Motivation and self regulating strategies of a successful intermediate student of english

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UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CÓRDOBA
FACULTAD DE LENGUAS
MAESTRÍA INTERINSTITUCIONAL EN INGLÉS
TEORÍAS DE LA ADQUISISCIÓN DE UNA SEGUNDA LENGUA
PROFESORES: SUSANA LIRUSO/ANA LÍA REGUEIRA
JULIO 2010

MOTIVATION AND SELF REGULATING STRATEGIES OF A SUCCESSFUL INTERMEDIATE STUDENT OF ENGLISH
AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Introduction

Motivation is regarded as an essentialelement of every teacher’s teaching practice. However, this is an issue that poses a problem on a daily basis in the classroom. Ample research has suggested different ways of motivating students to learn; however, it is only recently that researchers and educators have started to concentrate on the classroom. Self-regulated learning refers to the processes by which individual learners attempt tomonitor and control their own learning. This paper intends to describe the motivation and self-regulating strategies of a successful adult English language learner on the basis of an interview and regular observation. The focus is on four aspects: (i)description of the learner´s self-regulatory system and self-motivating strategies, (ii)identifying the sources of the strategies, (iii) finding a linkbetween the self-regulatory system (including self-motivating strategies) and the manifestation of its elements (behaviour).
The following research questions guided the study:
(1) What strategies does this successful student use to motivate himself and regulate his own learning?
(2) What are the sources of these self-motivating strategies?
(3) How does using these strategies shape the student´slanguage learning?

Theoretical background

MOTIVATION
Motivation has been associated with and studied in connection with several factors in language learning over the years. It has traditionally been researched with quantitative methods, usually focusing on the antecedents of the construct, and/or linking it to the linguistic outcome. This has changed in the past fewdecades. This change of perspective has been called the ‘educational shift’ (Dörnyei, 1998, 2001b) and is concerned with the necessity of focusing more on the classroom to understand motivation in context as most learning takes place in that environment in most countries. This shift has also resulted in a new view of the teacher’s role in the classroom: his/her motivational force has become thefocus of attention, and the techniques or strategies used to motivate his/her students have also sparked interest ( Dörnyei, 1994a).
Comparing Gardner’s (1985) early conceptualisation of motivation, which defined motivation in terms of effort, goals, and favourable attitudes, to Dörnyei’s (1994a) tripartite system (language level, learner level, learning situation level), it isapparent that the latter embraces more components such as the advances in achievement and attribution theories of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic factors, the concept of self-efficacy, and context-specific issues. Self-efficacy, which is one’s belief in one’s capabilities to exercise control over actions (Bandura, 1977, 1994), influences behaviour in a variety of ways. People with higherself-efficacy set higher goal challenges, they have higher commitment to these goals, they attribute their failures to insufficient effort instead of lack of cognitive abilities, they consider themselves capable of carrying out action, and they do not withdraw from action in the face of difficulty (Bandura, 1994).
According to Kuhl (2000), motivation depends on the self-system of theindividual. Kuhl (1981, 1984), in the belief that even high self-efficacy or motivation might not be enough for the individual to launch action, included self-regulatory processes in his motivation theory, the Theory of Action Control. This theory holds that self-regulatory abilities are necessary to enact intentions, and that strategies play a crucial role in the actions to take place....
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