ISSN-2231 0495

Volume 1 || Issue 2

Role of Motivation for Second Language Learning


Role of Motivation for Second Language Learning

Dr. Suman Dalal
Khanpur Kalan


A persistent problem faced by many English teachers, especially the non-specialists, is the attempt to sustain genuine interest in continuing to learn English and to use the English language once the examinations are over. Teachers have to create a healthy balance between preparing students for the standardized examinations and for life-long language skills. One solution is to develop a continuous program which includes an integrated in-class and out-of-class language activities that help to nurture students’ language skills. Within the program, an environment, which is rich with language input, is thus provided. The program requires the retraining of in-service teachers who are provided with a framework within which they can apply new techniques in language teaching. This article is a theoretical study of the integrative and instrumental motivational factors related to second language learning.   In addition, this article focuses on four key aspect- meaning,types &characteristics of motivation and the role of the teacher in English learning. Finally, this theoretical study gives special emphasis to the role of the teacher in the context of learners’ motivational levels.


The famous proverb "Don't give your students fish, but teach them how to fish" is perhaps true in language teaching. But how do we go about teaching them the language skills so that they become more interested in learning the language? Also how do we maintain their interest in language learning when English is not seen as important for their immediate needs other than to pass the examinations?

Often, English language teachers who subscribe to the behaviorist approach to language teaching adopt the Audiolingual Method (ALM) or Direct Method which focus on forms and accuracy of the students output or performance. Thus, many teachers are found drilling the students with continuous grammatical exercises especially at the primary school level. Despite exposure to training in the communicative approach, many teachers still avoid practicing the approach because the communicative component, i.e. oral communication makes up only ten percent of the exam score on the English test. In other words, many teachers are more interested in training students how to read and write well in addition to teaching students to master the grammar component of the language.

Although the drill-and-practice approach has some advantages in language teaching, it however does not help the students to master the language in the long run. Often, we find students who become good test-takers, and yet they are not able to speak and write competently when they graduate from high schools. What is more important is that teachers realize that given an environment (in rural areas) where the English language input is limited and non-conducive to learning the target language, teachers need to find creative ways to teach the language and increase the student's motivation to learn the language and to eventually appreciate the language. Undoubtedly, possessing some knowledge about various language teaching methodologies are crucial, but it is more important for teachers to know what the most appropriate approach to teaching the language in that particular environment is and what activities are suitable for a given group of learners.

Based on our general observation of language teaching in schools, teachers tended to ignore the importance of such factors as positive self-concept, high self-esteem, positive attitude, clear understanding of the goals for language learning, continuous active participation in the language learning process, and the relevance of a conducive environment that could contribute to the success of language learning. In most cases, teachers are worried about how to drill the students to obtain high scores on the English paper in the examination. The problem for many English teachers, especially the non-specialists, is how to encourage genuine interest among students to continue to learn and use the English language once the examinations are over. The question that needs to be addressed is how do teachers create a healthy balance between preparing students for the standardized examinations and for life-long language skills.


The term motivation in a second language learning context is seen according to Gardner (1985) as ‘referring to the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity .’ 

Hence, the abstract term ‘motivation’ on its own is rather difficult to define.  It is easier and more useful to think in terms of the ‘motivated’ learner: one who is willing or even eager to invest effort in learning activities and to progress.  Gardner and Lambert (1972) introduced the notions of instrumental and integrative motivation. Instrumental motivation refers to the learner's desire to learn a language for utilitarian purposes (such as employment or travel or exam purposes) in the context of language learning. On the other hand, integrative motivation refers to the desire to learn a language to integrate successfully into the target language community. In later research studies, Crookes and Schmidt (1991), and Gardner and Tremblay (1994) explored four other motivational orientations:

(a) reason for learning,

(b) desire to attain the learning goal,

(c) positive attitude toward the learning situation, and

(d) effortful behavior.

