Adjusting the Paradigm: A Theme-based Approach to EAP

The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics Volume 3 pp 35-55

 

A Study of Self-identity Changes and Correlation of influential factors of Thai Students Studying English

 

Patumporn Boonchum*

 

 

Abstract    

 

English is regarded as an International Language. Most Thai students have to learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Significantly, learning languages, not only English, is related to a foreign culture’s behavioral norms, and cultural values that usually determine a person’s self-identity. Especially, students in English major may undergo self-identity changes. This quantitative study investigated types of self-identity changes occurring in undergraduate students majoring in English, at Naresuan University (Eng NU) and Thammasat University (Eng TU), also students majoring in English Literature at Thammasat University (Eng Lit). In addition, this study investigated the factors which had influenced these self-identity changes. The instrument of the research was a questionnaire. ANOVA is carried out to test difference and analyze the correlation between six types of changes and six independent variables (t-test).

 

Key words:  identity  self-identity changes

 

Introduction

 

Language is important for people. The most significance is that it a tool for communication. Actually, there are many languages in the world; however, English is regarded as an International Language. For that reason, students who are not English speakers have to learn it to communicate with others. In addition, it is generally used in academic, professional and personal domains. English becomes more and more important in the world. Most students in Asia have to learn English, for the reason that they can communicate with foreigners by using it. Nevertheless, English in each country is used in different status, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) in India, but English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Thailand.

Most of Thai students are interested in foreign languages especially English because it is an international language. All levels of Thai educational system, the students have to learn English as a foreign language. Significantly, learning languages, not only English, is related to foreign culture’s behavioral norms, and cultural values that usually determine person’s self-identity. Someone who has studied a foreign language will undergo some changes, for example, her perceptions of her competence, style of communication, value system, behavior, or individual personality. In addition, those changes depend on personal factors, such as the learners’ age, gender, starting age of new language learning, motivation to learn English or attitude towards English, etc. All of them may be influential factors of identity changes. According to undergoing self-identity changes of Thai students, Thai identity, culture, value, or norm may be replaced by foreign language. Finally, the valuable Thai identity may lose. Moreover, the study of self-identity changes does not found in Thailand. Most of previous studies of English learning in Thailand are often concentrated on only English teaching materials, or approaches of English teaching. Some researchers may overlook to study identity of Thai which encounter a loss because of replaced by foreign language in the future. For the reason that the researcher wants Thai students, teachers or educators to be seriously aware of maintenance of Thai identity, also the researcher thinks that the result of this study will be useful for Thai identity maintenance. Significantly, English learners can harmonize well both Thai and English language, identity, or culture. For this reason, this study is intended to explore English language learners’ self-identity changes in Thailand.

Thai students have studied English in EFL context to be the same as Chinese. This study is a modified version of “Self-identity changes and English learning among Chinese undergraduates” (Yihong, et al., 2005) and “Relationship between English Learning Motivation Types and Self-identity changes: A Quantitative Study on Chinese University Students (Yihong, et al., 2006). However, some influential factors on self-identity changes in a study of Thai college students are different from Chinese, for example, motivation of English learning or attitude towards English etc. Eggen and Kauchak (1994: 427) suggest that motivation is a force that energizes and directs behavior toward a goal and to increase in motivation of a student. It is a powerful factor that influences the total learning goal. Nevertheless, this quantitative study will investigate Thai undergraduate students as the small size of participants of the study. The researcher will investigate six types of self-identity changes of learners who have studied in English for years as a pilot study. The researcher believes that after students learn English, self-identity changes will associate with English study especially the college students in English major. They have to learn English more than other students in other majors; therefore, their self-identity changes such as self-confidence, productive change or zero change may occur to them.

In this study, the researchers interested in self-identity changes may occur to Thai students of English major and English literature. For the reason that the students in both English and English Literature major have to study English more than students in other majors, they may have more chances to change their self-identities.  Nevertheless, the researcher thinks that between students in a major of English and English literature are differences in self-identity changes. These differences may depend on the curriculum which they have learned. For example, students of English major have to learn all four English skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Those learners usually practice their English skill which may influence them to encounter self-identity changes. For instance, the students who want to improve their English speaking skill always practice to speak English. As a result, they can speak English fluently; however, their Thai may become less idiomatic unconsciously. In the other way, the students of English literature major will learn English literature which concentrates on critical writing and reading English, they may have differences of self-identity changes. Alternatively, circumstance and background of English learners is significant. The students who study English in town have an opportunity to meet many foreigners. They can learn the various culture or behavior of foreigners more than student in country. According to meeting or learning foreign culture or behavior, those students in town can become somewhat westernized. In addition, student who have ever gone to abroad may feel better appreciate the subtleties in other language and culture more than Thai. Thus, the researcher tries to indicate the importance of subjects in English curriculum, context of English learning or background of English learners may influence over learners’ notion of self-identity changes. Additionally, the differences of college location which is located in town and country may have an effect on person’s identity such as behavior or idea.

 

Purposes of the study

 

1.               To study types of self-identity changes occurring in undergraduate students who have studied English as their major, at Naresuan University and Thammasat University, also students in English Literature major at Thammasat University.

