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CURRICULUM & TEACHING STUDIES | RESEARCH ARTICLE

EFL students’ attitudes toward learning English


language: The case study of Kashan University
students
Shahrzad Eshghinejad

Cogent Education (2016), 3: 1236434

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Eshghinejad, Cogent Education (2016), 3: 1236434
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1236434

CURRICULUM & TEACHING STUDIES | RESEARCH ARTICLE


EFL students’ attitudes toward learning English
language: The case study of Kashan University
students
Received: 20 July 2016 Shahrzad Eshghinejad1*
Accepted: 09 September 2016
Published: 28 September 2016 Abstract: Attitude is considered as an essential factor influencing language perfor-
*Corresponding author: Shahrzad mance and received considerable attention from both first and second language
Eshghinejad, Faculty of Literature and
Foreign Languages, Department of
researchers. Al-Mamun, Rahman, Rahman, and Hossaim argue that attitude is
English Language, University of Kashan, the feeling people have about their own language. Thus, attitude to language is a
Kashan, Isfahan Province, Iran
E-mail: eshghinezhad.sh@gmail.com
construct that explains linguistic behavior in particular. This study aimed at inves-
tigating attitude of male and female English as a foreign language (EFL) learners
Reviewing editor:
Kris Gritter, Seattle Pacific University, of Kashan University toward English language learning in terms of the behavioral,
USA cognitive, and emotional aspects. To this end, a questionnaire survey administered
Additional information is available at upon a total of 30 randomly selected samples. Results of qualitative and quanti-
the end of the article
tative data analysis showed a positive attitude toward English learning in three
aspects of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional. In addition, there were statistically
significant attitudinal differences between the two groups.

Subjects: Applied Linguistics; English Language; Pragmatics; Semantics

Keywords: attitude; EFL learner; language learning; gender

1. Introduction
“Knowing the language can help us to express our opinions, hopes, and even our dreams” (Abidin,
Pour-Mohammadi, & Alzwari, 2012, p. 119). In foreign language learning context, there are various
factors that influence the learning process such as motivation, attitudes, anxiety, learning
­achievements, aptitudes, intelligence, age, personalities, etc. (Shams, 2008). The matter of learner’s
attitude is acknowledged as one of the most important factors that impact on learning a language
(Fakeye, 2010).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR PUBLIC INTEREST STATEMENT


Shahrzad Eshghinejad is a PhD candidate in Attitude is opinion and feeling that everyone has
TEFL. She holds a Master of Arts in TEFL from about something. Learning a foreign language
the Department of English Language, Faculty of is no exception. Thus, attitude to language is
Literature and Foreign Languages, State University a construct that explains linguistic behavior in
of Kashan, Iran. She teaches and translates at particular. This paper attempts to investigate
different English Language Institutions. Her behavioral, cognitive, and emotional attitudes of
research interests include TEFL/TESOL, ELL, genre male and female English as a Foreign Language
studies, ESP, academic writing, teaching methods, (EFL) Learners of Kashan University toward English
and vocabulary. language learning. The findings didn’t support
our hypothesis because the male and female
participants showed significant difference in their
attitudes toward learning English. That is, the
females had more positive attitudes, especially
cognitive and emotional, toward and were more
interested in learning English than males.

© 2016 The Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution
(CC-BY) 4.0 license.

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In order to be able to evaluate the students’ attitudes, some definitions of the term ‘attitude’ are
presented. Al-Mamun, Rahman, Rahman, and Hossaim (2012) defined the term as a psychological
construct which defines a particular behavior. To Brown (2001) (as cited in İnal, Evin, & Saracaloğlu,
2005), attitude is characterized by a large proportion of emotional involvement such as feelings, self,
relationships in the community. Learning could not come about easily unless students have positive
attitudes toward it on one hand, and attitudes might originate from life experiences, on the other
hand. As such, since attitude can influence success or failure in learning it plays a very crucial role.
Ajzen (2005) believes like any personality trait, attitude is a directly unobserved hypothetical con-
struct and must be inferred from measurable responses which reflect and evaluate positive or nega-
tive attitudes (as cited in Dehbozorgi, 2012).

