The Roots of Motivation to Learn a Second Language
Motivation has long been a major concern for most English teachers. There is no doubt that it is a potent force in language acquisition. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages of their education, and teachers can play a pivotal role in providing and encouraging that motivation in their students. All students are motivated differently and it takes time and a lot of effort to learn to get a classroom full of students enthusiastic about learning, working hard, and pushing themselves to excel.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Huong D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Reasons for Learning
As a teacher, I have many chances to work with a variety of age groups, especially adults and teenagers. Adults are usually in the classroom because they have made the choice to be there and in most cases, they have made a financial commitment and time-arranged schedules towards their learning to achieve their set goals by improving their language skills. However, children and teenagers don’t often get to make their own decision to attend the English class, and they are obliged either by their parents or school to do so. In this case, teachers have to take an active role in trying to improve the motivation levels of a group.
For instance, The teacher can use multimedia to introduce English films, music, and historical events from every aspect to students to arouse their interest. The learning tasks should be focused on discourse-based conversations, art-based classwork, immersion, group work, pair work, and others to enable students to practice in a "real" situation and gain competence of speaking. Since language is best learned through close collaboration and communication among students, learners can help each other while working on different types of tasks such as writing dialogues, interviews, drawing pictures and making comments about them, play roles, etc.
Choice of Activities
The classroom activities should be carefully prepared and full of interest such as jigsaw, information gap filling, top news debate, story-telling, flashcards, etc., to create a lively atmosphere for learning a foreign language. When students get involved in joyful, light, and interesting activities, they have a strong motivation to learn and achieve the goal of language learning. In many classroom activities, the teacher should act as an "organizer", "initiator", "co-operator", "informant", "participant", "guide", and "advisor". In my opinion, a successful class is a learner-centered class with students playing the dominant role. Only in a learner-centered dynamic classroom can students practice the foreign language to get motivated and make progress.
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In conclusion, motivation to language learning is a complex set of variables including effort; desire to achieve goals, and attitudes toward the learning of the language. With the increasing role of English language as a foreign or second language over the world today, the role of motivation in the classroom is one of the majors important factors in learning English language and determine how well a student learn a foreign language, so the teacher has to be devoted, resourceful and skillful to motivate his/her students to participate in every lesson at school.
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