Many theorists and researchers have found that it is important to recognize the construct of motivation not as a single entity but as a multi-factorial one. Oxford and Shearin (1994) analyzed a total of 12 motivational theories or models, including those from socio-psychology, cognitive development, and socio-cultural psychology, and identified six factors that impact motivation in language learning:

  • Attitudes (i.e., sentiments toward the learning community and the target language)
  • Beliefs about self (i.e., expectancies about one's attitudes to succeed, self-efficacy, and anxiety)
  • Goals (perceived clarity and relevance of learning goals as reasons for learning)
  • Involvement (i.e., extent to which the learner actively and consciously participates in the language learning process)
  • Environmental support (i.e., extent of teacher and peer support, and the integration of cultural and outside-of-class support into learning experience)
  • Personal attributes (i.e., aptitude, age, sex, and previous language learning experience)

Based on this brief discussion, we believe that teachers are able to drive the students to learn the language and to sustain students interest in language learning if they can provide activities that are:

  • interrelated between in-class and out-of class language activities
  • communicative (game type) integrative (short/small activities form larger activities)
  • pleasant, safe and non-threatening
  • enthusiastic
  • group-based
  • meaningful or relevant
  • challenging

These activities helpto promote:

  • self-confidence
  • experiences of success
  • learning satisfaction
  • good relationships among learners and between teacher and students

Types of motivation

Gardner and Lambert (1959, 1972) have done pioneering work to explore the nature of motivation specific to language study.  Gardner highlights two different types of motivation

  • Instrumental motivation: the desire to learn a language because it would fulfill certain utilitarian goals, such as getting a  job, passing an examination, etc.
  • Integrative motivation: the desire to learn a language in order to communicate with people from another culture that speak that language; the desire is also there to identify closely with the target language group.

Instrumental motivation vs Integrative motivation

A distinction has been made in the literature between ‘integrative” and ‘instrumental’ motivation: the desire to identify with and integrate into the target-language culture, contrasted with the wish to learn the language for the purpose of study or career promotion.  Gardner and Lambert (1959, 1972) showed that success in a foreign/second language is likely to be lower if the underlying motivational orientation is instrumental rather than integrative.  But research since then has cast doubt on the application of this claim to foreign language learners in general.  In any case, at least one other study (Burstall et al., 1974) has indicated that it may be impossible in practice to distinguish between the two. (Penny Ur (2005) A course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.p.276).

Another distinction, perhaps more useful for teachers, is that between ‘intrinsic’ motivation (the urge to engage in the learning activity for its own sake) and ‘extrinsic’ (motivation that is derived from external incentives).

Characteristics of motivated learners

The author of a classic study of successful language learning (Naiman et al.,1978)

came to the conclusion that the most successful learners are not necessarily those

to whom a language comes very easily; they are those who display certain typical

characteristics, most of them clearly associated with motivation.:

    • Positive task orientation
    • Ego involvement
    • Need for achievement
    • High aspirations
    • Goal orientation
    • Perseverence
    • Tolerance of ambiguity

Role of the teacher in second language learning

In the second language classroom environment, what undoubtedly influences learners’ learning outcomes is their interpretation of interpersonal teacher behaviour.  So, in language learning, the teacher plays the main role and helps to remove the biggest language learning obstacles from his/her learners, and creates conditions conducive to language learning success.A successful facilitator should therefore ask questions such as these:

  • What things puzzle my learners?
  • What issues concern them?
  • What problems or traits do they wish I could help them solve?

A good teacher or facilitator should listen to his/her students with empathy, and provide them with the support that they so greatly need.

Suppose, you're standing in front of a class of students who are just plain ignoring you.  How can you motivate the children and get them back "into" your class?  One sure-fire way to get your students to be motivated is to offer then small prizes or treats to do the task at hand.  Oh yes!  You will have a class full of highly motivated, participating children.  They might even learn something from the activity.  However, by giving the children prizes and treats to motivate them you'll end up with an empty pocketbook and a class full of students who are only motivated for the material prize, not because they want to learn (which means they probably aren't getting much out of the activity in the first place).  There are many other ways to motivate your students and you won't have to keep a stash of "prizes" in your classroom to do it. Following are the ways:
Be More Than Just a Teacher

