К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007
Автор: Ларина М.В.
The aim of the present article
is to find out the significance of motivation as a contributing factor in
Project work. This article offers a general overview of available research
literature, followed by some pedagogical implications to improve and develop
Learning foreign languages is
a long and complicated process. There is no question that learning a foreign
language is different from learning any other subject. This is mainly because
of the social nature of such a venture. Language, after all, belongs to a
person’s whole social being: it is part of one’s identity, and is used to
convey this identity to other people. The learning of a foreign language
involves far more than simply learning skills, or a system of rules, or
grammar; it involves an alteration in self-image, the adoption of new social
and cultural behaviors and ways of being, and therefore has a significant
impact on the social nature of the learner (Williams, 1994: 77).
Speaking about the interaction of motivation
and Project work first of all we should define the main terms, what Project
work means, and how it differs from simple learning. In recent years,
increasing numbers of language educators have turned to project work to promote
meaningful student engagement with language and content learning. Through
project work, learners develop language skills while simultaneously becoming
more knowledgeable citizens of the world. By integrating project work into
content- based classrooms, educators create vibrant learning environments that
require active student involvement, stimulate higher level thinking skills, and
give students responsibility for their own learning. When incorporating project
work into content-based classrooms, instructors distance themselves from
teacher- dominated instruction and move towards creating a student community of
inquiry involving authentic communication, cooperative learning, collaboration,
According to Diana L.Fried-Booth (2002)
Project work is a source of inspiring ideas from a variety of contexts, clearly
presented, within a framework that responds to important issues in modern ELT
pedagogical practice from a humanistic perspective.
Project work provides a wide variety of
immediately accessible ideas for projects inside and outside the classroom.
Project work has been described by a number of language educators, including
Fried-Booth (2002), Haines (1989), Legutke (1984, 1985), Papandreou (1994),
Sheppard and Stoller (1995), and Ward (1988). Although each of these educators
has approached project work from a different perspective, project work, in its
various configurations, shares these features:
The primary characteristics of project work
1. Project work focuses on content
learning rather than on specific language targets. Real-world subject matter
and topics of interest to students can become central to projects.
2. Project work is student
centered, though the teacher plays a major role in offering support and
guidance throughout the process.
3. Project work is cooperative
rather than competitive. Students can work on their own, in small groups, or as
a class to complete a project, sharing resources, ideas, and expertise along
4. Project work leads to the
authentic integration of skills and processing of information from varied
sources, mirroring real-life tasks.
5. Project work culminates in
an end product (e.g., an oral presentation, a poster session, a bulletin board
display, a report, or a stage performance) that can be shared with others,
giving the project a real purpose. The value of the project, however, lies not
just in the final product but in the process of working towards the end point.
Thus, project work has both a process and product orientation, and provides
students with opportunities to focus on fluency and accuracy at different
Projects can also differ in data
collection techniques and sources of information as demonstrated by these
project types: Research projects necessitate the gathering of
information through library research. Similarly, text projects involve
encounters with "texts" (e.g., literature, reports, news media, video
and audio material, or computer-based information) rather than people. Correspondence
projects require communication with individuals (or businesses,
governmental agencies, schools, or chambers of commerce) to solicit information
by means of letters, faxes, phone calls, or electronic mail. Survey projects entail creating a survey instrument and then collecting and analyzing data from
"informants." Encounter projects result in face-to-face
contact with guest speakers or individuals outside the classroom
Projects may also differ in the ways that
information is "reported" as part of a culminating activity. Production
projects involve the creation of bulletin board displays, videos, radio
programs, poster sessions, written reports, photo essays, letters, handbooks,
brochures, banquet menus, travel itineraries, and so forth. Performance
projects can take shape as staged debates, oral presentations, theatrical
performances, food fairs, or fashion shows. Organizational projects entail the planning and formation of a club, conversation table, or
conversation partner program.
Project work, whether it is integrated
into a content-based thematic unit or introduced as a special sequence of
activities in a more traditional classroom, requires multiple stages of
development to succeed.
A Teacher puts the following
1. To encourage students to
use language to learn something new about topics of interest.
2. To prepare students to
learn subject matter through foreign language.
3. To expose students to
content from a variety of informational sources to help students improve their
academic language and study skills.
4. To provide students with
contextualized resources for understanding language and content.
5. To simulate the rigors of
academic courses in a sheltered environment.
6. To promote students' self-reliance and
engagement with learning.
After being introduced to the theme unit
and its most fundamental vocabulary and concepts, the teacher introduces a
semi-structured project to the class that will be woven into class lessons and
that will span the length of the thematic unit. The teacher has already made some
decisions about the project. For example it can be debates. To stimulate
interest and a sense of ownership in the process, the teacher will work with
the students to decide on the issues to be debated. To move from the initial
conception of the project to the actual debate, the teacher and students follow
Step I: Students and teacher agree on a
theme for the project
To set the stage, the teacher gives students
an opportunity to shape the project and develop some sense of shared
perspective and commitment.
