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5.5 Motivation

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

Learning a language can be a very challenging part of a teacher’s job. Teachers must learn how to communicate with the learners and instil confidence in them. The teacher needs to genuinely believe in the students learning ability and help them achieve mutual goals!

Low student confidence contributes to one of the most persistent obstacles to the success of any teacher. It is vital to acknowledge the points of the trends below and try to overcome them:

  • Many students do not believe that their parents believe in them
  • Many students do not think that any adult believes in them
  • Many students do not believe that their teachers believe in them
  • These types of students, therefore, do not believe in themselves and tend to have more behavioural and academic problems

The conclusion is simple: Those who do believe in themselves will be better equipped to succeed academically. Students who do not believe in themselves may have issues in the classroom,


People have various reasons to study a foreign language. Sometimes people study a language for practical purposes while others have a unique attraction for a particular language and its people.

Gardner and Lambert are responsible for proposing the most commonly used framework for understanding the different motivations that language learners typically have.

The motivations can be divided into two types; intrinsic motivation & extrinsic motivation.

Gardner and Lambert classified motivation of foreign language acquisition into instrumental and integrative motivation from social linguistics.

  • Learners with instrumental motivation aim to reach their goal and treat the language just as one kind of tool, such as finding a good job.
  • Learners with integrative motivation desire to mix with the culture of the second/ foreign language and always show intense interest in the culture and people influenced by this language.

Conclusions of Gardner and Lambert’s theory:

  1. Highly motivated students do better than ones without any motivation at all.
  2. Integrative motivation is more potent than instrumental motivation.

Teacher motivation techniques to instil confidence in students:

  • Make learning goal-oriented- Setting goals with students at the beginning of the year, or the start of each lesson will significantly impact the class, making their learning more goal-oriented. For example, the teacher can start a lesson with a comment such as, “today we will learn when and how to use a comma accurately,” The teacher can finish the lesson by saying, “Well done! You are now equipped and prepared to use commas correctly when writing your essays” Developing this perspective helps boost the students learning outcomes and keeps them motivated.
  • Be more caring about students’ learning abilities than your teaching– As a teacher, it is essential to remember that one of the reasons people become teachers is to help students learn. Students of the same age and upbringing can be sensitive to different teaching methods, and it is essential to note this and teach from various perspectives that are most well suited to the students and not the teacher.
  • Variety in activities- (Reading exercises, games, flashcards, etc.) Using educational technology and exercises in the classroom makes it easier to teach students of all learning environments, assisting teachers in bringing even the most nervous of students out of their pods. Many teachers recognise that educational technology and games are a valuable teaching tool: In a study conducted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, approximately 80% of K-8 classroom teachers surveyed stated that digital games have “advanced student mastery of curricular content.”
  • Curriculum- Aligned games increase student confidence and learning results. Teaching in a fun, game-type environment that attracts students can deliver extraordinary changes in learning outcomes and even test scores. Teachers found that students may find a new language unapproachable when explained verbally or on the board.
  • Reassure your students verbally– Among the numerous research-driven discussions of pedagogy and teaching strategies, it can be easy to overlook the power of teachers simply comforting and encouraging their students verbally to inspire confidence in their abilities.

As Todd Whittaker (a leading presenter in the field of education) explains, if teachers want a student to believe in themselves, “then they should tell him/her that you believe in them, that you will not give up on them, that you understand their struggles, and that you are there for them.” Far too many teachers do not remember to do this.