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Motivating Language Learners: A Classroom-Oriented Investiga

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Julia Chun

on 26 March 2014

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Transcript of Motivating Language Learners: A Classroom-Oriented Investiga

Motivating Language Learners: A Classroom-Oriented Investigation of the Effects of Motivational Strategies on Student Motivation
What is Motivation?
The most systematic attempt to produce a framework of motivational strategies

System of 4 dimensions (100+ specific motivational techniques)
Creating basic motivational conditions
Generating initial motivation
Maintaining and protecting motivation
Encouraging positive retrospective self-evaluation

Served as background in designing the classroom observation instruments for current investigation

History of Motivation Research
• Received attention in the L2 literature in the 1990s with light on importance of how the learning environment shapes learners' motivation

• Traditional research focused on what motivation is rather than pedagogical implications

• Recent research examines pedagogical implications by conceptualizing motivational strategies

Purpose of the Study
Research Design
2. Student Motivational State Questionnaire:

a) designed to target students’ situation-specific motivational disposition related to their current L2 course

b) included 20 items rated on a 6-point scale (1=definitely not; 6=totally true)

c) items were written to assess: 1) attitudes toward current L2 course; 2) linguistic self-confidence; 3) L2 classroom anxiety

Research Design
• Large-scale classroom observation study to obtain data about both the teacher and the students consisted of three parts:

1. (MOLT) Motivation Orientation of Language Teaching = Classroom observation instrument

a) follows real-time coding principle of Spada & Fröhlich’s (1995) COLT (Communication Orientation of Language Teaching – classroom events are recorded every minute)

b) uses categories of observable teacher behaviour from Dörnyei’s (2001) motivational strategies for foreign language classrooms

c) assesses 1) teacher’s motivational teaching practice:
* teacher discourse
* participation structure
* encouraging positive respective self-evaluation
* activity design
2) learners’ motivated behaviour:
* attention students pay in class
* extent of their participation
* volunteering in tasks

Learners’ Motivated Behaviour

Learners’ behaviour was calculated from three variables: attention, participation [and] volunteering for teacher-fronted activity” (Guilloteaux and Dörnyei, 2008, p. 62). The students were monitored for listening attentively, participating in choral repetitions, raising their hands or, conversely, for any “off-task” behaviour, such as daydreaming, chatting, sleeping, and so on.

Self-Reported Student Motivation Index

This index derived from the students’ “attitudes toward the L2 course, linguistic self-confidence and anxiety” (p. 69). Since the three variables were “highly intercorrelated,” they produced a “one-factor solution”(p. 69). (Variables that are correlated are clustered together into one factor to simplify the equations.)
by Guilloteaux & Dörnyei
presented by Lois Molto, Jennifer MacKenzie-Hutchison, and Julia Chun
• Motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate L2 learning and later the driving force to sustain the learning process

• Appropriate curricula and good teaching are not enough to ensure student achievement

• Motivational strategies:
(a) instructional interventions applied by the teacher to elicit and stimulate student motivation
and (b) self-regulating strategies that are used purposefully by individual students to manage the level of their own motivation
current study will examine (a)

History of Motivation Research
• Gardner and Tremblay (1994) question the effectiveness of the various techniques in language classrooms

• Chen, Warden, and Chang’s (1994) “Motivators That Do Not Motivate” points out the
discrepancy between the assumed and actual power
of certain motivational strategies

• Cheng & Dornyei (2007); Dornyei & Csizer (1998) provided empirical data on effectiveness of motivational strategies
However, relied
solely on teachers’ self-reports

Dörnyei (2001)
Authors of the Study

Marie J. Guilloteaux
Currently a professor at Gyeongsang National University, Department of English Language Education, South Korea
Research interests: Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Student motivation and engagement, Second Language Acquisition, Classroom management, and Materials development for ELT classes
Zoltan D
Completed his PhD in Budapest, Hungary
Professor of Psycholinguistics at the University of Nottingham in the UK
Has received the Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize of the Modern Language Association and the TESOL Distinguished Research Award
Renowned for his work on motivation in SLA

• In this study, the researchers set out to examine how a teacher’s motivational teaching practice affects his or her students’ “motivated learning behaviour”(p. 58).

