A Self System Perspective on Young Adolescents’ Motivation to Learn English in Urban and Rural Settings


  • This research was facilitated by a grant from the journal Language Learning. I would like to thank Drs Budiyanto for his continuing practical support and intellectual input during fieldwork in Sumatra, and Ms. Endah Mayasari for her help in Java. I’d also like to thank Judit Kormos, Stephen Ryan, Simon Borg, and Hywel Coleman for their advice during the preparation of the paper.

Martin Lamb, University of Leeds, School of Education, Hillary Place Leeds LS2 9JT, United Kingdom. Internet: M.V.Lamb@education.leeds.ac.uk


This study examined the motivation to learn English of Indonesian junior high school pupils, 13–14 years of age, in three distinct contexts: a metropolitan city, a provincial town, and a rural district. Utilizing Dörnyei's second language (L2) Motivational Self System as the theoretical framework, this study employed a 50-item questionnaire to sample the views of 527 learners, and a C-test to measure their current proficiency in English. Motivation was found to be similar in strength and character in the two urban settings but significantly different in the rural setting. A positive view of the experience of learning English was the strongest predictor of both motivated learning behavior and L2 proficiency, whereas the Ideal L2 self was only a significant factor among the metropolitan group.