In this study, attitude is considered as an essential factor influencing language performance and
received considerable attention from both first and second language researchers. There are many
reasons why students’ attitude toward language learning is important. For instance, Weinburgh
(1998) believe that attitudes toward learning influence behaviors such as selecting and reading
books, speaking in a foreign language. Generally, it is believed that learners’ attitudes dictate whether
or not they will be able to absorb the details of language. In other words, achievement in a target
language relies not only on intellectual capacity but also on the learner’s attitudes toward language
learning. This means that learning language should be approached primarily as a social and psycho-
logical phenomenon rather than as a purely academic one. As Tella, Indoshi, and Othuon (2010)
investigated, negative attitude toward English is the most affective and psychological factor that
results in the students’ poor performance in English.

Besides the intellectual perspective, the nature of language learning has psychological and social
aspects and depends primarily on the learners’ motivation and attitude to learning the target lan-
guage (Padwick, 2010). The ability of students to master a second language is not only influenced by
the mental competence or language skills but also on the students’ attitudes and perceptions to-
ward the target language (Abidin et al., 2012). They also advocated that attitude concept could en-
hance the process of language learning, influencing the nature of student’s behaviors and beliefs
toward the other language, its culture, and community, and this will identify their tendency to ac-
quire that language.

It is said that language teachers, researchers, and students should acknowledge that high moti-
vation and positive attitude of students facilitate second language learning. Thus, if a learner does
not have the interest and tendency in acquiring the target language to communicate with others,
this learner will possess a negative attitude and will not be motivated and enthusiastic in language
learning. Therefore, learners’ attitudes could incorporate in language learning because it may influ-
ence their performance in acquiring the target language. Students’ attitude, i.e. feelings, beliefs,
likes, dislikes, needs, should be considered, since their attitudes influence language learning. This
study looks into the concept of attitude as one of the major affective factors for success in learning
a foreign language. More specifically, it investigates freshmen EFL (English as a Foreign Language)
students’ attitudes of Kashan University toward learning English language, taking the three aspects
of attitude i.e. emotional, cognitive, and behavioral into consideration. Additionally, it attempts to
determine the influence of students’ gender on their attitudes toward learning English.

2. Review of related studies


A large number of studies on language attitudes with various dimensions have been conducted over
the years across the world such as teachers’ attitude toward the inclusion of students’ needs
(Bigham, 2010), Persian EFL teachers and learners’ attitudes toward humor in class (Ketabi & Simm,
2009), relationship between attitudes and motivation (Al-Mamun et al., 2012; Bernaus, Masgoret,
Gardner, & Reyes, 2004), attitudes toward English (Jahin & Idrees, 2012; Yang, 2010), teachers’ at-
titudes toward students’ beliefs and motivation (Salehi, Taghavi, & Yunus, 2015), and the effect of
teachers’ attitudes on communication (Al-Magid & Al-Mamun, 2009). Since learning a language is
closely related to the attitudes toward the languages and attitudes are viewed as components of

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motivation in language learning, some of these studies obtained information on what the attitudes
of the people toward languages are while others explored the determinants of attitudes, i.e. what
constructs and changes attitudes of the people.

In his great work “Principles of Language Learning and Teaching”, Brown (1994) added “attitudes,
like all aspects of the development of cognition and affect in human beings, develop early in child-
hood and are the result of parents’ and peers’ attitudes, contact with people who are different in any
number of ways, and interacting affective factors in the human experience” (p. 168). It seems obvi-
ous that there are many stimulants that lead to a positive or negative attitude. Attitude concept can
be viewed from three dimensions regarding aspects of it. Each one of these dimensions has different
features to bring out language attitude results, i.e. behavioral, cognitive, and affective. These three
attitudinal aspects are based on the three theoretical approaches of behaviorism, cognitivism, and
humanism, respectively.