No matter what your class demographics are, there is one sure way to motivate your class into participating:  Get them interested in you as their teacher and the interest in your subject matter and class activities will soon follow.  
You're not just a teacher, you're a person too.   Sometimes children tend to have the mentality that teachers are just teachers.  They exist in school and nowhere else.  However, if you let them see you as a person and not just a teacher, you might see a change in how they react to your class and class activities.  If they respect you, they will respect the class and be motivated to participate in whatever it is you have for them to do.  Of course, that is so much easier said than done.  Here are some things you should think about when trying to figure out how to show your human side:
Keep Yourself Motivated
Think back to what classes you like best and why.  If the teacher was bored and didn’t make the subject interesting, then the children often didn't like the class either.  To keep yourself motivated, change your activities to things that you are excited about.  If you’re not excited and motivated about the activities you have planned for your students, it’s time to get some new ones.
Be an Individual
Don't be afraid to talk about your interests outside of school.  Look for commonalities between you and your students and capitalize on them.  For example, if you like the same types of music as a lot of your students, bring in some CD's and let them listen to music when they are working on projects.  Make sure the words are in English so that the children can take in some English language into their subconscious.
Have fun and be silly
Seriously.  Talk in a crazy voice or be daft and make them wonder what you'll be up to next.  Some teachers frown upon the idea of playing the clown and having fun because they think it is time-wasting and that it is not their role to be an entertainer.  If it is not in your personality to be a big kid, then you cannot fake it, and that is OK.  If you use fun games and ideas your classes will still be enjoyable.  However if you are a big kid at heart then you will find that joining in, playing with the children and generally acting up and being enthusiastic will come naturally to you and is all part of the fun of teaching.  It is not clowning around for the sake of it, it servers to keep a fun and happy learning environment, and this alone can motivate your students.  If your children can laugh with you, and if they LIKE you, they'll be interested in what you're doing up there in front of the class.
When you're frustrated with your class because they don't seem interested in participating, it's quite easy to forget that even when they do something small, you need to keep encouraging and to stay positive. The number one way to demotivate children is to have a negative or neutral attitude.  If the children do not feel encouraged and good about learning then they will not feel motivated to learn.
Make your students Active Learners
Think back to when you were in school.  Did you like to sit at a desk and listen to the teacher drone on and on.  This type of passive learning is BORING and demotivating.  Active learning doesn't mean the children need to by physically active throughout the class period – it just means that you design your class period around having them actively participate in the learning process.  There are lots of things you can do:
Play Games
Implement games that have the same outcome that you might have them reach by doing a worksheet.  For example, if you might normally give them a worksheet to write the correct verb next to the picture illustrating the action, have them instead practice their verbs by doing the action for the word you say or the word on a card that you hold up.  Likewise, you could do the action and have them write down the word.  You may access free samples of fun classroom games in the resource box below.
When you play games, you can use points and competition as a motivator, but not for kids under six who may find the competition too stressful.  For them, just playing the game is motivating enough.  You can also sometimes award extra credit, but use it sparingly so that it remains "extra" and a special reward.  Also if you use it too much, children can have so much extra credit that it sways the actual grades too much.  
Get Them Moving
Movement is a vital component to motivating children.  The best way to prevent children from zoning out is to get them up out of their seats at least once each class period.  Even if you just require them to come up to you instead of you going to them for help, the movement can help get them out of the trance that they sometimes get from sitting in one spot too long.  Grouping the children for study projects and activities helps as well.  If you can, let them move the desks around or sit on the floor to change things up as well.  Many games involve movement without the children needing to leave their seats, such as miming, moving certain body parts and passing things around as part of a game or race.  Therefore even teachers with large classes and no space to move can use this technique, albeit to a more limited degree.  
Get Their Hands "Dirty"

