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Motivation in language learning

Abstract

Motivation is considered to be a primary aspect of language learning . In this article , I examine some teaching specialists’ views about motivation .

Definition

Motivation is a term with extensive meaning for accomplishment or frustration . Some one’s success depends on his motivation . Suitable motivation can be caused learner’s success in second language learning . Researches have exhibited that motivation is a basic element in learning . (Brown, 2000, p. 160).

Importance of motivation

Because of different nature of language in comparison with other topics and impacting some factors such as social situation , context and culture on language learning , we can introduce one of the most dominant models for language learning . This models is called socio educational model .There are four factors in this model . Learner’s cultural beliefs , their attitudes toward the learning situation , their integrativeness and their motivation . But Gardner believes that the predominant factor in this modal is motivation . ( Williams &Bruden, 1997, p. 116).

Motivation is a kind of inclination to learn the language , motivational ardor and our perspectives towards acquiring the knowledge of language . These are evaluated by the Attitude / Motivation Test Battery or AMTB . This is composed of a number of self report questionnaires which measure 19 divergent features of motivation . ( Gardner& Tremblay, 1994, p. 524).

In addition to , there are different constituents encompassed in second language motivation . These are divided into three levels .language level , learner level and situational level .Language level considers some aspects of language such as culture and locality and the usefulness of the language . Basic elements in learner level are need for attainment and self- assurance .ultimately , the situation level components is related to the course , teacher and learners .( Dornyei , 1994, p. 273).

Psychological perspectives

Different psychological perspectives have divergent views toward language motivation . In behaviorist model , motivation is intended very important . External rewards as a positive reinforcement can motivate learners very extremely . (Brown, 2000, p. 160).

In cognitive view , more emphasis is given to individual’s judgments. such as their experiences , goals and their exertions for achieving their purposes. ( Keller, 1983, p. 389).

Cognitive psychologists put a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation . Susan Harter ( 1981) explains motivation from this view point .

In these studies , children are given a self –report questionnaire about their views in doing any task . such as performance for challenge or for easy work , independent or dependent person and their success. From this research two distinct phenomena is found out . First , there are reasons for wanting to do some thing and what is actually involved in acting in a motivated way . These are dimensions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation .

Dimensions of intrinsic and extrinsic

Intrinsic Extrinsic

Performance for challenge Performance for easy work

Curiosity /interest Pleasing teacher / getting grades

Independent mastery Dependence on teacher in figuring out problems

Independent judgment Reliance on teacher’s judgment about what to do

Internal criteria for success External criteria for success

The first three dimensions are related to reasons for doing any task and the last two is connected to acting in a motivated way . Then a child can be intrinsic on the first three while being extrinsic on the last two . ( Harter, 1981, p. 310-11).

In constructive view of motivation , social context and different characters of persons is seen as two main aspects . ( Williams &Bruden, 1997, p. 120).

Further more , Abraham Maslow explains this perspective of motivation through a hierarchy of needs. He states his views in the form of a pyramid .

Motivation is associated to fulfillment of some needs . These needs are presented in a hierarchical pyramid . At the below of this pyramid , fundamental physical necessities such as air , water ,food are located . These are primitive needs for attaining motivation which are called efficiency needs . Whenever organisms have a feeling about lacking of water or food , these needs are incited .Second classification is related to having security in environment which lives there . Need to love and affinity is another step for motivating in any task . Self –esteem and feeling of success, merit and capability is located in the forth class of pyramid . Finally ,at the top of pyramid , self actualization is settled . It means that every person should have a positive view of himself . The last two classification is entitled meta needs. ( Maslow, 1970, p. 52).

Conclusion

In this article , I have attempted to express some key aspects about motivation . At first I began by presenting a definition of motivation from Brown and the importance of motivation from Williams & Bruden points of view . We also provided a brief summary of Gardner’s and Dornyei,s view about motivation . I then discussed what is meant by psychological apporoaches to motivation . We can , therefore , conclude that motivation is a fundamental element in language learning and teaching .

References

Brown,H.Douglas. 2000.Principles of language learning and teaching ,p. 160).

Dornyei ,Zoltan. 1994. Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom. The Modern Language Journal,78(3), p. 273).

Gardner, R.C.& Tremblay.1994. On motivation , measurement and conceptual considerations. The Modern Language Journal,78(4),p. 524-7).

Harter, S.1981. A new self-report scale of intrinsic versus extrinsic orientations in the classroom : motivational and informational components . Development Psycology,17(3),p. 310-11) .

Keller, J.M.1983. Motivational design of instruction,p. 389).

Maslow,A.H. 1970.Motivation and personality ,2end edn.NewYork:Harper and Row. p. 52).

Williams.Marion & Bruden Robert.L .1997.Pcycology for language teachers , p. 120).




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