The behavioral aspect of attitude (BAA) deals with the way one behaves and reacts in particular
situations. Kara (2009) stated that positive attitude leads to the exhibition of positive behavior to-
ward studying, absorbing themselves in it, and striving to learn more. Such students are also ob-
served to show more enthusiasm to solve problems, to acquire what is useful for daily life, and to
engage themselves emotionally.

Cognitive aspect of attitude (CAA) involves the beliefs of the language learners about the knowl-
edge that they receive and their understanding of the process of language learning. The cognitive
attitude could be classified into four steps of connecting the previous knowledge and the new one,
creating new knowledge, checking new knowledge, and applying the new knowledge in many
situations.

With respect to the emotional attitude, Feng and Chen (2009) stated that “Learning process is an
emotional process. It is affected by different emotional factors. The teacher and his students engage
in various emotional activities in it and varied results of emotions are yield.” Since attitude is one of
the key factors for success in language learning, numerous studies have already been conducted in
the field of language attitude. In addition, language attitude research has been considered in the
previous 50 years because of the growing relation between the importance of the language use and
the nature of individuals (Saidat, 2010).

A number of recent studies addressed the role of attitude in the learning of foreign languages in
different countries with different cultures, English background, and grades. For instance, Shams
(2008) conducted a study attempting to investigate students’ attitudes, motivation, and anxiety
toward the learning of English. The findings underlined that the students had affirmative attitudes
and high enthusiasm toward English. This also highlighted that most of them showed positive atti-
tudes toward English language and its learning which, in turn, emphasized the value of English lan-
guage efficiency in the daily life.

The findings of investigating the secondary stage students’ attitudes toward learning English as a
foreign language and their achievements in reading comprehension indicated that the respondents
have positive attitudes toward learning English (Momani, 2009). Also, there was a strong correlation
between the students’ attitudes toward learning English and their performance in reading compre-
hension. The same findings were supported by Al-Tamimi and Shuib (2009) who conducted one
study on Petroleum Engineering students’ motivation and attitudes toward learning English. As they
argue, the students have positive attitudes toward the use of English in the Yemeni social and edu-
cational contexts. They also showed an affirmative attitude toward the culture of the English-
speaking world.

Regarding the factors like gender, background, field, and year of study, Abidin et al. (2012) at-
tempted to investigate EFL students’ attitudes of Libyan secondary school toward learning English in

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terms of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects based on the demographic information (gen-
der, field, and year of study). The participants, contrary to expectations, showed negative attitudes
toward learning English. Another important finding was that on the demographic profile, significant
attitudinal differences regarding gender and field of study but not the year of study was found.

Suleiman (1993) investigated 22 Arab university students’ motivation for studying English as a
second language, their attitudes toward Americans and the United States, and future expectations
for the study of English. All of the students have at least five years of ESL study at Arizona State
University. Results revealed positive feelings and also gender-related differences in motivation.

Regarding the gender variable, Fakeye (2010) investigated the correlation between attitude and
achievement in English among 400 senior secondary students selected randomly from five second-
ary schools. A significant relationship between attitude and achievement was the result found in
that study. Additionally, it was explored that students’ attitude is not gender-related. Thus, there
was not a statistically significant difference in the attitudes of male and female students.

If a learner is not interested in acquiring the target language, he possesses a negative attitude
and is not motivated and enthusiastic in language learning. Hence, the researcher of the present
study intended to fill up this identified research gap and explore the emotional, cognitive, and be-
havioral attitudes of the undergraduate EFL students of Kashan University toward English
language.

2.1. Significance of the study


This study should be of interest to a number of researchers focusing on demographic variables of
Second Language (L2) learners, English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners, and English education
policies and practices. By providing insights into attitudes of Iranian EFL learners toward the English
language, English education policies, and their purposes for learning English, this study contributes
to an understanding of English learning and teaching and adds to the growing body of studies on the
spread of English. Furthermore, this study aims to offer insights for language attitude research and
studies on gender variable of L2 learners in EFL context.

