Student motivation.

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Student motivation

A frameworkOne useful framework for talking about motivation posits that there are two main kinds: extrinsic motivation, which stems from a desire for an external reward, and intrinsic motivation, which consists of learning for personal reasons as an end in itselfResearch has shown that students in ESL versus EFL classrooms can be characterized as having different levels ofmotivation.

EFL intrinsic motivation can be low, and English may not seem relevant to the students since it is not part of their daily lives. In many cases, they may be required to study English for a test or because it is a compulsory part of the curriculum.

In an ESL classroom, students are likely to have a higher intrinsic motivation because English is relevant to their daily lives. Bybeing in the target language community, they have more opportunity to use English and see immediate results from using it. By contrast, many of my EFL students lack the opportunity to experience English in their daily lives, and, although they may want to learn it for the same reasons as those of ESL students, their motivation level can suffer when application in daily life is minimal. Children canbe content to study English for its own sake if learning it is fun and engages them. Many older students, especially EFL students, may not care if they learn English.

These include helping students see the uses for English in their lives. By tuning in to what the students are interested in, the teacher can help them direct their own learning, pursue their preferred learning style, or simplytalk about what they want to talk about.

As Brown (2001) observed, if learners have the opportunity or desire to learn language for its own sake, such as to become competent users of that language, they will have a higher success rate in terms of long-term learning than if they are driven by only external rewards.

Activity selection.

In an ESL classroom, the teacher can use the multilingualnature of the class as a resource in a variety of ways. I have observed students gain a sense of confidence when they talk about something about which they are authorities, such as their own country. They can also do presentations to teach classmates about their culture. Students are often quite eager to participate in such presentations.

Selecting EFL activities.

The teacher must deal withthe fact that the students are probably not receiving any significant exposure to English outside of the classroom. The teachers need to maximize fluency practice, getting the students to use the language as much as possible in class and reducing emphasis on accuracy. mphasis on accuracy. To this end, teachers need to be judicious in their selection of speaking activities to ensure that studentswill use English.


Students working in pairs Survival. Students working in pairs are asked to choose six out of ten people from a list to be the last survivors on earth. They must discuss the qualities of each candidate, compare their importance, give opinions on the candidates, and reach a consensus. When their selection is completed, students compare their choices with those ofanother pair.

Criteria for selecting EFL classroom activities

To best elicit English from students in an

EFL monolingual class, an activity ought to:

• have a visible, clear, and compelling objective.

• have English use built into the logic of the activity.

• Not be too cognitively demanding to manage in English.

• be interesting to the students.

To meet these criteria, Ioften use games in which the rules require students to accomplish a task by speaking English only. When the element of competition is introduced, tension is heightened by the urge to win. The students seem willing to play by the stated rules; they are motivated to use English because they are given a compelling reason to do so. I have heard teachers say of this preference for games that students...
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