Socioeconomic Status or Attending Private English Courses: Which One is a Better Indicator of High School Students' EFL Motivation

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of English, Sarab Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sarab, Iran

2 University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran


The present study aimed to shed light on the relationship among students' socioeconomic status, self-reported English proficiency level, the length of attending private institutes, and L2 motivational factors namely: ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, L2 learning experience, integrative motivation, and intended effort. Participants were 320 Iranian students studying English at high schools in Tehran, the capital city of Iran. Data collection included EFL motivational factors adopted from Taguchi, Magid, and Papi (2009), socioeconomic status, and demographic information. The results of the Spearman Rho test revealed a weak or no meaningful relationship between the student's socioeconomic status and their L2 motivation suggesting that socioeconomic status is not an indicator of the school students’ EFL motivational factors regarding tripartite variables of Dörnyei's L2 Motivational Self System as well as integrative motivation and intended effort. However, the length of attending private language courses and the English proficiency of the students indicated moderate correlations with their L2 motivation and socioeconomic status. Current findings bear a clear message to the Iranian education policymakers that despite adopting a communicative approach in the latest official EFL coursebooks of schools, non-official private language institutes still perform more effectively than the Iranian formal education system in maintaining and enhancing the EFL motivation of learners.