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Volume 3 Number 2, Spring 2006, Pages 1-192   

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Motivation and Attitudes Toward Foreign Language Learning as Socio-politically Mediated Constructs: The Case of Korean High School Students

    Tae-Young Kim

This paper investigates socio-political aspects of English as a foreign language (EFL) learning motivation and attitudes toward Americans and toward English learning among Korean high school students. I analyzed the nature of situation-specific language learning motivation and attitudes among 364 Korean high school students who completed questionnaires about EFL learning and an English proficiency test. Factor analyses revealed seven motivational factors, including a situation-specific competitive motivation across gender and age groups. This debilitative motivation might have been due to the negative washback of the nation-wide high-stakes test of college admission. A negative correlation was identified between the attitudes toward Americans and English proficiency, which might be attributed to anti-American sentiment among young Koreans. The results suggest that EFL motivation should be considered as a dynamic construct reflecting the socio-political dimensions of Korean EFL learners' educational contexts.