Step II: Students and teacher
determine the final outcome
The teacher has already
decided that the final outcome, for example, between two fictitious political
parties. In this second stage of the project, students take part in defining
the nature and format of the debate and designating the intended audience.
Step III: Students and teacher
structure the project
After students have determined
the starting and end points of the project, they need to structure the
"body" of the project. Questions that students should consider are as
follows: What information is needed to complete the project? How can that
information be obtained (e.g., a library search, interviews, letters, faxes,
e-mail, the World Wide Web, field trips, viewing of videos)?
Step IV: Teacher prepares
students for the language demands of information gathering
It is at this point that the
teacher determines, perhaps in consultation with the students, the language
demands of the information gathering stage (Step V). The teacher can then plan
language instruction activities to prepare students for information gathering
Step V: Students gather
Students, having practiced the
language, skills, and strategies needed to gather information, are now ready to
collect information and organize it so that others on their team can make sense
Step VI: Teacher prepares
students for the language demands of compiling and analyzing data
After successfully gathering
information, students are then confronted with the challenges of organizing and
synthesizing information that may have been collected from different sources
and by different individuals.
Step VII: Students compile and
With the assistance of a
variety of organizational techniques, students compile and analyze information
to identify data that are particularly relevant to the project. Student teams
weigh the value of the collected data, discarding some, because of their
inappropriacy for the project, and keeping the rest.
Step VIII: Teacher prepares students
for the language demands of the culminating activity
At this point in the
development of the project, instructors can bring in language improvement
activities to help students succeed with the presentation of their final
products. This might entail practicing oral presentation skills and receiving
feedback on voice projection, pronunciation, organization of ideas, and eye
contact. It may involve editing and revising written reports, letters, or
bulletin board display text.
Step IX: Students present final
Students are now ready to
present the final outcome of their projects.
Step X: Students evaluate the
Although students and
instructors, alike, often view the presentation of the final product as the
very last stage in the project work process, it is worthwhile to ask students
to reflect on the experience as the last and final step. Students can reflect
on the language that they mastered to complete the project, the content that
they learned about the targeted theme, the steps that they followed to complete
the project, and the effectiveness of their final product. Students can be
asked how they might proceed differently next time or what suggestions they
have for future project work endeavors. Through these reflective activities,
students realize how much they have learned and the teacher benefits from
students' insights for future classroom projects.
Content-based instruction and
project work provide two means for making foreign language classrooms more
vibrant environments for learning and collaboration. Project work, however,
need not be limited to content-based language classes. Language teachers in
more traditional classrooms can diversify instruction with an occasional
project. Similarly, teacher educators can integrate projects into their courses
to reinforce important pedagogical issues and provide trainees with hands-on
experience, a process that may be integrated into future classrooms of their
own. Teachers in foreign language settings have already proven that with
adaptation and creativity, the project approach can be successful and rewarding
for teachers and students alike.
Motivation and Motivational Factors
Now we should find out the
importance of motivational factors for successful Project work. But what is
“motivation”? This word derived from a Latin word meaning “to move”. In common
usage motivation refers to a driving force that moves us to a particular
action. Motivation can affect the nature of an organism’s behavior, the
strength of its behavior, and the persistence of its behavior.
Motivation cannot be separated
from reinforcement and punishment; we are motivated to perform a behavior to
gain (or to avoid losing) a reinforcer or to avoid (or escape from) a punisher.
Some reinforces and punishers are obvious, such as food or pain; others are
subtle, such as smiles or frowns.
“Motivation” is defined in the terms put forward by Crookes
and Schmidt (1991): “interest in and enthusiasm for the materials used in
class; persistence with the learning task, as indicated by levels of attention
or action for an extended duration; and levels of concentration and enjoyment”.
They also identify motivation as a learner's “orientation with regard to the
goal of learning a second language” (Norris-Holt, 2001, p.2).
Keller (1983) presents an
instructional design model for motivation that is based upon a number of other
theories. His model suggests a design strategy that encompasses four components
of motivation: arousing interest, creating relevance, developing an expectancy
of success, and producing satisfaction through intrinsic/extrinsic rewards.
Gardner defined motivation as the learner's orientation with regard to the goal of
learning a second language. Motivation is divided into two basic types:
integrative and instrumental. Integrative motivation is characterized by the
learner's positive attitudes towards the target language group and the desire
to integrate into the target language community. Instrumental motivation
underlies the goal to gain some social or economic reward through L2 achievement,
thus referring to a more functional reason for language learning. Both forms of
motivation are examined in light of research which has been undertaken to
establish the correlation between the form of motivation and successful Project
work. Motivation does not only affect the selection and
conceptualization of a specific goal in the beginning of an activity. Its main
role is in controlling and directing an activity. In directing and coordinating
various operations towards an object or goal, motivation transforms a number of
separate reactions into significant action. Learners build object-directed
means-end structures, such as tasks, plans, projects, intentions, and
is a large body of research focused on different motivation theories. We can
innumerate such theories as Behavioral, Cognitive, Cognitive Developmental,
Achievement Motivation, Psychoanalytic, Humanistic, Social Cognition and
a behavioristic perspective, motivation is seen in very matter of fact terms.