 

2.               To study differences of self-identity changes between students who have learned in English major in town, Thammasat University, and country, Naresuan University.

 

3.      To study the factors which have influenced these self-identity changes.

 

4.      To study the relationship between the influential factors and the types of self-identity changes.

 

Research Methodology

 

Participants of the study

 

The participants of the study is 113 undergraduates: both males and females who are studying English. They are divided into 45 students of English major at the Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University, 41 students of English major at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University and 27 students of English Literature at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University. The participants selected is a “purposive” sampling, the potential respondents are chosen from a random number table of Yamane. As a randomly selected sample, there is an error to tolerate (E) at and degree of confidence of 95%. The selected participants depends on gender, major, years of learning English, foreign friends, going abroad, English motivation, and attitude towards English.

 

Instrument

 

A questionnaire was the instrument in this study. There were four parts to the questionnaire. The first part was a questionnaire check-list and the second, third, and fourth parts consisted of question responses according to the five point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). In this study, the data were analyzed using the Statistic Package for Social Science Programs (SPSS). Descriptive statistics analysis presented the frequency and percentage of respondents and ANOVA was carried out to test difference which was set to a significance level of 0.05 and analyze the correlation between six types of changes and six independent variables (t-test).

 

Variables in the Study

 

The variables in the study were distributed between independent and dependent variables. The independent variables were gender, major, years of English learning, having foreign friends, going abroad, motivation to learn English, attitude towards English. The dependent variables are:

 

1) Self-confidence change--change in the perception of ones’ own `competence.

2) Additive change-- the co-existence of two sets of language, behavioral patterns and values, each specified for particular contexts.

3) Productive change-- the command of the target language and that of the native language positively reinforce each other.

4) Subtractive change-- the native language and native cultural identity are replaced by the target language and target cultural identity.

5) Split change-- the struggle between the languages and cultures gives rise to identity conflict.

6) Zero change-- absence of self-identity change.

 

Results

 

The results present the statistical analysis of the study. The presentation is divided into two parts. The first is group differences in self-identity changes, and the second is correlation of influential factors on self-identity changes.

 

Group differences in self-identity changes

 

In this stage, the difference and hypothesis of this study is tested. Difference is analyzed according to six types of change and independent variables, which are:

 

1. Major and self-identity changes

 

Table 1 presents mean () scores of six types of changes by participants of the three majors. On self-confidence, Eng TU (15.17) scored higher than Eng Lit (15.07) and Eng NU (14.27). For additive change, Eng NU (18.13) is the highest mean score, Eng TU average number is 17.73, and Eng Lit is 16.78 respectively. Meanwhile, Eng NU (18.98) has the highest mean score for “productive” change, Eng Lit is 18.07 and the mean of Eng TU is 17.56.

For positive change, although averages are different, the result of critical value F-test; (F crit) which is more than calculated F (F) by ANOVA can be used for finding group difference. If F crit is more than F, it indicates that self-identity changes are not different by major.  The result of positive change by major finds that self-confidence (F crit=3.08, F= 1.68), additive (F crit=3.08, F= 1.91), and productive change (F crit=3.08, F= 2.91) are not different. All three majors undergo similar self-confidence, additive, and productive change.

For negative changes, “subtractive”, “split”, and “zero” change are described as follows. On subtractive change (F crit=3.08, F= 5.64), the value of F is more than F crit. Therefore, there is difference in subtractive change by major. When the result of difference in subtractive change by major is found, pairs of majors differentiate significantly according to the multiple comparison test of Sheffé (Vcd and Different mean). There is a pair of majors: Eng NU and Eng Lit (Vcd = 2.01 < different mean = 2.64). Consequently, student in Eng NU and Eng Lit are significantly in subtractive change. Eng NU undergo more subtractive change than Eng Lit.  On split change (F crit=3.08, F= 8.02), value of F scored more than F crit. This indicates there is a split change effect according to major.  When the result of F and F crit is shown, multiple comparison test of Sheffé will be used for finding which pairs of majors differentiate significantly.  As a result, Eng NU and Eng Lit (Vcd = 1.61 < different mean = 2.60), and Eng TU and Eng Lit (Vcd = 1.64 < different mean = 1.76) differentiate significantly.  Accordingly, Eng NU and Eng TU undergo more split change than Eng Lit. For zero change (F crit=3.08, F= 0.54), a value of F is less than F crit. Thus, the result indicates that the major does not effect to zero change. Students in three the majors in this study similarly undergo zero change.

Along with the result of subtractive change and split change by major, differences have been found in subtractive change and split change among students in the three majors, Eng NU, Eng TU and Eng Lit. According to the findings, students in Eng NU and Eng Lit are significantly different in subtractive and split change, including students in Eng TU and Eng Lit are different in split change to a significant degree.

