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Action research in the language classroom: Motivating teenage learners. Carolyn Leslie (British Council). Why motivation is complex. Why people decide to do something How long they are willing to sustain the activity How hard they are going to pursue it
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Action research in the language classroom: Motivating teenage learners Carolyn Leslie (British Council)
Why motivation is complex • Why people decide to do something • How long they are willing to sustain the activity • How hard they are going to pursue it • Language learning involves social and cultural issues.
Four theories of motivation in SLA • Tremblay and Gardner’s revised model • Linguistic self-confidence • Attribution theory • Self-determination theory
Common themes • Goal-setting • Learner autonomy • Self-confidence
Goal Setting • Elementary level • Individual, group, long or short term • Language or behaviour goals • Clear, specific, measurable • Initially set goals for students • Challenge themselves
Short term goals • When and how much English to use • Number of new words to record in vocabulary records • Number of questions to ask/answer • Listening to others
Self- confidence and learner autonomy • Self assessment/teacher assessment • Comparison to previous achievements • Praise • Focus on improvement • Lack of success • Learning strategies improve self-confidence
Questionnaire results • 77% agreed or strongly agreed they spoke more English because they set goals for speaking. • 69% agreed or strongly agreed that trying to achieve the goals helped them improve their English. • 92% agreed or strongly agreed that self-assessment was useful because it helped them think about what they did in class each week. • 92% agreed that comments from the teacher gave them more confidence to try harder in class.
Comments in answer to open questions. • Setting goals gave me an objective and made me think more about speaking English. • When I focus on my goals I take a more active role. • When I try to achieve my goals I know my difficulties better and try to improve. • Self assessment is useful because I know what I do well and not so well and can improve next lesson. • I spoke more Portuguese when I didn’t set goals.
Conclusion • Advantage of being teacher/researcher • What motivates one student may not motivate others • Work in progress