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Vol. 9 No. 1 (2006)

Gender differences in second language motivation: An investigation of micro- and macro-level influences

  • Scott Kissau
October 15, 2012


The present article is part of a large-scale study conducted in Ontario that investigated gender differences in motivation to learn French. However, for this particular article second language (L2) motivation theory is the primary focus. Over the past 30 years of research, the study of L2 motivation has evolved. There appears to be a definite shift away from the societal (macro-level) approaches that dominated the research of the 1970s and 1980s toward an approach that emphasizes the influence of the L2 classroom. The researcher calls into question this evolution in research. A mixed methodology was used to determine if gender differences in a variety of motivational factors exist among Grade 9 French as a second language (FSL) students.  Approximately 500 students in Grade 9 completed a questionnaire. The significant findings of the questionnaire were then explored in interviews with students and teachers. Quantitative results indicated significant differences in regard to several motivational factors. However, the qualitative data emphasized that at the root of these differences were societal influences.