The Motivation of English Language Teachers to Teach at the Tertiary Level

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In the field of Second Language (L2) motivation, there is very little research into teacher motivation due to its sensitive and controversial nature. This study aims to fill the gap by exploring English language teachers’ motivation to teach at the tertiary level in Taiwan, through the use of a survey. It also aims to compare and contrast these teachers’ perceptions (motivation) concerning their current employment. A standardised online questionnaire with closed- and open-ended questions was sent to all English language full-time and part-time teachers working in higher education in Taiwan. In total, 109 questionnaires were collected. The findings show that the participating teachers put “a sense of achievement or challenge,” “career prospects,” and “work autonomy” as their primary employment motives. The most unsatisfactory factors of their current job are “salary” and “relations with colleagues.” The open-ended question probed the teachers’ greatest challenges and concerns; and it generated rich and interesting data. The participating teachers are concerned about school-related issues, students’ low motivation, and attitude towards learning. Hopefully, the results of the study can shed light on the under-researched area of L2 motivation and provide some implications for government and school authorities.