Vol. 4, Issue 4 (2018)
Researching ESL motivation: Which skill is learners’ favorite motivator?
Author(s): Mohamed A Eno, Pramod Kumar, Sadak H Hamza
Abstract: Although a great paucity exists in scholarly studies on education in Somalia, the scarcity is more evident in the English studies area, particularly English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) (used interchangeably in this study), where almost none had existed until Mohamed Eno’s MA TESOL Dissertation in 2005 and his recent article in the Journal of Somali Studies in 2017. Influenced by both the paucity and the latter study in 20171, which recommended further examination of ESL/EFL area studies, this research investigates EFL students’ perceptions of what they consider as more motivating or most motivating skill among the four second language acquisition (SLA) skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing.2 Consequently, the results reveal that learners do not perceive more listening as a very motivating factor compared to more speaking, identified as the most motivating skill and ahead of more writing in the overall ratings. With very low results on the whole, more reading, on the other hand, is much below both speaking and writing in significance, though ahead of listening as a potential motivator. Interestingly, the findings also reveal persistent learner misunderstanding of the interlinkedness of the four skills, with a misperception that acquisition of one skill is independent of the others, as captured from an analysis of the vagaries in their responses.