Motivating Language Learners by Gary N. Chambers

By Gary N. Chambers

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Like teaching methods themselves, the definition of motivation has varied through time and has given rise to different and sometimes conflicting descriptions and interpretations. A range of these is examined and analysed before a model is selected as being most appropriately applicable to the field of modern language learning. At the empirical centre of the study is evidence gathered from cohorts of school pupils in England and Germany at successive stages in their progress through secondary education.

It does not stop there. It goes on to provide in-class and out-of-class strategies, which have already proven successful in enhancing pupils' motivation and providing them with that which they and their teachers perceive as a positive learning experience both in terms of level of achievement and level of enjoyment. 1 (based on Phillips & Filmer-Sankey, 1993: 4) summarises the context within which the study is set and provides a preview of the broad areas of questions to be investigated. 1 Research design Page 12 Summary This chapter attempts to outline the factors which stimulated interest in the topic of secondary school pupils' motivational perspectives regarding modern foreign languages, with special reference to German.

A subject who is normally successful tends to attribute success to effort and ability. If unsuccessful, she blames effort with the implication that this internal trait can be modified. She only needs to try harder and she will enjoy success. A subject who is normally unsuccessful and experiences success tends to attribute this success to external factors such as task difficulty or luck ('It was easy, Miss'; 'I was lucky, Sir'), whereas any failure on her part is attributed to lack of ability. Each of these categories makes an important contribution to the attempt to establish the nature of motivation but taken in isolation proves unsatisfactory.

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