MOTIVATION FOR ENGLISH
WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
- The word "motivation" is typically defined as the forces that account for the arousal, selection, direction, and continuation of behaviour. Actually, it is often used to describe certain sorts of behaviour. A student who studies hard and tries for top grades may be described as being "highly motivated", while his/her friend may say that he is "finding it hard to get motivated". Such statements imply that motivation has a major influence on our behaviour.
- Motivation can be defined as a concept used to describe the factors within an individual which arouse, maintain and channel behaviour towards a goal. Another way to say this is that motivation is goal-directed behaviour.
Motivation in the Classroom with eTwinning
- Motivation has long been a major problem for most teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) or as a foreign language.
- Motivation in the ESL classroom is easily one of the most important factors, most students have low motivation to learn English. In addition to that, while most of them have a vague sense that whether "English will be useful for my future" or not, they don't have a clear idea of what that means, nor is that a very strong motivator; it's too vague and too far off.
- The first step in tackling the problem of motivation is that the teachers need to understand and appreciate the role and importance of motivation in any learning. In the context of second language learning, William Littlewood (1987: 53) observes:
- In second language learning as in every other field of human learning, motivation is the critical force which determines whether a learner embarks on a task at all, how much energy he devotes to it, and how long he perseveres. It is a complex phenomenon and includes many components: the individual’s drive, need for achievement and success, curiosity, desire for stimulation and new experience, and so on. These factors play a role in every kind of learning situation.
- “Student motivation is influenced by both internal and external factors that can start, sustain, intensify, or discourage behaviour” (Reeve, 1996).The teacher has to activate these motivational components in the students but that is the precise problem. How can it be done in every class everyday?
We believe that eTwinning can be a good solution to this issue and can help students to understand better the need of the English for their future. eTwinning can be the solution to motivations as we have seen in our project. Many students wanted to speek and take part in conversations and record the videos in English, even the most weaks.
In eTwinning projects motivation is aroused by the opportunity to have a real context in which to use the language: they need to communicate with their peers in order to get organized and finalize their project. Furthermore, there is curiosity in knowing about the other, particularly during video calls, which is an important drive for teeenargers.
GAME PLAY AND MOTIVATION
Games can greatly support learning in many ways. First thing they provide a motivation, be it for the rewards you get in the game, such as points, badges and so on; and also for the fun it gives to you, which leads you to never want to stop playing (what game sociologists would call "flow"). This latter type of motivation, also called intrinsic motivation, is what we want to stimulate through games. If applied to learning, intrinsic motivation will make you a life-long learner.
In our use of Minecraft as a game platform we decided not to assign badges or points to the teams, rather we wanted to create a desire to play just for the fun of it and the reward you can get by seeing your project there, real, though in a virtual world. This was the type of motivation that we managed to arise in our students.
Minecraft, furthermore allowed them to "do" things, which is an important aspect for teeanagers. Doing means to solve problems and deal with the constraints of the game, thus developing the abilities needed for critical thinking and resilience."Doing", in the project meant also use English as a foreign language to "make agreements" and "make movies" of the built projects.
So, thanks to eTwinning and online collaboration we allowed out students to "learn by doing", which is always the best way to get familiar with the domain you want to master, in our case a foreign language.