Teachers like you are always concerned about language acquisition theories, methodologies, textbooks, exercises and assessment. You attend courses and flicked the pages of books in search of new ideas and good class materials. You are highly motivated because you enjoy teaching, but are your students motivated too?

Motivation is an internal state or condition (sometimes described as a need, desire, or want) that serves to activate or energize behavior and give it direction (see Kleinginna and Kleinginna, 1981a).

Gardner (1982), in his socio-educational model, identified a number of factors which are interrelated when learning a second language in a structured classroom setting rather than a natural environment.

Garderner describes three elements in motivation. Effort, desire and affect. Effort refers to the time spent studying the language. Desire shows how much the learner wants to become proficient in the language, and affect illustrates the learner's emotional reactions with regard to language study. (Gardner 1982).

One of the causes students aren't motivated is because they have no reason to do their tasks. They are not part of a big picture and their opinions are not taken account.

As human beings, we need to know why. Little kids ask "why" and philophosers too. So one way to motivate your students is to create an inspiring vision, a dream.

Explore with them the benefits of learning a foreign language, the possibility of traveling and living abroad or getting a foreign student at school.

With the goal in mind, a desire to master the language, to understand a different culture and to be tolerant, show them the path to suceed i.e effort, everyday activities that provide not only practice and improvement in the language acquisition process but some reasons for doing the tasks as well.

Motivation In Action

Now it's time to maintain student interest through activities that have obtainable short term goals.

If you want them to write, ask them to write a review about the latest movie, book, software or PC game.
If you want them to ask questions, ask them to interview somebody they are interested in. Today it's not difficult to interview somebody via email.
If you want them to talk, ask students to gather info about a subject matter and create a video or audio to be published on a website.
If you want them to communicate in English ask them to chat with native speakers

These kinds of activities give students lots of opportunities to exchange ideas and use their English in a free environment,turning them into highly motivated successful students.

References

Ellis, R. (1997). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford University Press.
Finegan, E. (1999). Language : Its structure and use (3rd ed.). Harcourt Brace. Gardner, R.C., & Lambert, W.E. (1972). Attitudes and motivation : Second language learning. Newbury House.
Gardner, R.C. (1982). Language attitudes and language learning. In E. Bouchard Ryan & H. Giles, Attitudes towards language variation (pp. 132-147). Edward Arnold.
Widdowson, H. (1979) Explorations in Applied Linguistics

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