Potential Changes in Saudi Students’ Motivations and Attitudes towards Learning English as a Foreign Language after Immersion in an L2 Learning Environment

Saudi Students’ Motivations and Attitudes, English as a Foreign Language, L2 Learning Environment, SLA, Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System


  • Maha Alshehri
    Dean of College, College of Arts and Sciences for Female, Al-Majardah, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia
January 3, 2022


This study traces potential changes in the motivation of Saudi students studying English as a second language (L2) in the UK. It investigates whether the beliefs and motivations of these students have changed during their learning experience, and identifies the pedagogical implications of such change for English teaching, not only to Saudi students in the UK but also to Saudi students enrolled in Saudi higher education institutions. It aims to identify the reasons behind changes in motivation as well as the impact these may have on students’ attitudes towards learning English as a foreign language (EFL). Data from questionnaires, interviews, and observations are used through three phases of the English academic programme. The study subjects are newly arrived Saudi students (three PhD students and 29 Master’s students) studying in four different universities in the UK under the fields of Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, and Translation. The conceptual framework is based on Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self System Theory and Dörnyei & Ushioda’s motivation and L2 self-framework. Changes in motivation are usually accompanied by changes in students’ classroom involvement, attitudes towards the target language, and positive or negative impacts on the students’ outcomes and language competencies. Similar to other types of learning, L2 learning cannot take place in a vacuum. The present study has various contributions to the field of SLA. First, it validates earlier studies about the issue of motivation in linguistics, attitudes towards language, and changes in one’s self-identity as an outcome of language development. Second, it serves as an addition to the body of knowledge pertaining to motivation and attitude of Saudi students towards English as L2 and the important role of culture in this process. Further, it serves as an important contribution to how Saudi students’ L2 acquisition is understood using Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System.