Gonzales-Bueno & Quintana-Lara, 2011; Liu & Fu 2011; Olson, 2014) or suprasegmental features (Gomez, Lacabex & Garcia Lecumberri, 2010; Koike, 2014; Zarifi & Sayyadi, 2015), though some studies have been inclined toward investigating both features simultaneously (Gordon, Darcy, & Ewert, 2013).

Literature abounds with the studies that have investigated the influence of different learner-induced and contextual factors on the intelligibility and efficiency of pronunciation, among which mention can be made of factors like learners' age (Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu, 1999), proficiency level (Derwing & Munro, 2005) and second and foreign language learning environments (Derwing, 2003). Two more factors that might influence foreign language pronunciation are thought to be motivation to learn a foreign language and the type of corrective feedback provided to the learners’ mispronunciations.

Motivation and pronunciation

Motivation to learn a foreign language has long been the focus of interest for many scholars (Carreira, 2011; Pat, Tillema, & Koppen, 2012). It is emphasized that motivation influences the rate and success of language learning (Dörnyei, 1998). Guay, Chanal, Ratelle, Marsh, Larose and Boivin (2010) refer to motivation as a major reason underlying behavior. Gredler, Broussard and Garrison (2004) define motivation as the major move leading us to opt for doing something. As Marinova-Todd, Marshall, and Snow (2000) state, even adults can attain high levels of native-like proficiency if they enjoy higher levels of motivation.

Motivation is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic types. According to Deci and Ryan’s (1985) intrinsic/ extrinsic motivation theory, learners who are interested in learning tasks and outcomes for their own sake (intrinsic) rather than for rewards (extrinsic) are likely to become more effective learners. They state that intrinsic motivation refers to motivation to engage in an activity because that activity is enjoyable and satisfying to do. Extrinsically motivated behaviors are those actions carried out to achieve some instrumental end, such as earning a reward or avoiding a punishment.

The effect of motivation on acquiring different skills and components of language has, thus far, been investigated by different researchers. For instance, Wen (2005) investigated the phonological ability of exceptional second language learners of English and their levels of motivation. The participants completed a questionnaire and produced four speech samples which contained a picture description task, paragraph reading task, sentence reading, and word reading task. The samples were judged and scored by the native speakers. The study revealed that there was no significant correlation between the participant's scores on pronunciation and their motivation.

Also, Yousofi and Naderfarjad (2015) investigated the relationship between motivation and pronunciation. They measured the effect of integrative and instrumental motivation on intermediate learners' pronunciation skill and concluded that motivation correlated significantly with the learners' pronunciation skill.

Oral corrective feedback and pronunciation

Foreign language learners receive feedback during their foreign language learning journey either from their teachers, their peers, or the native speakers of that language. As stated by Lightbown and Spada (1999), corrective feedback may take place via any act that reminds the learners of their erroneous use of language. It is believed that corrective feedback contributes to learners’ language improvement (Sheen, 2007), because it helps the learners notice the gap in their own knowledge (Schmidt, 1990), and this prevents fossilization as it permits the learners to identify incongruities between their interlanguage and the target language (Gass, 1991). When the learners notice the gap, they start negotiating about their problem in their target language with their teachers or their peers through confirmation and comprehension checks, clarification requests, elaboration and simplifications (Long, 1983). When learners interact and negotiate for meaning, this interaction mediates learning through the construction of zone of proximal development (Ellis, 2009). Through scaffolding, learners are able to use the target language with assistance from teachers or peers in the classroom to produce language that they would not yet be able to do on their own (Sheen, 2010).

Corrective feedback takes different forms in a language classroom, including self-correction (Hernández, et al., 2010), peer correction (Mall-Amiri & Hesami, 2013), and teacher correction. Corrective feedback also encompasses explicit and implicit types. Teachers can provide corrective feedback either without interrupting the flow of conversation (implicit feedback) or overtly with an emphasis on the ill-formed utterance (explicit feedback). Lyster and Ranta (1997) referred to six categories of corrective feedback used by teachers in response to learner errors which include explicit correction (the explicit provision of the correct form), recasts (the teacher’s reformulation of all or part of a student’s utterance, minus the error), clarification requests (the indication to students that their utterance has not been understood by the teacher or that the utterance is ill-formed in some way and that a repetition or a reformulation is required), metalinguistic feedback (comments, information, or questions related to the well-formedness of the student’s utterance, without explicitly providing the correct form), elicitation (a technique that teachers use to directly elicit the correct form from the student) and repetition (the teacher’s repetition, in isolation, of the student’s erroneous utterance). In most cases, teachers adjust their intonation so as to highlight the error. Several research studies (e.g. Dlaska & Krekeler, 2013; Miller & Pan, 2012) have been carried out with regard to different types of feedback provision to learners.