In addition, if English language teachers know and recognize their students’ feelings, needs, be-
haviors, they are able to fit appropriate activities with their needs and would encourage them to
positive attitudes toward English learning. Furthermore, curriculum makers would review the con-
tent and the design of the curriculum to meet the needs and the interests of the students.

2.2. Purpose of the study


The purpose of the qualitative, quantitative study is to discover EFL students’ feelings and ideas of
Kashan University about learning English, who are freshmen and have a similar background and lit-
tle knowledge of English learning, and also determine if there is a significant difference in their at-
titudes toward English learning between male and female students. The study is led by the following
research questions:

(1) What are the attitudes of freshmen EFL students of Kashan University toward learning English
in terms of their behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects?
(2) What is the difference in male and female freshmen EFL students’ attitudes toward English
learning?

3. Methodology

3.1. Research design


The design of this study is quantitative in nature i.e. descriptive and inferential as well. Thus, an
adapted questionnaire was employed as a measuring instrument. The participants were required to

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answer all the items of the questionnaire honestly, giving their own perceptions about their atti-
tudes toward learning English language in terms of the emotional, cognitive, and BAA as well as
their demographic profile i.e. gender.

3.2. Participants
The participants in the present study were 30 freshmen EFL learners, who have a similar background
and little knowledge of English learning, majoring in English Translation and English Literature at the
State University of Kashan, Iran. They were 19 female (N = 19) and 11 male (N = 11) freshmen.

3.3. Instrument
One attitude questionnaire, shown in Appendix 1, was the only instrument used to collect the data.
The questionnaire was adopted from the Attitude Questionnaire Test employed by Boonrangsri,
Chuaymankhong, Rermyindee, and Vongchittpinyo (2004), the Attitude and Motivation Test Battery
(AMTB) designed by Gardner (1985), and a Behavioral, Cognitive, Emotional Attitude (BCEA) ques-
tionnaire (as cited in Abidin et al., 2012). On the whole, the questionnaire used in the study contains
30 items concerning language attitudes in terms of behavioral (the first 10 items), cognitive (the
second 10 items), and emotional (the third 10 items) aspects of attitude. Overall, 18 items were posi-
tive and 12 items were negative. The statements were put in a five-point Likert scale from Level 1:
Strongly Disagree to Level 5: Strongly Agree.

3.4. Procedure for data collection and data analysis


The study was based on analysis of a questionnaire consisting of 30 items showing cognitive, behav-
ioral, and emotional aspects of attitude toward English learning. After the researcher was assured
that this questionnaire enjoyed satisfactory reliability and construct validity, the final version was
used for the main study. Thirty male and female freshmen EFL students studying English Literature
and English Translation in the State University of Kashan were selected randomly and asked to an-
swer to the questionnaire. Then, the items were analyzed and compared qualitatively with respect
to the participants’ attitudes. Finally, SPSS software was used for further analysis of the data. More
specially, T-test was applied to analyze the possible significance of the observed differences be-
tween male and female learners with respect to emotional, behavioral, and cognitive attitudes.

4. Results
Concerning the first research question, the result of descriptive analysis shows that the overall mean
score of English language attitude among the participants is 40.0382 (SD = 4.5899). This result re-
veals that the participants have a positive attitude toward learning English. Moreover, the mean
scores of the three aspects of attitudes toward English among the respondents differ. As seen in
Table 1, the mean score of BAA is 37.1818 (SD = 4.74467), that of the CAA is 40.6842 (SD = 4.30829)
and the mean score of responses regarding the Emotional Aspect of Attitude (EAA) is 42.2488
(SD = 4.71693).

4.1. The behavioral aspect of attitude toward English language


The most striking results obtained from the preliminary analysis of the statements are presented in
some tables. Among the statements, the first 10 statements elicited respondents’ positive and neg-
ative behavioral attitude toward English language, which is shown in Table 2.