 

2. Gender and self-identity changes

 

The results presents mean score () of self-identity change by gender. The result indicates that male is higher than female on types of confidence (15.30), additive (18.92), productive (19.33), subtractive (11.58), and zero change (15.08), with the exception that female is higher than male on split change (12.26).  Over all average numbers of self-identity changes by gender in the study show that male students generally scored higher than female students. Despite the average number of self-identity change for male students, the result of critical value of F crit being more than F indicates that self-identity changes do not differ by gender. The result of self-identity change by gender finds self-confidence (F crit=3.93, F= 0.64), additive (F crit=3.93, F= 2.65), productive (F crit=3.93, F= 1.93), subtractive (F crit=3.93, F= 0.16), split (F crit=3.93, F= 0.04, and zero change (F crit=3.93, F= 0.28) are not different. Consequently, gender does not affect self-identity changes.

 

3. Foreign friend and self-identity changes

 

Students with foreign friends had higher mean scores than students who did not have foreign friends, with regard to positive change; confidence (friend =15.11, no friend = 14.03), additive (friend=17.90, no friend = 17.12), productive (friend =18.46, no friend = 17.76). As for negative change, there are differences in average number of self-identity changes. They are subtractive (friend =11.10, no friend = 11.41), split (friend =12.38, no friend = 11.88) and zero change (friend =14.77, no friend = 14.35). To find differences in self-identity changes though foreign friendship, a significant main effect of foreign friendship on self-confidence change is tested by ANOVA (F and F crit).  On self-confidence change scale (F crit=3.93, F= 4.68), the value of F is more than F crit. As a result, foreign friendship affects self-confidence change. Students with foreign friends undergo more self-confidence change in learning English than student who do not. For other types of self-identity changes; additive (F crit=3.93, F= 1.76), productive (F crit=3.93, F= 1.46), subtractive (F crit=3.93, F= 0.19), split (F crit=3.93, F= 0.73), and zero change (F crit=3.93, F= 0.65), value of F is less than F crit. The result indicates foreign friend does not affect self-identity change, especially, additive, productive, subtractive, split, and zero change.  Student who has foreign friend and has not foreign friend undergo additive, productive, subtractive, split, and zero change indifferently.

The average confidence of participants who have and those without foreign friends indicates that the average value of having foreign friends and not having them differs. The number of students with foreign friends is 79, with 34 who do not have foreign friends. The average of the first group is equal to 15.11, and second group is 14.03. These values are different on average of confidence change and participants who have and those without foreign friends, 1.08. The average values are used to the test hypothesis of differences in confidence change between students who have and those who do not have foreign friends. The result of F is 4.68 which is greater than F crit (3.93); therefore, there are differences in confidence change between students who have foreign friends and those without.

 

4. Going abroad and self-identity changes

 

The information compares the mean scores () of six types of self-identity change between students who have and those who have never been abroad.  Most of students who have been abroad have a higher mean in confidence (15.17), additive (15.17), and zero change (15.00). Meanwhile, students who have never been abroad have a higher mean score in productive (18.32), subtractive (11.37), and split change (12.34). 

In this section, there are two types of self-identity change which have the same mean scores. They are self-confidence (abroad = 15.17, no abroad = 14.44) and additive changes (abroad = 15.17, no abroad = 14.44). When the mean score is calculated and presented, the result of F crit and F will test wheter self-confidence and additive change are different as a result of going abroad. For self-confidence change and additive change, the value of F (2.44) is less than F crit (3.93). It indicates that both students who have and have never been abroad undergo self-confidence and additive change similarly.

On productive, subtractive and split change, the average number of students who have never been abroad is higher than for those who have. The result of F crit and F of productive (F crit=3.93, F= 0.09), subtractive (F crit=3.93, F= 0.33), and split change (F crit=3.93, F= 0.18) find that value of F crit is higher than F. Consequently, experience abroad does not affect self-identity change, particularly productive, subtractive and split change. So those who have been abroad undergo change of productive, subtractive, and split change the same as those who have never been abroad. For the last type of change; zero change, the result of F crit (3.93) and F (2.05) is different. The value of F is lower than F crit; therefore, it suggests that zero change is not affected by going abroad. Both students who have and have not been abroad undergo zero change the same.

Table 1: Mean () scores of six types of self-identity change by major, gender, having foreign friend, and experience abroad

Variable

Confidence

Additive

Productive

Subtractive

Split

Zero

Major

EngNU

14.27

18.13

18.98

12.38

13.16

14.47

EngTU

15.17

17.73

17.56

10.85

12.31

14.98

EngLit

15.07

16.78

18.07

9.74

10.56

14.44

Gender

Male

15.3

18.92

19.33

11.58

12.08

15.08

Female

14.72

17.48

18.14

11.16

12.26

14.69

Foreign Friend

Friend

15.11

17.9

18.46

11.10

12.38

14.77

No friend

14.03

17.12

17.76

11.41

11.88

14.35

Going abroad

Abroad

15.17

15.17

18.17

11.00

12.11

15.00

No abroad

14.44

14.44

18.32

11.37

12.34

14.32

 

Table 2: ANOVA test differences of average between independent and dependent variables

 

Variables

Confidence

Additive

Productive

Subtractive

Split

Zero

F crit

F

F crit

F

F crit

F

F crit

F

F crit

F

F crit

F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major

3.08

1.68

3.08

1.91

3.08

2.91

3.08

5.64

3.08

8.02

3.08

0.54

 

Gender

3.93

0.64

3.93

2.65

3.93

1.93

3.93

0.16

3.93

0.04

3.93

0.28

Foreign friend

3.93

4.68

3.93

1.76

3.93

1.46

3.93

0.19

3.93

0.73

3.93

0.65

 

Going abroad

3.93

2.44

3.93

2.44

3.93

0.09

3.93

0.33

3.93

0.18

3.93

2.05

 

Mean () scores of six types of self-identity change and different test by ANOVA were presented in table 1 and 2 respectively.