The effectiveness of different types of feedback is measured by the degree it leads to uptake, and the extent to which it is followed by learners’ repair. Lyster and Ranta (1997) define uptake as the influence of teacher’s feedback on the learner’s produced utterance. In other words, the reaction the leaner shows toward the correction made by the teacher is referred to as uptake.

The effect of oral corrective feedback has been investigated by many researchers (Dlaska & Krekeler, 2013; Hernández, et al., 2010; Martinez, 2013; Mall-Amiri & Hesami, 2013; Mohammadi Darabad, 2013; Mollakhan, et al., 2013; Saito & Lyster, 2012). Martinez (2013), for instance, investigated the potential impact that teachers' oral corrective feedback can cause among learners in classroom settings. By collecting data from four secondary schools, a total of 208 questionnaires were gathered and analyzed. The results of the study illustrated that though learners find the teachers’ oral corrective feedback helpful and welcome being corrected, most of the learners resent and worry about making mistakes, they doubt themselves and their learning possibilities, become upset when they do not know what the teacher corrects and some become upset when the teacher corrects them and prefer not to talk for the rest of the lesson.

Mohammadi Darabad (2013) focused on the effect of prompts and recasts on the oral accuracy of elementary female EFL learners and measured their positive or negative attitudes towards foreign language by Gardner’s (1985) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The participants took Key English Test (KET) as a placement test, and based on the scores they were assigned into three groups of prompt, recast and control. Then, the participants answered AMTB questionnaire, had treatment sessions, immediate and delayed posttest. The analysis revealed that both prompts and recasts improved the oral accuracy of the learners with prompts being superior to recasts, but no interaction was found between attitudes and feedback types concerning the target language accuracy.

Dlaska and Krekeler (2013) examined the effect of explicit individual corrective feedback on L2 pronunciation at the micro-level to find out whether individual corrective feedback needs to be accompanied by listening-only interventions. To this end, the study investigated the immediate effect of feedback on comprehensibility of controlled speech production by L2 learners. Two groups of adult learners of German were selected for the study. The first group was exposed to listening-only activities, that is, the learners were listening to their own recorded pronunciation and the teachers’ model pronunciation. The other group received individual corrective feedback in addition to the listening activities. The participants read a text and two judges rated whether the learners could determine the differences between the comprehensibility of the samples of pretest and posttest in a blind and randomized rating task. At the end, it was concluded that individual corrective feedback was more useful than listening-only activities concerning the improvement in L2 learners’ comprehensibility.

Mollakhan, Rasouli, and Karbalaei (2013) investigated how different types of oral corrective feedback influence the learning of L2 vocabulary by adults during controlled classroom interactions. Using a pretest-treatment-posttest design, the participants of the study were assigned into three groups including prompt, recast, and no feedback group and a four-step vocabulary activity was provided to these groups. The data analysis showed that prompts and recasts helped the learners detect and correct errors in their own speech when they were learning new vocabularies.

Finally, Mall-Amiri and Hesami (2013) focused on the comparative effect of peer metalinguistic corrective feedback on elementary and intermediate EFL learners’ speaking ability. Their study revealed that peer metalinguistic corrective feedback improved the learners’ speaking ability because the students heard the feedback, understood it and acted upon it and the feedback was tangible to them.

All in all, in the light of the available literature on the issue, part of which was briefed in this section, it can be claimed that very scant heed has, thus far, been given to the potential effect of learners’ motivation on the intelligibility of their pronunciation in the light of oral corrective feedback. Thus, as stated earlier, to fill the alleged gap in this regard, the current study strived to pinpoint the would-be effect of motivation on elementary EFL learners’ responses to oral corrective feedback in terms of pronunciation intelligibility. Thus, the main research questions formulated in the study were as follow:

1. Does Iranian EFL learners’ motivation have a significant effect on the intelligibility of their pronunciation?

2. Which type of correction (teacher or peer type) makes a more significant contribution to better student uptake in terms of pronunciation and leads to more intelligible pronunciation?

3. Do intrinsically motivated students differ from their extrinsically motivated counterparts in terms of the possible pronunciation gains resulting from corrective feedback?