Well, not literally, but the more hands-on activities you can do the better they will learn and the more likely they will stay interested in the activity.  If you're talking about the words to describe fruit, have each student bring in a piece of fruit and use the fruits in games.  It is much more motivating and effective to be handling real objects, or learning with pictures than copying down lists of words from the board. If you are discussing how to put a sentence together, have them construct their own sentences (alone or with a partner) and write them on the chalkboard.  You can also intentionally make mistakes to encourage them to look for the "right" way.  If you do this you should warn the children so that they are on the look out for your deliberate errors, otherwise you could do more harm than good.   
Stick to a Schedule
Creating a schedule for your students help them know what to expect in the class and will help them stay organized as well which will lower the frustration level for children who sometimes struggle in school.  It is very difficult for frustrated children to stay motivated.  If they know that every Friday is a vocabulary quiz, then they won't have to wonder on Thursday if they were supposed to study last night.  If they have weekly assignments due on every Wednesday, then you don't have to spend the majority of the class time reminding them that the weekly assignment is due.  This schedule should be clearly explained to the children as well as posted in the classroom.
You can also have a mini-schedule that outlines how each class period will go.  For example, each class period you might do vocabulary exercises and games for 15 minutes and then move on to the main activity of the day.  It also helps children if you post a daily "plan" on the chalkboard so they know what will be expected of them each day when they walk into the classroom.
Variety is the Spice of Life
With that all said, it's also important to change things up within the schedule.  For example, if you spend the first 10 or 15 minutes each day doing vocabulary activities, make sure you vary these activities so they don't get boring and stay motivated.  If you see that the children of one class don't respond to an activity, avoid it in the future and stick to the ones they like.  It's also important to realize that some groups of children will be motivated by certain activities that the next group of children will literally detest.  For example, one group might really like role playing activities while another group would rather have a tooth pulled.   
Another way to create variety is to keep changing the pace.  Play a game that wakes the children up and follow it with a calm game so that the students do not get too excited.  Then play a fast game so the children do not become so calm that they start to become restless and misbehave or drift off.
Give Them Options
If you spend long periods of time with your class, or if you have a mixed ability class and have to split your teaching time between groups, then the following ideas may help when the children have some free or unsupervised time in your class.  Having a collection of fun learning activities for them can motivate children that like to waste time and be a time-filler for children that like to make trouble.  
Get a variety of activities for the children such as educational board games, crossword puzzles, art projects… anything that they can learn something from that they would also find fun.  For older kids, you can make a competition to complete a packet of activities to get extra credit points or put them on a team to be the first to complete a series of tasks.
If you have a facility where you can send children to watch a film in English that would be most beneficial.  Otherwise have suitable English reading material such as comics, or teenage magazines about cars for the boys and dating and makeup for the girls!  If discipline is a problem then the children will have to work individually at their desks in silence, but at least they will be engaged in the activity.
One Last Idea… This really motivates younger classes of children up to age 12, but it can work with all ages.  Plan an end of the term program so the children can show off what they've learned to their parents and anyone else who attends the program.  You can do it right in the classroom and have the children play games, recite poems, whatever you can come up with to have them showcase what they've learned to their parents.
Because this is such a successful strategy you can even put on two performances, one in the assembly hall in front of the whole school, and one in front of the parents, perhaps in the evening or immediately after school.  You should find that your head of school is very open to this as it gives him or her an opportunity to show off too!  
So, there you have it.  There are lots of ways you can motivate your students to WANT to learn and to pay attention without bribing them with tangible gifts that become more important to them than learning the material.


  • Elkind, D. 1970. Children and Adolescents: Interpretative Essays on Jean Piaget. New York: OUP.(p.66)
  • Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold (p.10).
  • Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
  • Gardner, R.C., & Lambert, W.E. (1959).  Motivational variables in second language acquisition. Canadian Journal of Psychology: 13.
  • Krashen, S. (1975). The critical period for language acquisition and its possible bases. In D. Aaronson and R. Reiber (Eds), Developmental psycholinguistics and communicative disorders (P.66).New York: Newy York Academy of Sciences (pp.220f).
  • Soanes.C.( Ed) (2004) The New Pocket Oxford Dictionary ,New Delhi: Oxford University Press.(pp.587)

The Study Of Concept Development Of Environment In The Students Of Grade-I

The Study Of Concept Development Of Environment In The Students Of Grade-I

Dr. Rajnish Pandey
Department of Education
MIT,Dhalwala: Rishikesh


The primary education is the foundation of life and higher education (Pandey, 1987). The pre childhood provides much of scope to interact with the peer group children, family members, older members and the components of surroundings. The process enables the individual child to react, experience and construct his own knowledge and understanding. The neighbour and the surroundings have enough from which the child can drive useful and valuable education to practice for future accomplishment.

The present study is another attempt to study the process of concept development about the environment constituted by the various natural phenomena and components- living and non-living. The child picks up the usable from where it is available (Vivekananda). The question booklets consisting 30 items were prepared for class-I and used over 120 students of the three Govt. Primary schools (60) and three private primary schools (60). The data thus collected were tabulated, central tendencies were estimated, percentage of the items was calculated and objectives with the hypothesis were verified and tested.

This is a humble effort made by the investigator. The study may not be totally a new, but certainly reveals many contextual concept developments, constructing knowledge and understanding to the extent possible by the students of Class-I. It is hoped the study will interest to the readers, if they do not mind about the drawbacks of the study.

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Relevance Of Total Quality Management In Higher Education


Dr. Brinda Bazeley Kharbirymbai
Assistant professor
Department of Education,
NEHU, Shillong


The concept of Total quality Management (TQM) was developed by an American, W. Edwards Deming, after world war-II for improving the production, quality of goods and services. This concept was adopted by the Japanese in 1950 for restructuring after the world war-II.TQM also relates very much with the Japanese word ‘’Kaizen’’ which means continuous improvement.

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