 

Correlation of influential factors on self-identity changes

 

All six independent variables investigated how each types of self-identity change correlated according to the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (simple correlation). For this reason the required independent variables are: years of learning English, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, affective attitude, cognitive attitude, behavioral attitude, such that the concept of correlation analysis is scaled by variable measurement along on interval scale. The value of the interval scale (Rating scale) can present quantity or amount (magnitude) and differentiate values by number. For example, the scores of a question in questionnaires. All six presented independent variables are used to analyze the correlation between six types of changes and six independent variables by t-test. The value of t-test (t and t crit) show the correlation between six independent variables and self-identity changes presented in.  

Correlation analysis by t-test which compares independent variables and six types of self-identity changes will be described in the condition that value of ‘t’ is less than ‘t crit’, it means that independent variables and self-identity changes do not correlate. On the other hand, if the value of ‘t crit’ is less than ‘t’, it means they correlate. Also, the details of correlation analysis by t-test between six types of changes and dependent variables are presented as follows.

 

1. Years of learning English

 

For years of learning English and self-identity changes, types of self-confidence, additive, productive, and zero change, the correlation between years of learning English and the four types of self-identity changes, was not significant. The value of self-identity changes resulted in t-test scores as follows: self-confidence (t = 0.10 < t crit = 1.98), additive (t = 0.53 < t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 0.90 < t crit = 1.98), and zero change (t = 0.82 < t crit = 1.98). This means number of years and these four types of self-identity, do not correlate. This indicates that the self-confidence, additive, productive and zero change which occur with students do not depend on the numbers of years of learning English. Although most of students have studied English for many years, they do not undergo these four types of change. Furthermore, the value of t-test on subtractive (t = 2.59 > t crit = 1.98) and split change (t = 2.29 > t crit = 1.98) suggests that years and these two self-identity changes correlate, however they are an opposite correlation. This can be explained that when the number of years of learning English is high, subtractive and split change will be low. The students will encounter subtractive and split change if they have learned English for many years. 

 

2. English motivation

 

English motivation has been divided into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. For the correlation of motivation and self-identity changes, intrinsic motivation and types of changes correlate to additive (t = 4.11 > t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 4.67 > t crit = 1.98), subtractive (t = 3.25 > t crit = 1.98), and split change (t = 3.84 > t crit = 1.98). As a result, it can be said that intrinsic motivation correlates with these four types of self-identity change. The students who have intrinsic motivation for learning English will undergo additive, productive, subtractive, and split change. On the other hand, self-confidence (t = 1.76 < t crit = 1.98) and zero change (t = 0.16 < t crit = 1.98) do not correlate to intrinsic motivation. This can indicate that although students have intrinsic motivation in learning English, for example, love or interested in English, they do not undergo self-confidence and zero change. 

For extrinsic motivation, there are five types of self-identity change which correlate to extrinsic motivation. They are, self-confidence (t = 2.02 > t crit = 1.98), additive (t = 5.89 > t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 5.17 > t crit = 1.98), subtractive (t = 4.39 > t crit = 1.98), and split change (t = 4.27 > t crit = 1.98). The result suggests that when students have extrinsic motivation in learning English, these five types of self-identity changes will occur in the students as well. In addition, zero change (t = 0.94 < t crit = 1.98) and extrinsic motivation do not correlate. Students who undergo zero change will not have extrinsic motivation in learning English such as thinking that learning English is good for finding a better education and job opportunities abroad. However, they also think it makes them change within themselves after learning English.   

 

3. Attitude towards English

 

In this study, attitude towards English can be separated to three categories; affective, cognitive, and behavior. First, affective attitude and most self-identity changes correlate with the exception of zero change. Correlation of self-identity changes; self-confidence (t = 2.40 > t crit = 1.98), additive (t = 4.34 > t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 4.06 > t crit = 1.98), subtractive (t = 5.19 > t crit = 1.98), split (t = 5.85 > t crit = 1.98), and affective attitude towards English is positive.  This means that affective attitudes influenced these five types of self-identity changes. Students who have affective attitude towards English will encounter self-confidence, additive, productive, subtractive, and split change. On the other hand, zero change (t = 1.59 < t crit = 1.98) and affective attitude do not correlate. Although students may have affective attitude towards English, they still experience zero change. Second, cognitive attitude and the four types of self-identity changes correlated. They consist of additive (t = 4.08 > t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 2.82 > t crit = 1.98), subtractive (t = 5.38 > t crit = 1.98), and split (t = 4.35 > t crit = 1.98) change.