 

Method

Participants

To conduct the present study, 58 female participants learning English in Iran Language Institute were selected from two intact groups and were randomly assigned to one of the two comparison groups. They were all Elementary adult English learners between the ages of 14 and 15. Their classes were held twice a week, and the treatment resumed for the course of one full semester ranging over a period of around three months.

Design of the study

The present study enjoyed a quasi-experimental design involving two comparison groups. The two groups were assigned a pretest, treatment sessions, a posttest, and a questionnaire. The first group received oral corrective feedback by the teacher and the second group received oral peer corrective feedback on their second language pronunciation. The corrective feedback in both groups served as implicit pronunciation instruction.

Instrumentation

The pronunciation test

The pronunciation test was developed by the researchers, though it partly followed the lead of Yousofi and Naderifarjad (2015). It consisted of 30 items measuring students’ pronunciation (Appendix A). Each item received one point in this test. The pronunciation test was piloted with 53 similar participants, and its reliability was calculated using K-R 21 formula. Its reliability coefficient equaled .70 and its validity was checked by three experts in the field. The pretest was also used as the posttest of the study, as the participants took the posttest after a three-month interval, and this interval was thought to be long enough to remove the practice effect.

The motivation questionnaire

The questionnaire used in the study was adopted from Zubairi and Sarudin (2009), based on a synthesis of items appearing in the literature on the reasons to learn a foreign language (see Appendix B). It was a 16-item questionnaire on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from strongly agree (given the value 6) to strongly disagree (receiving the value one). The questionnaire items focused on students’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to learn a foreign language. The questionnaire was piloted with 112 individuals and its reliability was found to be around .80 and its validity was checked by three experts in the field.

Procedure

Both groups received a pretest at the outset of the study. A questionnaire was also administered to both groups. The two groups received treatment for a matter of three months. The students in both groups studied the same book and did the same exercises while receiving different types of corrective feedback. The first group received corrective feedback by the teacher and the second group received corrective feedback by their peers during classroom activities. All corrective feedback types (explicit correction, recasts, clarification requests, metalinguistic feedback, elicitation and repetition) were utilized in both groups. The oral corrective feedback in two groups was used to serve as implicit pronunciation instruction to the learners at the segmental level.  At the end of the study, both groups received a posttest.

 

Data Analysis

The data were collected and analyzed using SPSS, version 19. To answer the research questions, the participants' responses to different items of the motivation questionnaire were scored. It was a 16-item questionnaire on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from strongly agree (given the value 6) to strongly disagree (receiving the value one). At the end of the scoring procedure, each participant received one intrinsic motivation score, one extrinsic motivation score and a total motivation score which was the addition of the intrinsic and extrinsic scores. Also, the participants took a pronunciation test at the end of the treatment as a posttest. An independent samples t-test was run to compare the participants' pretest scores in both groups at the beginning of the study. To see the effect of motivation (total motivation scores including both intrinsic and extrinsic scores) to learn a foreign language on EFL learners’ intelligible pronunciation ability (posttest scores) in both groups, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was utilized. To explore which type of correction, the teacher or the peer correction, contributed to better student uptake and made the learners’ pronunciation more intelligible, an independent samples t-test was utilized. Finally, to understand whether intrinsically motivated students differed in their intelligible pronunciation ability in both groups, the intrinsic motivation scores of the students and their posttest scores in both groups were compared by utilizing MANOVA.

 

Results

Foreign language motivation and EFL learners' intelligible pronunciation

To make sure that the participants were homogenous regarding their intelligible pronunciation at the onset of the study, both groups were given a pre-test and then an independent samples t-test was administered to compare the pretest scores.  The mean score of the first group was 26.07 and that of the second group was 26.14. The analysis revealed that there was not a statistically significant difference between two groups at the beginning of the study concerning their pronunciation ability (t (54) = -0.152; ρ > .05), and therefore, the two groups were homogenous at the beginning of the study.

To answer the first research question, that is, whether motivation affected students’ pronunciation ability or not, the effect of motivation (the participants' total motivation scores) on students’ posttest scores (the pronunciation test) was examined in both groups. To this end, MANOVA was run. The descriptive statistics for posttest are demonstrated in Table 1.

