TEFL Saukville Wisconsin



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When talking about motivation I would start for the simple definition of such a complicated word; the word motivation derives from the word 'motive' which means needs, desires, wants or drives within the individuals. Even if the definition seems to explain a set of ideas and meanings this simple word it is more than that. First of all it is not only a word but a process. The process of stimulating people to actions to accomplish the goals. When teaching a subject, english as well as other subjects, I do believe the motivation process can be considered the leading factor for a successful course and outcome. Educational psychology has identified two basic classifications of motivation - intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation arises from a desire to learn a topic due to its inherent interests, for self-fulfillment, enjoyment and to achieve a good knowledge of the subject. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is motivation to perform and succeed for the sake of accomplishing a specific result or outcome. According to this it seems obvious that students who are grade-oriented, that means those who really care about having good grades, are extrinsically motivated, the rest, that means those who really enjoy doing or studying what they are doing are intrinsically motivated. Notwithstanding motivation seems to be a natural process, occurring in each individual, we must say it stems from stimulation. And of course stimulation can't be only something intrinsically occurring in a person but it is a process steaming from outside , from somebody else, i.e. a teacher. As a matter of fact some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need, or in many cases are expecting their mentor or their teacher to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them. According to Eriksen 1978, p. 3 "Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher's ability ... to maintain the interest that brought students to the course in the first place". What Eriksen is trying to say is that it is not only the students to bring a great amount of motivation in the class, but his/her motivation depends on a great deal from what the teacher is able to do... motivation is a process and being so it needs to be stimulating and increased lesson by lesson. Even if it seems a very easy task to be able to motivate students teachers need to keep in mind that motivation can be affected by different factors (Bligh, 1971; Sass, 1989). First of all we must say that not all students are motivated by the same values, needs, desires, or wants. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others, some by facing challenges. Researchers (Lowman, 1984; Lucas, 1990; Weinert and Kluwe, 1987; Bligh, 1971) have found out that to encourage students to become self-motivated independent learners, teachers can apply the following behaviors: • Ensure opportunities for students by assigning tasks that are suitable to their level, not too easy not too difficult. • Help students to find personal meaning and value in the material, for example seeing schooling and education as personally relevant to their interests and goals (Barbara McCombs) • Create an atmosphere that is open and positive, controlling in this way emotions and moods that could facilitate learning and motivation( Barbara McCombs) • Help students feel that they are valued members of a learning community. • Give frequent, early, positive feedback that supports students' beliefs that they can do well. As shown until here, motivation is a bidimensional process to which two different actors contribute to the right level of it: the student and the teacher. According to this the success of an english course depends for the student to be self-confidents and motivated and for the teacher to be a strong motivator. This binomium student-teacher involves many other aspects such as the kind of relationship we are able to build, participation of students (See schooling and education as personally relevant to their interests and goals. Lucas, 1990), and ask more than order. In conclusion: “Students are motivated when they believe they are able to succeed at a given task and when they understand and value the outcome of the task.” Brophy, Jere. (2004). Motivating students to learn (2nd ed.).