The results of this study show that cognitive attitude influences these five types of self-identity changes. If the students have a cognitive attitude towards English, the five types of self-identity change will occur in them. However, there are two changes that do not correlate with cognitive attitude. Self-confidence (t = 0.96 < t crit = 1.98) and zero change (t = 0.39 < t crit = 1.98) show no correlation between these two types of self-identity change and cognitive attitude. As a result, it can be determined that cognitive attitude does not affect self-confidence and zero change. In this study, students who undergo self-confidence and zero change do not depend on cognitive attitude. Third, the correlation between behavioral attitude and self-identity changes is the same as affective attitude. Self-confidence (t = 2.57 > t crit = 1.98), additive (t = 3.45 > t crit = 1.98), productive (t = 3.82 > t crit = 1.98), subtractive (t = 5.72 > t crit = 1.98), and split change (t = 4.30 > t crit = 1.98) correlate with behavioral attitude. This means behavioral attitude towards English can influence these five self-identity changes, except for zero change. Zero change (t = 0.93 < t crit = 1.98) does not correlate with behavioral attitude. The results of the study indicate that zero change does not depend on behavioral attitude towards English. Although learners experience behavioral attitudes, they remain themselves and do not change after learning English. The value of t-test (t and t crit) show the correlation between six independent variables and self-identity changes presented in table 3.

 

Table 3: Correlation between independent variables and self-identity change by t-test

Variables

Confidence

Additive

Productive

Subtractive

Split

Zero

t

t crit

t

t crit

t

t crit

t

t crit

t

t crit

t

t crit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years

0.10

1.98

0.53

1.98

0.90

1.98

2.59

1.98

2.29

1.98

0.82

1.98

English Motivation

Intrinsic

1.76

1.98

4.11

1.98

4.67

1.98

3.25

1.98

3.84

1.98

0.16

1.98

Extrinsic

2.02

1.98

5.89

1.98

5.17

1.98

4.39

1.98

4.27

1.98

0.94

1.98

Attitude towards English

Affective

2.40

1.98

4.34

1.98

4.06

1.98

5.19

1.98

5.85

1.98

1.59

1.98

Cognitive

0.96

1.98

4.08

1.98

2.82

1.98

5.38

1.98

4.35

1.98

0.39

1.98

Behavioral

2.57

1.98

3.45

1.98

3.82

1.98

5.72

1.98

4.30

1.98

0.93

1.98

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

1. To study types of self-identity change occurring in undergraduate students who have studied English as their major, at Naresuan University and Thammasat University, as well as students of English Literature at Thammasat University.

In accordance with the first purpose of the study, it was found that students  at NU and TU and students in English Literature at TU undergo similar self-confidence, additive, productive, and zero change (to 0.5% significance at). This finding indicates that the chosen major do not influence self-confidence, additive, productive, or zero change. On the contrary, students in the three majors are different in subtractive and split change.  In this study, the differences between the three majors were investigated by comparison of Pairs of differences average (the multiple comparison test of Scheffé) among the three majors. Therefore, it can be concluded that students in English NU and English Lit differentiated significantly in subtractive change according to the multiple comparison test of Scheffé at 2.60. In addition, a pair of students in Eng NU and Eng Lit (2.60: the multiple comparison test of Scheffé), including a pair of students in Eng TU and Eng Lit (1.76: the multiple comparison test of Scheffé) differentiated significantly in split change according to the test. The results of this study can be summarized by saying that the majority of respondents are affected by subtractive and split change but to self-confidence, additive, productive, and zero change.      

 

2. To study differences of self-identity changes between students who have learned in English major in town, Thammasat University, and country, Naresuan University.

The result of this study which investigates subject major and self-identity change, finds that students who have studied English as their major in town, Thammasat University, and those in country, Naresuan University, do not differ in this regard. The findings of six types of change are self-confidence change (TU mean = 15.17, NU mean = 14.27), additive change (TU mean = 17.73, NU mean = 18.13), productive change (TU mean = 17.56, NU mean = 18.98), subtractive change (TU mean = 10.85, NU mean = 12.38), split change (TU mean = 12.31, NU mean = 13.16), and zero change (TU mean = 14.98, NU mean = 14.47). Average number of self-identity changes by major; English TU and NU, is tested by ANOVA to discover that both students in town, TU, and country, NU, are similar in self-identity change. This indicates that students in town or country are no different in self-identity changes.

 

3.  To study the factors which have influenced these self-identity changes.

In the study, there are four influencing variables which are set for the testing of self-identity changes. They consist of major, gender, foreign friend, and experience abroad. They confirm that the major influences subtractive and split change, gender does not affect six types of self-identity changes, having foreign friends influences self-confidence change, and going abroad does not influence on self-identity change. Most of the results indicate that students with English and English Literature majors undergo subtractive and split change when they learn English. As for gender, it indicates that both male and female students undergo self-identity change the same; therefore, gender is not an effecting factor of change. Having a foreign friend was discovered to influence self-identity change, especially, self-confidence change. Students who have foreign friends will undergo more self-confidence change than those who do not. It shows that having foreign friends influences self-identity change. As for experience abroad, it was found that those who have been abroad undergo change of self-confidence, additive, productive, subtractive, split, and zero the same as those who have never been abroad. In conclusion, this indicates that going abroad does not influence self-identity change.