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for the Posttest in Both Groups

Descriptive Statistics

 

participant's group

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

participant's posttest score

experimental group

26.52

2.637

27

control group

27.11

2.025

28

Total

26.82

2.342

55

total motivation score

experimental group

69.96

12.164

27

control group

70.21

7.941

28

Total

70.09

10.138

55

 

Multivariate Tests reported that there are not statistically significant differences among two groups, as Table 2 shows. A Wilks’ Lambda with a value of 0.98 was obtained with a significance value of .65 which is more than .05. This shows that there is not a statistically significant difference between two groups in terms of their intelligible pronunciation.

Table 2. Multivariate Testsfor the First Research Question

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Partial Eta Squared

Intercept

Pillai's Trace

.994

4263.221a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Wilks' Lambda

.006

4263.221a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Hotelling's Trace

163.970

4263.221a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Roy's Largest Root

163.970

4263.221a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

group

Pillai's Trace

.016

.426a

2.000

52.000

.655

.016

Wilks' Lambda

.984

.426a

2.000

52.000

.655

.016

Hotelling's Trace

.016

.426a

2.000

52.000

.655

.016

Roy's Largest Root

.016

.426a

2.000

52.000

.655

.016

 

Thus, it could be statistically concluded that motivation does not affect students’ intelligible pronunciation.

Teacher correction, peer correction and intelligible pronunciation

To answer the second research question, inquiring which type of correction, teacher or peer correction, may contribute to better student uptake and make learners’ pronunciation more intelligible, the means of post-test scores in groups 1 and 2 were compared. To do this comparison, an independent samples t-test was run between two groups as shown in Table 4. The descriptive statistics are shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Descriptive Statistics for the Second Research Question

 

participant's group

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

participant's score

experimental group

27

26.52

2.637

.507

control group

28

27.11

2.025

.383

 

There was not a statistically significant difference between two groups at the end of the study (t (53) = -0.931; ρ > .05)

 

Table 4. Independent Samples t-test for the Second Research Question

 

Levene's Test for Equality of Variances

t-test for Equality of Means

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Lower

Upper

Participants’ Posttest Scores

Equal variances assumed

1.955

.168

-.931

53

.356

-.589

.632

-1.857

.680

Equal variances not assumed

 

 

-.926

48.785

.359

-.589

.636

-1.866

.689

 

Based on what is presented in Table 4, it can be claimed that there is not a significant difference between students’ scores as a result of either teacher or peer corrective feedback.

Intrinsic motivation and intelligible pronunciation

To answer the third research question, that is, whether intrinsically motivated students differed in terms of their intelligible pronunciation, the intrinsic motivation scores of the students and their posttest scores in both groups were compared. To this aim, MANOVA was run. The descriptive statistics are shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Descriptive statistics for the third research question

 

participant's group

Mean

Std. Deviation

N

participant's posttest score

experimental group

26.52

2.637

27

control group

27.11

2.025

28

Total

26.82

2.342

55

participant's intrinsic motivation score

experimental group

39.74

6.555

27

control group

38.21

5.123

28

Total

38.96

5.866

55

 

Multivariate Tests reported that there are not statistically significant differences between two groups. A Wilks’ Lambda with a value of .96 was obtained with a significance value of .39 which is more than .05. This shows that there is not a statistically significant difference between the students' intrinsic motivation scores and their posttest scores as is depicted in Table 6.

Table 6. Multivariate Tests for the third research question

Effect

Value

F

Hypothesis df

Error df

Sig.

Partial Eta Squared

Intercept

Pillai's Trace

.994

4413.694a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Wilks' Lambda

.006

4413.694a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Hotelling's Trace

169.757

4413.694a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

Roy's Largest Root

169.757

4413.694a

2.000

52.000

.000

.994

group

Pillai's Trace

.036

.958a

2.000

52.000

.390

.036

Wilks' Lambda

.964

.958a

2.000

52.000

.390

.036

Hotelling's Trace

.037

.958a

2.000

52.000

.390

.036

Roy's Largest Root

.037

.958a

2.000

52.000

.390

.036

 

Discussion and Conclusion

The researchers in the present study strived to find the impact of motivation to learn a foreign language on EFL learners’ pronunciation gains in the light of teacher and peer oral corrective feedback. To this end, leaners in both groups received oral corrective feedback on their pronunciation errors. The providers of the feedback were either the teacher or the peers. The results indicated that motivation to learn a foreign language did not affect the learners' pronunciation gains significantly when the learners were provided by oral corrective feedback in two groups. Though both groups enjoyed high degrees of motivation, the participants’ posttest scores were not acquiescent with their motivation scores. Those students who were highly motivated couldn’t obtain a good score on the posttest. Therefore, this finding is not in line with that of Yousofi and Naderifarjad (2015) who suggested that motivation affects pronunciation. Nevertheless, it corroborates the finding of Wen’s (2005) study in which an insignificant correlation was reported between pronunciation and motivation.

