International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Orientations for Learning Mandarin amongst Malay Undergraduate Students
Tan Teow Ghee, Ooi Ae Kee, Hairul Nizam Ismail

In learning a second or foreign language, motivation has been identified as the learner’s orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second or foreign language. It can be very motivating for students to learn something that is corresponding to their learning orientations. Thus, this study was carried out to investigate the learning orientations of Malay undergraduates who were learning Mandarin as a foreign language. Purposive sampling was used to collect the data. 18 students who enrolled in the Mandarin course in three different levels (elementary, intermediate and advance) during the July 2010 – November 2010 semester were chosen to take part in the study. The students were chosen based on the criteria set by the researcher. The criteria included moderate achievement in Mandarin, aged 20-22, and show good learning attitude. The researcher employed semi-structured conversational type of face-to-face interview with the participants. Content analysis was employed to explore information from the transcripts. Fourteen themes of learning orientations were found from the interview data which were subsequently grouped into four major categories: Career-orientated, Enjoyment and Interest, Friendship, and Influence by Others. The study recommends curricula planners to exploit students’ orientations when reviewing the present curriculum for the Mandarin course. In addition, other methods such as survey, educational artefacts, and classroom observation can be employed for future study to gather more information in order to give deeper insights into the investigation and serve for triangulation purposes.

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