 

4.  To study the relationship between the influential factors and the types of self-identity changes.  

In this study, the required independent variables are: years of learning English, intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, affective attitude, cognitive attitude, behavioral attitude. The correlation between the six types of change and independent variables is tested by t-test. All of influential factors which were set for testing the correlation between influential factors on self-identity change reveal that years of learning English do not correlate with most of the changes. This indicates that years studying does not influence self-identity change. Motivation was also tested for a relationships. Motivation is divided into intrinsic and extrinsic. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation correlated to additive, productive, subtractive and split change. It indicates that students undergo those four types of change if they have intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In addition, attitude towards English is divided into three types: affective, cognitive, and behavioral attitude.  This study found that these three components of attitude correlated to additive, productive, subtractive, and split change. This indicates that students who have affective, cognitive, and behavioral attitude towards English will encounter additive, productive, subtractive, and split change.

 

Discussion

 

In conclusion, it was found there are two main points of discussion. The first point is influential factors which were relevant to self-identity change and the second is factors which did not effect self-identity change. In the discussion of the study, I will present as follows:

 

Influential factors on self-identity change:

 

1. Foreign friends

 

This study indicates that students who have a foreign friend undergo self-confidence change more than those who do not (mean: 15.11>14.03). This result conforms to Seng, et al., (2003:282-285) who found that humans have a need for a stable, high level of self-respect, and respect from others. Similarly, through learning English learners feel that a person with proficiency in English is well educated.  In addition, the person feels self-confident and valuable as a person in society, especially when they can communicate with foreigners. Most personality theorists have focused on the person’s psychology.

According to the degree of self-confidence in students who have foreign friends, this indicates that students who have foreign friends are also confident in English. This is because learners feel they are acceptable to others in a group of foreigners or people who can speak English, it is like the particular personality. Additionally, English is an international language used by people trying to learn to communicate with others in the world. Therefore, students who have foreign friends have more opportunities to practice their English skills such as speaking and listening than those who are not confident and comfortable doing so. Also they feel that they can participate more fully in the world. With better skills, which they usually practice with their foreign friends or through television, radio, or the internet, they gain more confidence in learning English, not only in class, but also in daily life or whenever they have the chance. Having a foreign friend can give the learner the ability to do things and make decisions by themselves. Significantly, English is also required for jobs and if one has a good command of English, they will feel confident to express opinions openly and work more easily and confidently. Therefore, self-confidence is significant for English learners and it can encourage the learner to improve in English ability more easily.

 

2. Attitude and Motivation

 

The study of motivation; intrinsic and extrinsic, and attitude towards English; affective, cognitive, and behavior, found that they influence self-identity change; especially, additive, productive, subtractive, and split change. This is relevant to hypothesis of the study in that “English motivation and attitude towards English is more influential to self-confidence, additive, and productive changes than years of English learning.” This result conforms with Baker’s (1992:8-10) theory which found that learners who have a good language motivation and a good attitude towards a foreign language can learn English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL) successfully. This result may be because aspects of English in class and the feeling of love towards the learner’s major. For example, students who learn English because they like the language, are influenced by English songs or movies, and finally learn to love English, or English literature. Additionally, learners who have a good attitude towards English, for instance, feel easy when using English and can easily switch between Thai and English according to the situation, encounter additive and productive change. In this study, most of learners are studying English as compulsory subjects (English NU = 39.8%, English TU= 36.3%, and English Lit = 23.9%), and so, most have good attitudes and motivation towards English. Also, all respondents are in their third year, and will graduate next year, so they find that learning English offers them a better education and job opportunities abroad. In addition, most respondents have a chance to learn English through media, internet (28%), TV (25%), newspapers (16.9%), which helps learners not to feel bored with English. Learners can contact new foreign friends, therefore are motivated through good attitudes towards English. Motivation and attitude influence additive and productive change, as well as subtractive and split change.  This is because the learner may pick up westernized attitudes and values while learning English which may not fit well with some Thai conventions and they may lead to confusion as to whether they should behave is certain ways with foreign or local friends. This condition is in line with Gardner’s (1985a) socio-educational model. He suggested that formal and informal language learning can improve foreign language efficiency towards bilingualism. However, learners gain not only ability in that language but also non-linguistic conditioning, for example, the culture of the target language which leads to changes in their identity. 