Moreover, in this study, it was found that the teacher or the peer oral corrective feedback did not make any difference in the final outcomes of the two groups, and both of them led to pronunciation betterment of learners (Dlaska & Krekeler, 2013; Mall-Amiri & Hesami, 2013; Mohammadi Darabad, 2013), and none of them was found to function better than the other. One explanation for this result could be the fact that the oral corrective feedback in both groups was utilized as implicit pronunciation instruction for the learners at the segmental level, because when the learners were provided with feedback, they paid conscious attention to the input (teacher or peer feedback) and noticed a gap between their own interlanguage (pronunciation) and the target language (teacher or peer); in other words, their improvement is thought to be attributable to noticing hypothesis (Schmidt, 1990). To notice this gap, the learners interacted with their teacher or their peers and negotiated for meaning (Long, 1983). This interaction mediated learning though the construction of zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). The scaffolding that happens between the teacher and the learners or the learners and their peers, is thought to have helped them use the target language with the assistance of a more competent speaker (Sheen, 2007).

Finally, it was revealed that intrinsically motivated students in group 1 (teacher feedback) did not differ in their responses to oral corrective feedback in terms of pronunciation gains when compared to their counterparts in group 2 (peer feedback). Thus, this finding is believed to run contrary to the claim holding that those participants who are interested in learning tasks and outcomes for their own sake (are intrinsically motivated) are likely to become more effective learners than those who enjoy higher levels of extrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 1999; Dörnyei, 1998; Marinova-Todd, et al., 2000).

All in all, several reasons might have led to the insignificant and partially odd result of the present study. First, motivation to learn a foreign language may not have significantly affected the learners’ intelligible pronunciation, because the learners in both groups were exposed to oral corrective feedback regarding their pronunciation either by their teacher or their peers, which made their pronunciation better and it did not matter whether they were motivated or not. In other words, the learners were sort of obliged to listen to their teacher or their peers’ oral corrective feedback in the classroom and this feedback improved the comprehensibility of their pronunciation (Dlaska & Krekeler, 2013).

Second, in line with Martinez’s (2013) claim, learners in the first group may have merely welcomed oral corrective feedback due to their tendency to be corrected by the teacher, and hence the well-received oral corrective feedback may have overshadowed the role of motivation. On the other hand, learners in the second group are likely to have improved their pronunciation under the less threatening atmosphere of peer correction
(Mall-Amiri & Hesami, 2013).

Third, another constraint which may have allegedly led to the insignificant results of the present study could be the fact that since most students in the current study were competing with one another in the classroom and were all highly and equally motivated (as is possibly the case with most female classes), motivation to learn a foreign language did not affect the learners' intelligible pronunciation to a significant degree.

Last, learners in both groups were in controlled conditions and though in the second group there was peer corrective feedback, the presence of the teacher might have affected the learners’ performance and caused them to respond to their peers’ oral corrective feedback better. Therefore, in less controlled, and less teacher-dominated circumstances peer feedback is likely to produce partially different outcomes.

Altogether, the results obtained are not compatible with the prevailing research regarding the effect of motivation on EFL learners’ language improvement. Yet, contrary results are likely to be gained, if the role of other factors such as gender is taken into account since one of the limitations of this study was that it was conducted only on female participants. Future research might replicate this study on both male and female participants. Moreover, the results may differ if the study is conducted in less controlled conditions. Finally, looked at from a different perspective, oral corrective feedback might have acted as a constraint on the way of motivation to have an effect on the learners’ intelligible pronunciation. Future research may help shed more light on the effect of motivation on learners’ pronunciation enhancement by opting for alternative methods of modeling pronunciation, like using a CD or a dictionary, because it might be argued that when the teacher or a peer gives oral corrective feedback to learners, the learners may try harder to better their pronunciation in order to save their face in the classroom, but when they listen to a model pronunciation through a CD, the threatening and pressurizing role of affective factors is likely to go to a slight dip.

Though the role of motivation in improving learning outcomes is undeniable, it was shown in the current study that it does not affect EFL learners' intelligible pronunciation. The issue problematized in the current study may help teachers not depend too much on the construct of motivation to improve the learners' intelligible pronunciation and think about other ways to improve the learners' pronunciation gains.

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