• The emphasis of this study is not on how student motivation affects language proficiency or ultimate attainment, but rather on how teacher motivational techniques affect student motivation

Research Design

3. Teacher Appraisal Form:

a) short rating scale consisting of nine 6-point semantic differential scale items

b) based in part on Gardner’s attitudes toward the L2 teacher scale

c) 9 bipolar adjectives focused on various motivation-specific features of the teacher’s instructional behaviour
Research Questions
1. How does the teacher’s motivational teaching practice affect the students’ classroom motivation in terms of the level of their attention, participation, and volunteering?

2. What is the relationship between the students’ self-reported motivation, their actual classroom behaviour, and the teacher’s classroom practice?
Research Design
• Participants (Schools, Teachers and Students)

1. Diversity in school location
a) students assigned to school by lottery system
b) teachers rotated among schools every 4 years

2. Diversity in teachers’ age, qualifications, experience, and level of English proficiency
a) 27 language teachers (4 male & 23 female)
b) ages ranged from 23-44 (M = 31.65)
c) teaching experience ranged from 1-20 years (M = 8.32)
d) level of fluency 30% advanced; 40% higher intermediate; 30% lower intermediate

3. More than 1300 learners
a) Junior high classes
b) Year 1 (12-13 year olds): 46%; Year 2 (13-14 year olds): 46%; Year 3 (14-15 year olds): 8%
c) 60% boys & 40% girls
d) All were South Koreans and spoke Korean as their first language

Research Design
• Procedures

1. Piloting
a) All instruments were tested in a sample of eight EFL classes taught by 4 teachers
b) Students represented a population similar to the main study sample
c) Followed by an interview with each teacher about coding of events

2. Main Study – 40 observations during last 2 months of first semester
a) administered the student questionnaire to every learner group before class started
b) collected all observational and teacher evaluation data
c) completed the coding as each minute elapsed
d) filled in teacher evaluation scale immediately after each class

First, Guilloteaux and Dörnyei had to calculate the composite variables…
Teachers’ Classroom Motivational Conduct

This measure was based on a minute-by-minute coding of classroom observations of the teacher and the post-lesson teacher evaluation scale. There was a positive correlation between the two measurements (
= 0.46; p < 0.01), which makes sense given that they both relate to the same construct: teacher conduct. Combined, they formed the teacher’s motivational practice variable.

Next came the results…
The teachers’ motivational behaviour had a
high positive correlation
with student motivation and accounted for 37% of the variance (percentage of students who were motivated through teachers' motivational behaviour). The coefficient was higher than 0.6, which is high, considering that typically, motivation studies yield correlations of 0.3−0.5 (p. 69).

There was another
considerable positive correlation
(r = 0.35, p < 0.05) between the
students’ self-reported motivation and their demonstrated motivation
(p. 70)

Combined, the teachers’ motivational behaviour and the students’ self-reported motivation explain 40% of the variance (p. 70).

Guilloteaux and Dörnyei also determined that the
teachers’ motivational practice correlated significantly with the students’ self-reported motivation
(r = 0.31, p < 0.050).

This last measurement is interesting because it shows that the teacher’s motivational techniques influence not just the students’ classroom motivation but also their attitude toward the course.

Based on these results, can we claim that the teachers’ motivational practice increased student motivation? Well…

According to a well-known statistical principle, correlations are not synonymous with cause/effect relationships. As such, we cannot unilaterally proclaim that teachers’ motivational techniques increase students’ motivation.

Interpretation of results

The authors are confident with their results since they completed their studies in a setting where there would be
little school effect
(variation among schools). The Korean government randomly distributes students among its schools, rotates the teachers, principals and vice-principals regularly, and strictly controls the curriculum (p.71).

As such, Guilloteaux and Dörnyei assert that “the significant positive link that emerged in [their] investigation indicates that language teachers can make a real difference in their students’ motivational disposition by applying various motivational techniques and strategies” (p. 72).

It uses data from
actual classroom observations
as opposed to previous studies, which relied heavily on surveys. So far, there has not been any concrete, classroom-focused empirical evidence on the influence of teachers’ motivational behaviour on students (p. 72).

This study is significant in that …
Overall Implications

Confirms the link between teachers’ motivational behaviour and student motivation.

