Studiu de specialitate – Motivation in learning English

Autor: prof. Vintilă Ovidiu Leonard
Colegiul Tehnic „Costin D. Nenițescu” Pitești

Learners’ motivation has become more commonly recognized as perhaps the major determining factor for successful learning in general, whether one is a high school student pushing one’s way through the battery of required courses needed to graduate, or an adult learner taking distance education courses. In any learning setting, the dynamics of motivation will be different. What will help a high school student sustain motivation may not apply to an adult learner, for example. Similarly, what factors affect and enhance learner motivation in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) setting (in our case) will differ as well. Furthermore, motivation for EFL learners in a middle school or high school class will differ from the experience of an EFL adult learner.
It is important to grasp the key concepts of motivation as they are understood in the realm of education. Motivation is an unconscious, psychological process that varies by individual over time. It is a social process which can be affected by past experiences and environment. According to psychologists, intrinsic motivation refers to a source of motivation which emanates from within the learner. Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation which is sourced by the expectation of a tangible reward. Ideally, the learner will have a healthy combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation working for themselves.
Teaching young learners requires knowledge of the developmental differences between children and teenagers and of the appropriate management skills. Differences include conceptual and cognitive variations, variations in attention spans and motor skills such as drawing and cutting, as well as social and emotional differences.
I noticed some students are highly motivated and excited about learning a foreign language. My main aim is to maintain this initial motivation and sustain their curiosity and interest so that they develop a real desire to learn the language. Having in mind what Jeremy Harmer stated about the factors affecting intrinsic motivation -physical conditions, method, the teacher and success, I have tried to put in practice some of the ‘teachings’ I got, and also to adjust them to the real conditions existing in my school, my personality and also my students’ age and level. (fragment)