Publication Date



Promoting intrinsic motivation is often a central concern in teaching foreign languages to elementaryschool children. Self-determination theory posits that intrinsic motivation develops through the interac-tion of the person and the environment. The present study investigated how elementary school students’motivation develops over the course of a school year in Japanese public schools. Five-hundred and fifteenJapanese elementary school children were surveyed over the course of one school year. Self-reportedmotivation, perceptions of teacher support, need satisfaction, and engagement were measured at differ-ent times. External raters observed students’ engagement, while classroom teachers assessed the qualityof students’ motivation and learning. Structural equation modeling results indicated a positive, dynamicrelationship between motivation, perceptions of the learning environment, and engagement. Externalraters’ assessments showed significant positive correlations with students’ self-reported engagement.Findings indicate how the instruction offered in these Japanese elementary schools supported students’foreign language learning motivation.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.