Among negative statements, 56.7% respondents strongly disagreed and 3.3% strongly agreed
that they don’t care about learning English and attending English class as well. A majority of re-
spondents (60.0% strongly agreed and 3.3% strongly disagreed) stated that they like to learn English,
especially in the way a native speaker does. Overall, all the positive behavioral items (the first four
statements) obtained the most percent at strongly agree and agree and the most percent went to-
ward strongly disagree and disagree in the negative behavioral statements (the second six items).
Thus, it can apparently be said that the respondents have positive behavioral attitudes toward
English language. In other words, they have a hopeful and confident demeanor on learning English.

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Table 1. Results of T-test: Gender and three aspects of attitude


Mean N Mean Std. deviation Std. mean
Behavioral aspect Female 19 37.0000 4.26875 0.97932
Male 11 37.3636 5.22059 1.57407
Cognitive aspect Female 19 40.6842 4.30829 0.98839
Emotional aspect Female 19 43.3158 4.39763 1.00889
Male 11 41.1818 5.03623 1.51848

Table 2. Respondents’ positive & negative behavioral attitudes toward English (%)
St. no. Statements SA A NI D SD
1 I like to practice English the way native speakers do 60.0 30.0 3.3 3.33 3.3
2 Studying English helps me to have good relationships with 20.0 43.3 36.7 – –
friends
3 When I hear a student in my class speaking English well, I like 23.3 30.0 26.7 16.7 3.3
to practice speaking with him/her
4 Studying English helps me to improve my personality 30.0 43.3 23.3 3.3 –
5 Speaking English anywhere makes me feel worried 10.0 20.0 10.0 40.0 20.0
6 I put off my English homework as much as possible 13.3 16.7 16.7 40.0 13.3
7 I am not relaxed whenever I have to speak in my English class 6.7 40.0 6.7 26.7 20.0
8 I feel embarrassed to speak English in front of other students 6.7 20.0 13.3 33.3 26.7
9 When I miss the class, I never ask my friends or teachers for 3.3 13.3 20.0 6.7 56.7
the homework on what has been taught
10 I do not feel enthusiastic to come to class when the English is 3.3 10.0 10.0 30.0 46.7
being thought

4.2. The cognitive aspect of attitude toward English language


Statements 11–20 obtained respondents’ positive and negative cognitive attitudes toward learning
English, which is shown in Table 3. Most of the respondents (70.0% strongly disagreed and 3.3%
agreed) opined that they enjoy learning English, not just for passing their exams (instrumental ob-
jectives). Interestingly, regarding the first six positive statements, all respondents strongly agree
and agree that more knowledge, information, understanding, and help with other subjects are pos-
sible with learning English.

It is apparent from the data of the table that the respondents recognize the importance of learn-
ing English in the area of communicating effectively. This is indeed an expression of positive cogni-
tive attitudes of the respondents toward English language.

4.3. The emotional aspect of attitude toward English language


Eliciting the positive and negative emotional attitude toward learning English, statements 21–30 are
shown in Table 4. As far as the good emotions/feelings, high importance, more proud, enjoinment,
and confidence is concerned, 63.3% of the respondents strongly agreed and 6.7% disagreed that
studying English is enjoyable and interesting for them. Over 70.0% of the respondents (56.7%
strongly agreed and 23.3% agreed) opted to learn English because it’s a proud for them. In the same
line over 86.0% (63.3% strongly agreed and 23.3% agreed), the majority of them, showed good and
positive emotions/feelings to learning English.

This table is quite revealing the respondents’ positive emotional attitudes toward learning English
while reporting over 80.0% (76.7% strongly disagreed and 10.0% disagreed) of them don’t have little
interest in English and also 70.0% (50.0% strongly disagreed and 20.0% disagreed) preferred learn-
ing a foreign language as well as their mother tongue.