 

3. Major

 

The finding with regard to subject major shows that English NU and English Lit undergo subtractive and split change at is statistically significant at a level of 0.05. The results show that English NU, TU and English Lit differ in subtractive and split change because they study different compulsory subjects. For example, English NU and TU usually learn English skill subject such as listening-speaking, business writing, but English Lit will learn “principle in literacy criticism, English literature”. Differences in subject may influence certain changes because English skill majors tend to absorb English cultures or behaviors  which may drive them to become westernized, and to begin to reject some traditional Thai ideas. Sometimes, they are confused between Thai and western performance; mixing English words and Thai. This corresponds to Lourie (1983 cited in Baker, 2006) who supports the idea that language and identity may be lost because of too many loan words leading to a mixing of mother and second language.  Meanwhile, English NU and TU do not differ in subtractive and split change. The result of this study does not confirm the hypothesis of the study “Students who study English major at the Faculty of Liberal Art, Thammasat University have experienced Self-Confidence, Additive and Productive Changes more than students in English major at the Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University”. This is because, both groups of respondents learn the same subjects, especially English skills, and also they usually study English with a  foreign teacher, therefore so English NU and TU do not differ in subtractive or split change or the other four types of change.  Additionally, the result indicates that the environments of Thammasat and Naresuan University do not effect self-identity change. This is because students at both colleges are in the same kind of urban environment and also can learn English by practicing with tourists. Also, although Naresuan University is located in the provinces, all learners can use English through hi-technology such as internet as conveniently as those at Thammasat which is in the city. 

 

None Influential factors on self-identity change  

 

1. Gender

 

The influence of gender on self-identity change results found that gender is not relevant to self-identity change. This result does not agree with Schmenk’s, (2006) who found that gender is an empowering factor in identity change such as the general assumption that “language is a girl’s subject,” and “girls usually have a more positive attitude than boys towards language learning.” This may be because the English language is a boy’s subject too. It may be because male students can study all subjects in an English or English Literature majors. This indicates that males and females have the ability to learn English equally. Accordingly, both boys and girls can take chances to learn English, so they undergo the six types of self-identity changes similarly.

 

2. Going abroad

 

The effect of going abroad on self-identity change found that for students who have been abroad, there is no significant self-identity change because most respondents had just been away for a short period of time.  Some students travel or visit abroad just for fun or rest. Additionally, the countries they visited were necessarily not English speaking, such as Japan, China etc. Therefore, they may not have gained the foreign culture influences completely and directly and have a little chance to change their identity. They do not study abroad, so going abroad does not effect self-identity change. This conforms with Lambert’s (1975) theory which suggests that language learning influences identity changes as bilingualism. They are additive bilingualism which is native language and native cultural identities which are maintained while the target language and culture are attained additively. Second is subtractive bilingualism whereby the native language and cultural identity are replaced by target language and target culture. However, they do not affect the learner immediately, but rather are absorbed continually.  Therefore, this study can conclude that experience abroad does not affect self-identity change.

 

3. Years of learning English

 

Years of learning English is not relevant to the six types of self-identity change. This is because Thai learners are always taught English for specific purpose such as for examination, therefore, learners do not gain foreign culture directly. Also, Thai students have to learn English as a foreign language, they do not use English in daily life. It is used only in class. This result does not agree with Greene and Rubin’s (1991) studies that  show changes in a persons’ self- identity depend on many factors, including years of learning. It states that an early foreign language learner can change their identity between their language, identity and target language easily.  If learners acknowledge conception of that language over many years, the native learners’ individual identity will change as well as the proficiency in the improvement of the foreign language. However, according to this study years of learning English is not relevant to self-identity change.

For language learners, self-identity change is a complex phenomenon and is not commonly studied. Future study is needed to concentrate on positive change; self-confidence, additive and productive change because they may influence learners in learning English. Also, future work should compare other groups of college undergraduates, for example, students at international colleges, or those who have learned or worked for a few years abroad, where English is the native language.   

 

Acknowledgments

 

I would like to thank Assist.Prof. Sukhuma-Vadee  Khamhiran, Dr. Lakana  Daoratanahong, Miss Sunida  Siwapathomchai at the institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University for their help with good instructions, ideas and comments on my writing up research and also Mr. Richard Hiam always edits my writing. I am grateful to thank for professor and research participant at Naresuan University and Thammasat University for their pleased supporting and participating during the data collection.  This thesis is supported by Faculty of Graduate Studies, Mahidol University, academic year 2008.

 

References

 

Baker, C. (1992). Attitude and Language: WBC Print Ltd, Bridgend.

Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Eggen Paul, & Kauchak, D. (1994). Educational Psychology Classroom Connection (Second Edition ed.). New York: Macmillan College Publishing Company.

Gardner, R.C. (1985a). Social Pyschology and Second Language Learning. London.

Greene, D. L. R. a. K. L. (1991). Effects of Biological and Psychological Gender, Age Cohort, and Interviewer Gender on Attitudes Toward Gender-Inclusive/Exclusive Language. Sex Roles,, 24, 391-410.

Lambert, W.E. (1975). Culture and Language as factors in learning and education. In Edited by Aaron Wolfgang (ed.), In Education of Immigrant Students:Toronto.

Schemenk, B. (2006). Language Learning: A Feminine Domain? The Role of Stereyotyping in Construction Gendered Learner Identities. TESOL QUARTERLY.

