SCHOOL OF eDUCATION
Communicative Competence IV
Laura Mildrey Zapata Monsalve
Medellín, November 4th2011
Motivation plays a key role in theForeign English Students Learning Experience
All human beings have a set of motivations in their lives. Some of them are moved by studying and working; In contrast, others puttheir expectations in God, in a person, or in a goal.English Foreign Learning Students experience the influence of some factorsthatcould have a positive or negative effect on their experience of learning a new language.Some of those factors are: the autonomy students have to learn, and the teacher support. On the other hand,students’ motivation has some benefits that help them to have asuccessfullearning.Motivation plays a key role in the English students learning experience.
There is a set of influencing questions THAT brings us to understand what motivationis. A definition of motivation is going to be stated as well as some of its general influences over students.“Motivation is the thoughts and feelings we have which make us to do something, continue to want to do it and turn our wishesinto action (Spratt ,2005 : 38);” nonetheless, it is so difficult to achieve an action if a person does not have an impulse to do that. This wish could arise from community or personal interests. The latter, is clearly illustrated in the students’ learning language process;every momentthey are facing with the following influencing questions: “Why we decide to do something?How long we want to do itfor? How hard we are prepared to work to achieveit? (Spratt, 2005: 38)”. If they do not give answers to these questions,motivation starts to decrease. For example: a student of seventh grade needs to study the present simple tense; unless he has a meaningful learning, that is having a concrete reason to do it (if he likes the language or he is failing the subject), he possibly will not study it.***
Despite of being influencing by a set of external factors, there are two aspects that clearly affect the development of motivation in language acquisition: the learner autonomy and the teacher support.Spratt and others (2005) have defined the students’ independence such as “feeling responsible for and in control of our own learning”. This autonomy could only be successful carrying outpracticaland constant actions as active participation in classes and reading or watching news in the target language. ***
The first aspect, learner autonomy, demands maturity because the students needto look for opportunities to use the language as much as they can.The Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) gives some items that could help the students know their autonomy level: “Do I writenotes and messages in English?Do I try to think inEnglish? Do I start conversations in English? ”(SILL, No date). In order to effectively use this opportunities a great idea is to make a schedule which could include the active participation in English classes and conversation clubs, the achievement of homework, the responsible practice of new words, the reading of documents in the target language,etc. With these practical actions students will also have the opportunity to foster their skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing trough authentic material.
The second factor refers to teacher support. It is a fact that in a lot of cases during the classroom experience the teacher becomes a great support for his students. Sometimes students are unmotivated to learn due toeconomical,social orfamiliar - relatedreasons. Therefore, positive and encouragedteacher participation could beofgreat help to them. For instance, teachers could create“a pleasant and supportive atmosphere (Ngeow, no date)”, which producesan increase of the students’ motivation and at the same time let them learn in a practical way. This positive environment can be accomplished when the teacher accepts...