Demotivating factors among undergraduate distance English learners: A Chinese case study
This study explores demotivating factors for undergraduate English majors in a Chinese university in the context of attending distance courses during the COVID-19 lockdown. Delving into students’ reflection in this unusual period through in-depth interviews, a qualitative analysis of what demotivates students is provided, as well as a comparison of the findings with those obtained in earlier studies conducted in traditional classrooms. In all, 10 students participated in the study and provided their insights. The interviews were transcribed and coded following established qualitative research methods. It is shown that in the context of distance education, the affect and character of the students demotivate them most, followed by teacher-related factors and the mode of distance education. Procrastination is pinpointed as the largest demotivator, trailed by teacher-student interactions in class and heavy workload. Supporting previous results, this study finds that self-related and teacher-related factors impact demotivation, but here they have different weightings, such that self-related factors are more powerful. Heavy workload is related to distance-education mode and institutional arrangements, and this also diverges from previous findings. These findings may prove a springboard to future discussion on blends of traditional and non-traditional language education, with possible effects on students’ demotivation at the forefront.