Seng Tan Oon , Richard D.Parsons, Stephanie Lewis Hinson, & Sardo-Brown, D. (2003). Educational Psychology: A Practitioner-Researcher Approach (An Asian Edition). Singapore: Seng Lee Press.

Yihong, G., Cheng, Y., Zhoa, Y., & Zhou, Y. (2005). Self-identity change and English learning among Chinese undergraduates. World Englishes, 24, 39-51.

Yihong Gao, C. Y., Zhoa Yuan and Zhou Yan. (2006). Relationship Between English Learning Motivation Types and Self-Identity Changes: A Quantitative Study on Chinese University Students.


Appendix

 

Questionnaire

 

English Motivation

 

1. I fell in love with English at the first sight, without particular reasons.

2. An Important purpose for my English learning is to obtain a university degree.

3. I learn English in order to facilitate the learning of other academic subjects.

4. Only with good English skills can I find a good job in the future.

5. I learn English because I am interested in English speaking people and their cultures.

6. Out of my love of English songs/movies, If have developed a great interest in the language.

7. I learn English just because I like this language.     

8. Out of my love of English literature, I have developed a great interest in the language.

9. I learn English so as to catch up with economic and technological developments in the world.

10. I have special interests in language learning.

11. My effort of English learning has depended to a large extent on the quality of English class.

12. I learn English in order to let the world know more about Thailand.

13. I learn English in order to find better education and job opportunities abroad.

14. Fluent oral English is a symbol of good education and accomplishment.

 

Attitude towards English

 

1. I feel comfortable when using English.                                  

2. I feel uncomfortable when hearing one Thai speaking to another in English.

3. I feel uneasy when speaking English.                                               

4. The English language sounds very nice.                 

5. When using English, I do not feel that I am Thai any more.

6. If I use English, my status is raised.                        

7. The use of English is important to the success of Thai’s development.

8. The command of English is very helpful in understanding foreigners and their cultures.

9. English is a symbol of an educated person.

10. At times I fear that by using English I will become like a foreigner.

11. I love talking with foreigners in English.                              

12. I wish I could speak fluent and accurate English.

 

Self-identity change among English learning students Confidence

 

1. English learning makes me speak English with foreigners confidently and comfortably.

2. I have privacy. I can be in a place or situation         which allows I do things without other people disturbing me.

3. I can express my opinion to public easily and confidently.

4. I have the ability to do things and make decisions by myself, without needing other people to help me. 

 

Additive  

 

5. While I am talking to my Thai friends, a foreign teacher participates in our talking, I can easily switch between Thai and English according to that situation.

6. I am relatively confident when speaking in English,and relatively modest when speaking in Thai.

7. I prefer to listen to the original English dialogue when watching English movies, just as I enjoy the original Thai dialogue when watching Thai movies.

8. When I chat to my foreign friends on the phone or internet, I usually use an English name in addition to my Thai name. 

9. I can accept someone’s suggestion or comment on me without feeling sad. 

 

Subtract

 

10. With the improvement of my English proficiency, I feel my Thai is becoming less idiomatic such as making a sound like ‘/s/, /sh/, /th/’ in Thai words unconsciously.

11. After learning English, I feel my behaviors have become somewhat westernized. For example, I say ‘Hello/Hi’ instead of ‘Sawaddee’ on the phone or greeting friends and say ‘Thank you’ instead of ‘Khob-khun’.

12. After learning English, I feel repugnant about some Thai conventions. For example, I think that Thai people can hold a hand of a man/woman openlyin anywhere.  

13. After learning English, I begin to reject some traditional Thai ideas such as we should behave in the same way of our parents because they have ever experienced before. However, I think that I can do it on my own idea. 

 

Productive

 

14. With the improvement of my English proficiency, I can better appreciate the subtleties in Thai. For example, When I study European or American history, I am more proud of Thai history subtly.

15. After learning English, I find myself more sensitive to changes in the outside world. For example, When I read or know English news about global warming, I feel aware of preservation of environment.

 16. After learning English, I have become more understanding and can better communicate with others in a various culture and language not only Thai or English but also other languages.

17. As my ability of appreciating English literature and art increases, I have become more interested in Thai literature and art.

18. I think that punctuality is important. If I have an appointment with other people, I am always very punctual. 

 

Split   

 

19. I feel strange when my speech in Thai is subconsciously mixed with English words. For example, I usually say ‘O.K.’ mixed with Thai speaking subconsciously.

 20. I feel a painful split when I switch between English and Thai behavioral patterns such as meeting a Thai teacher I have to call his/her first name but I call family name with a foreign teacher.

21. When parting with foreign friends, I’m frequently confused as to whether I should shake hands or hug and kiss.

22. After learning English, I’m often caught between contradicting values and beliefs. For example, Thai children should not argue with their parents about the reason in any situation, on the other hand, a child in westernized value can do it if he/she wants.   

 

Zero

 

23. No matter which language is used for expression, I remain to be myself.

24. I’ve not felt any change in myself after learning English; an instrument is an instrument.

25. It’s impossible for me to change into another person after learning a language.

26. For me, it’s meaningless to talk about personal changes after learning English.



* Mahidol University, Thailand



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