Provides the rationale for incorporating more motivational strategies into teacher training. (Note: Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s study did not include data regarding the “teachability” of such strategies [p.72].)

Unleashes exciting motivational potential, especially since the teachers in this study had had no explicit motivational training and yet managed to affect strong positive changes in their students.
Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s study…
Overall Implications

• Confirm that there is a correlation between students’ increased motivated behaviour and improved learning and identify the “optimum conditions” for establishing this link (p. 73).

• Determine the cultural specificity of motivational teaching practices and whether they transcend all learning situations (p. 73).

• Focus on the “teachability” of motivational practices and “specific ways” they can be taught.

• Look at the relationship between the use of motivational strategies and teaching quality. To what extent do poor teaching behaviours cancel out the benefits of motivational teaching and to what extent can motivational teaching compensate for these poor behaviours?

Guilloteaux and Dörnyei suggest
four avenues of further study
for researchers:
Limitations of the Study
Guilloteaux and Dörnyei examine motivational strategies as a whole, not individually, opening the way for more research in this area (p.72).

The authors do not include any data on the teachability of motivational strategies and suggest that the process of transferring strategies into practice might not be clear-cut.

Teachers, as well as students, may have been conscious of the observation in the study

Teachers' intonation, way of speaking, know-hows, could have influenced the results

As educators, we should be both excited and sobered by the findings of Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s study that reveals just how important motivation is for students’ language learning. Excited because we have enormous potential here to research specific motivational strategies to improve our students’ learning and sobered because it is clear that motivation is integral to teaching and it is up to us to foster it in our students. This doesn’t mean that we are going to get it right the first time. Guilloteaux and Dörnyei themselves admit that translating strategy into practice is not easy. Nevertheless, through trial and error, and aided by the variables used here and other studies, we can create specific techniques that work, not just for us, but to share.

After all, motivated students drive teachers to work harder and teach better.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

Albert Enstein

Discussion Questions
Why this Study?
1. Guilloteaux and Dörnyei’s study opens the door for further areas of research, mentioned above. Which area would you be most interested in exploring? Why?
2. Have you found that some of your motivational techniques work better for some students than others? What reasons to you have for the discrepancy?
3. What ideas do you have for the students themselves to increase their self-motivation?
4. “Traditionally, motivational psychologists have been more concerned about what motivation is than about how we can use this knowledge to motivate learners” (p. 56). As teachers we are usually concerned with motivating our students. Do you find this statement surprising? Why do you think it has taken researchers so long to look into the connection between a teacher’s motivational strategies and student motivational behaviour?
5. There are 25 teacher motivational strategies suggested in the article. What are some motivational strategies that you use or have used in your classroom? Do you find them effective in motivating your students?
6. The authors use the variables of attention paid in class, participation, and eagerness to volunteer as measures of learners’ motivated behaviour. Do you think these are reliable measures of students’ motivation? Why or why not?
7. The authors discuss several pedagogical implications and a number of implications for future research from this study. In what ways do you think the findings from this study would be most helpful to educators?
8. As mentioned briefly in the article, there may be other factors affecting motivation. What might be some of the factors? Some students still may not influenced by teachers' motivational strategies. Is there anything educators can do to help them develop interest in learning L2?
9. Should teachers be trained in motivational teaching? If so, should the training be on focused interventions on motivation or raising awareness?

• In the past, motivational psychologists have been more concerned about what motivation is than about how we can use this knowledge to motivate learners

• Studies have typically looked at what factors motivate students, but this study looks at how the teacher can motivate the students

• Until this article was published, there was not “any empirical evidence concerning the concrete, classroom-specific impact of language teachers’ motivational strategies” within the literature (p. 72)

• As teachers, we want to learn more about how we can motivate our learners in order to facilitate their success within our language classes. Furthermore, motivational teaching strategies have been shown in this study to make positive changes in students’ motivational behaviour

also listed on Pepper!
Examples of MOLT
Csizer, K., and Dörnyei, A. (2005). The internal structure of language learning motivation and its relationship with language choice and learning effort. Modern Language Journal, 89, 19-36.

Guilloteaux, M.J., & Dörnyei, Z. (2008). Motivating language learners: A classroom-oriented investigation of the effects of motivational strategies on student motivation. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 55-78.

Ortega, L.(2009). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. London: Hodder.
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