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Table 3. Respondents’ positive & negative cognitive attitudes toward English (%)
St. no. Statements SA A NI D SD
11 Being good at English will help me study other subjects well 46.7 43.3 3.0 – –
12 I have more knowledge and more understanding when study- 36.7 36.7 20.0 6.7 –
ing English
13 In my opinion, people who speak more than one language are 43.3 40.0 10.0 16.7 –
very knowledgeable
14 Studying English helps me communicate in English effectively 33.3 53.3 6.7 6.7 –
15 Studying English makes me able to create new thoughts 20.0 66.7 13.3 – –
16 English subject has the content that covers many fields of 43.3 30.0 16.7 10.0 –
knowledge
17 Frankly, I study English just to pass the exams 3.3 3.3 10.0 13.0 70.0
18 I cannot apply the knowledge from English subject in my real – 6.7 20.0 30.0 43.3
life
19 I am not satisfied with my performance in the English subject 3.3 40.0 16.7 26.7 13.3
20 In my opinion, English language is difficult and complicated to – 16.7 13.3 43.3 26.7
learn

Table 4. Respondents’ positive & negative emotional attitudes toward English (%)
St. no. Statements SA A NI D SD
21 I don’t get anxious when I have to answer a question in my 26.7 36.7 13.3 20.0 3.3
English class
22 Studying foreign languages like English is enjoyable 63.3 26.7 3.3 6.7 –
23 I feel proud when studying English language 56.7 23.3 20.0 – –
24 Studying English subject makes me feel more confident 26.7 53.3 16.7 3.3 –
25 I am interested in studying English 63.3 23.3 6.7 6.7 –
26 Knowing English is an important goal in my life 43.3 43.3 10.0 3.3 –
27 I look forward to the time I spend in English class 46.7 40.0 6.7 6.7 –
28 Studying English makes me have good emotions (feelings) 63.3 23.3 6.7 3.3 3.3
29 I prefer studying in my mother tongue rather than any other – 6.7 23.3 20.0 50.0
foreign language
30 To be honest, I really have little interest in my English class – 6.7 6.7 10.0 76.7

4.4. Language attitude and participants’ gender


The total number of respondents of this study was 30. All of them wereundergraduate male and
female EFL students of the State University of Kashan. The results in Table 1 show that the total
mean score of language attitude among female students is 40.34 and standard deviation is 7.39763
while they are 26.1818 and 3.41894, respectively among male students. However, the mean score
of female students’ behavioral attitude is 37.0 and it is 37.3636 among male ones, i.e. male students
have slightly higher attitude in terms of behavioral aspect. By contrast, the score means of cognitive
and emotional aspects of attitude among female students are higher, 40.6842 and 43.3158, respec-
tively, than men students. These descriptive results show that the attitudes of female EFL students
toward English, on the whole, are higher than that of male ones. In other words, the T-test did show
a statistically significant difference between attitude toward learning English and gender factor.

5. Discussion
Being influenced by such factors as gender, field and year of study, and environment, a strong rela-
tionship between attitude and learning has been reported in the literature. This study set out with
the aim of investigating attitudes of undergraduate male and female EFL students of the University
of Kashan, hypothesizing that there is a significant difference between the two groups. Qualitative

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analysis of this study showed that the participants, both males and females, have had positive emo-
tional, behavioral, and cognitive attitudes toward learning English. Another important finding was
that the female students’ attitudes are significantly different from the male students’. The differ-
ences are in the form that although male students showed a higher mean in BAA, in the cognitive
and emotional attitudes the female group recorded more positive attitude than male toward learn-
ing English.

These findings contradict with the reports given by Abidin et al. (2012), who studied behavioral,
cognitive, and emotional attitudes of Secondary School Students toward learning English language.
They found that their participants have a negative attitude in all three aspects of behavioral, cogni-
tive, and emotional toward learning English just in line with Shams (2008) and Al-Nofaie’s (2010)
studies. Making a contrast, Al-Tamimi and Shuib (2009), and Momani (2009) revealed positive atti-
tudes toward learning English.

