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Motivation is a paramount factor in determining the success or failure of learning. Very often, students drag themselves to school and find it a chore to study, worse still take on a second language ?C English. As a non native speaker myself, switching from characters into roman letters was an uphill battle. However, ?? want to dispel the myth that learning English is easy and fun for non-native speakers and the secret to it is pure motivation.
According to the dictionary, motivation is defined as a reason or cause of action. It can be categorized into extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Extrinsic factors such as rewards and punishment are the common methods in motivating students. If a student does well, the individual is rewarded positively with gifts, money and even time- off. On the other end of the spectrum, if students do not meet certain standards, the individual suffers negative scrutiny such as fines or detention. I believe that these conventional may be applicable to a certain extent especially with young children where discipline is required but may be inappropriate for mature learners. How much can you dangle a carrot before it gets eaten or how long can you whip someone into doing something good for themselves. EnglishClub.com suggests the following motivational techniques that are intrinsic and learner centered. Firstly, increasing the learner` "goal-orientatedness". Students are unaware of their activity involvement as the goal is determined by the teacher. There is simply no buy in and hence willingness to learn is often at an all time low. Hence, to motivate students to learn, teachers should encourage learners to define their goal. This would allow them to have a clear line of sight between a means to an end. Simply put, you wouldn??t jump off a bridge if the teacher said so. Secondly, teachers should make the curriculum relevant for the learners. Students succumb to peer pressure and do not want to feel left out. Hence, they frequently do things without knowing the reason why, they just want to be part of the dynamics. In order to inspire learners to dive head first into learning activities, teachers should discover their interest and attune the curriculum to their needs. The EnglishClub.com cites that "If the teacher is to motivate pupils to learn, then relevance has to be the red thread permeating activities". I would suggest leveraging on fun games for young learners and thinking games for mature ones. This would captivate their attention and make the language interesting. Thirdly, teachers should create realistic learner beliefs. Taking on a second language is seen as useless as the home country do not use it for daily communication. After acquiring it, many students leave it aside to collect dust as It is seen as a nice to have rather than an essential skill. If inappropriate testing is used and students receive a poor score, they are likely to be de- motivated which may result in disinterested learners and even disappointment. Similar to once bitten twice shy, who would want to undergo such a treatment. It is only natural to shun away from the subject. Therefore, it is necessary to expel any preconceived notions that are obstacles to learning. Having this in mind, the teacher should employ various teaching strategies for learners to discover for themselves effective learning techniques. In reality, the Japanese EFL market favors native speakers over Japanese English skilled speakers. However, drawing from my own background and experience, I would be in a better position to understand and relate to Japanese students` difficulty and needs in mastering the language. With this understanding, I plan on using the right motivation techniques as I am familiar to what drives them.
We could very well stick to extrinsic measures such as rewards and punishments or even intrinsic such as making content relevant. However, are we truly motivating. Learning is acquired if students partake and immerse themselves in the language; I believe we can only motivate to get them into the spirit of things whereas the actual learning requires their desire for discovery.
Sources: http://www.englishclub.com/tefl-articles/motivation-motivating- efl
Author: Millie Kojima
Date of post: 2006-11-20