This study produced results which corroborate the findings of a great deal of previous works. For
example, Al-Mamun et al. (2012) included in their research that the respondents have positive atti-
tudes toward English language reporting they like English language and they like those who speak
English. They were of the opinion that those who speak English create good impression. Another
study which has been conducted by Yu (2010), considering attitude as a component of motivation in
language learning, he focused on attitude as a key factor in different varieties of English (world
Englishes, China English, and English as an International language). In his study, Yu investigated the
attitudes of Chinese college students toward English, and the results showed positive attitudes to-
ward all varieties of English regardless of the subjects’ gender.

However, comparing female and male students, Abidin et al. (2012) revealed the attitudes of fe-
male students toward English are slightly higher than that of male ones, which is in line with that in
the current study and İnal et al.’s (2005). In contrast, some studies based on gender differences such
as Fakeye (2010) are in contrast to our study, which showed that students’ attitude is not gender-
related. Thus, they reported no statistically significant difference in the attitudes of male and female
students.

6. Conclusion
This essay has argued that attitude is factored in learning a target language, investigating male and
female EFL learners’ attitudes toward learning English and the differences in attitudes made by
these two groups. The qualitative information helped us to understand that both the male and fe-
male participants have positive emotional, behavioral, and cognitive attitudes toward English learn-
ing. This may lead to conclude that they are well aware of the importance of English and learn it as
an essential subject. It was also found that there is a significant difference between males’ and fe-
males’ attitudes. The mean of behavioral attitude among male students was higher. That is why
females may reflect their positive behavioral attitude such as enthusiasm for selecting and reading
English books or even speaking English less than males. In addition, females showed a higher mean
in cognitive and emotional aspects of attitude. That is, what females think of learning a language is
indicated in their receiving and understanding of the process of language learning-cognitivism as-
pect and in affective teacher–student interaction-humanistic aspect. Therefore, attitude as a funda-
mental component can improve language learning or on the other side obstacle it.

The current findings contribute to and have implications for a variety of different areas, such as
affective variables in Second Language (L2) learners, language attitude research, EFL learners, and
English education policies and practices in Iran. First, this study adds to the research on learners’
attitudes toward English and the growing body of studies on the spread of EFL.

Second, this study provides insights into how Iranian EFL students perceive various aspects of
English. By providing insights into attitudes of Iranian EFL learners toward the English language,

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English education policies, and their purposes for learning English, this study makes a valuable con-
tribution to understanding of English learning and teaching in Iran.

Besides, studying learners’ personalities is an important factor to make their attitudes toward
learning. If EFL learners have a positive attitude and enjoy learning a foreign language, cognitive
performance can come about. For that reason, creating an encouraging atmosphere in the English
classes to help the students’ positive attitudes toward English be developed and increased is recom-
mended to EFL teachers. English curriculum and class activities should be planned according to
students’ needs, feelings, behaviors and also teachers should recognize and respect the students
and encourage them to positive attitudes toward English learning.

Last, examining the relationship between attitudes of learners and gender, the study provides a
more comprehensive picture of attitudes of EFL learners toward English language learning in terms of
possible factors affecting the construction of their attitudes. This study has found that female stu-
dents have higher positive attitudes, especially cognitive and emotional, than males toward English.

The most considerable limitation lies in the fact that generalization of the results beyond the par-
ticipants should always be made with extreme caution. This study provides some general informa-
tion about attitudes of Iranian EFL freshmen students toward English in the State University of
Kashan. However, the participants can not represent all the Iranian EFL students. Another limitation
is that although attitude, in nature, is not static, this study does not capture any changes in attitudes
(Yang, 2010). However, due to the limited time for data collection, future studies on attitude changes
in students might alter the Iranian EFL learners’ perceiving toward the language of English.

Funding engineering undergraduates at Hadhramout university


The author received no direct funding for this research. of sciences and technology. GEMA: Online Journal of
Language Studies, 9, 29–55.
Author details Bernaus, M., Masgoret, A. M., Gardner, R. C., & Reyes, E. (2004).
Shahrzad Eshghinejad1 Motivation and attitudes towards learning languages
E-mail: eshghinezhad.sh@gmail.com in multicultural classrooms. International Journal of
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5967-696X Multilingualism, 1, 75–89.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14790710408668180
1
Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages, Department
of English Language, University of Kashan, Kashan, Isfahan Bigham, T. (2010). Do teachers have a negative attitude
Province, Iran. towards the inclusion of students with special needs?
(Unpublished master thesis). Ohio University, Columbus.
Citation information Boonrangsri, K., Chuaymankhong, D., Rermyindee, N., &
Cite this article as: EFL students’ attitudes toward learning Vongchittpinyo, N. (2004). The Attitude towards English
English language: The case study of Kashan University Language Learning of the Students in Vocational Certificate
students, Shahrzad Eshghinejad, Cogent Education (2016), Level under Curriculum in 2002. Thailand: A Case Study of
3: 1236434. Ayutthaya Technical College studied by Naresuan University.
Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of language learning and
Cover image teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Source: Author. Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive
Approach To language Pedagogy (2nd ed.). San Francisco
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Appendix 1

Questionnaire
Attitudes of EFL Kashan University Students toward Learning English Language

Dear student,

The main goal of this study is to investigate attitudes of EFL students of Kashan University toward
learning English language in terms of the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects of attitude.
Also this study aims to explore whether there is any significant difference in EFL students’ attitudes
of Kashan University toward learning English language according to their gender. Your answers will
help EFL teachers and educators to understand EFL learners’ needs and overcome any difficulties
and challenges they may have with English language.

1. Female
2. Male

Attitudes toward English Language Learning

To what extent do you agree with the following items? The following items ask about your atti-
tudes toward learning the English language. Remember, there is no right or wrong answers; just
answer as accurately as possible. Please read the statements below carefully and tick the appropri-
ate choices that reflect your attitudes and perceptions toward English language. Use the scale below
to answer the questionnaire items: 1  =  Strongly Disagree, 2  =  Disagree, 3  =  Neutral, 4  =  Agree,
5 = Strongly Agree.

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Note: Tick (✓) only one option for each item in the questionnaire.
No Items 1 2 3 4 5
SD D N A SA
1 Speaking English anywhere makes me feel worried          
2 Studying English helps me to have good relationships with friends          
3 When I hear a student in my class speaking English well, I like to practice speaking          
with him/her
4 Studying English helps me to improve my personality          
5 I put off my English homework as much as possible          
6 I am not relaxed whenever I have to speak in my English class          
7 I feel embarrassed to speak English in front of other students.          
8 I like to practice English the way native speakers do          
9 When I miss the class, I never ask my friends or teachers for the homework on what          
has been taught
10 I do not feel enthusiastic to come to class when English is being thought          
11 Being good at English will help me study other subjects well          
12 I have more knowledge and more understanding when studying English          
13 Frankly, I study English just to pass the exams          
14 In my opinion, people who speak more than one language are very knowledgeable          
15 Studying English helps me communicate in English effectively          
16 I cannot apply the knowledge from English subject in my real life          
17 Studying English makes me able to create new thoughts          
18 I am not satisfied with my performance in English subject          
19 In my opinion, English language is difficult and complicated to learn          
20 English subject has the content that covers many fields of knowledge          
21 I prefer studying in my mother tongue rather than any other foreign language          
22 To be honest, I really have little interest in my English class          
23 I don’t get anxious when I have to answer a question in my English class          
24 Studying foreign languages like English is enjoyable          
25 I feel proud when studying English language          
26 Studying English subject makes me feel more confident          
27 I am interested in studying English          
28 Knowing English is an important goal in my life          
29 I look forward to the time I spend in English class          
30 Studying English makes me have good emotions (feelings)          

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