We act to achieve further reinforcement. Our acts are likely to be at the mercy
of external forces.
cognitive terms, motivation places much more emphasis on the individual’s
decisions, “the choices people make as to what experiences or goals they will
approach or avoid, and the degree of effort they will exert in that respect”
constructivist view of motivation places even further emphasis on social
context as well as individual personal choices (Williams and Burden, 1997).
It is the general
psychological definition of motivation, but what is its role in particular
process – Project work?
The role of motivation in Project work
Project work is potentially
motivating, stimulating, empowering, and challenging. It usually results in
building student confidence, self-esteem, and autonomy as well as improving
students' language skills, content learning, and cognitive abilities.
Where there is no, or low,
motivation in a student there is little or no learning. Paradoxically, where
student motivation is high, students can overcome most difficulties, many
deficiencies (in the teaching process) and some disasters.
The best projects undoubtedly
result from real interest and enthusiasm on the part of the student.
Traditionally it might be expected that intrinsic motivation is not a problem
for students in higher education, and, indeed, for many this is still the case.
For them, project work is frequently very enabling where previously their
performance may have considerably exceeded the expected standard, with projects
they can achieve as highly as they wish(Roberts, 2000). However, it is
recognized increasingly that, as the number of students in higher education
grows and as the range of abilities broadens, project supervisors must be more
proactive in helping students to find the motivation to perform to the best of
Although individuals are
different, students' motivation is often related to feeling that what they are
doing is valued by others and feeling a sense of partnership with the person,
or people, for whom the work is being done. So, although extrinsic motivators
(such as awarding a prize for the best project and other types of rewards) may
have an impact, they are likely to focus students' efforts on earning the rewards
rather than on learning and achievement. Rather, the best work is likely to
result from students being able to motivate themselves intrinsically. That is,
each individual should find personal satisfaction in achieving whatever it is
they set out to do.
Motivation may be addressed at
several points in the cycle of learning. Keller (Keller, 1983) identifies four
particular points. Students' motivation can be affected by their Interest in the work, their perception of its Relevance, their Expectation that they will succeed and their Satisfaction in their achievement.
It is important to distinguish
un-motivation, which may be associated with remarks such as "What's the
point of doing a project?" (Interest and Relevance) from
de-motivation, which may result from difficulties experienced while undertaking
the current project, or may be the residual effect of prior experience of
project work (Expectation and Satisfaction).
Un-motivation may be associated with the
degree program as a whole rather than just the project component and this can
be difficult to overcome. However, projects can represent an opportunity for
individuals to exercise more control over their work, particularly in terms of
the scheduling and location of work and sometimes even in terms of choice of
subject matter and methods to be used as well. Projects can, therefore, be a
real opportunity to help individuals get motivated.
De-motivation is a likely, perhaps
inevitable, consequence of failure to match the requirements of the project to
the abilities and skills of the student: if the project is either too hard or
too easy motivation will be lost quickly. Similarly, it is important that
students understand at an early stage in the project the nature and range of
the demands that they will face. Many students will become demotivated if the
demands of the project turn out to be at odds with their expectations. And,
otherwise, the teacher should create a friendly atmosphere in the class because
one of demotivating factors is bad relationships between a teacher and a
In attempting to create an
environment which helps to stimulate intrinsic motivation a key issue is that giving
students more control over their work means that staff have less control.
For example, involving students in the choice of project topic may help their
motivation but it may also lead to staff working outside their areas of
expertise. This may have implications for both the quality of supervision and
the willingness of staff to take on supervisory responsibilities.
Similarly, it may be construed
as motivating to allow students to determine the schedule for handing-in
interim deliverables. This would allow students to take ownership by deciding
when to work on the different aspects of the project requirements, but it necessarily
means that staff work around the schedules devised by individual students. This
will make it difficult for staff to plan their own work schedule and may bring
project supervision into conflict with other aspects of staff workloads.
Clearly, it is necessary to
balance staff and student control but achieving the optimal balance is
Un-motivated students are
likely to have made themselves known in other parts of the course but
de-motivation can be related to some aspect of the task in hand. Students
become de-motivated for different reasons, and often the reasons relate to the
individual's perception, rather than the reality, of how the project is going.
Measures to cope with de-motivation must address the cause and this means that
supervisors must be adept in identifying the real reasons for de-motivation
(these may not be the most obvious or even those given by the student) and then
tailoring strategy and tactics to the needs of the individual.
Indeed, used indiscriminately,
measures to improve motivation may do more harm than good. For every student
motivated by competition, for example, there may be one (or more) students who
are turned-off completely (Lepper, 1988). Publishing student work may spur some
students to ensure that it is of high quality, but for others this is an
unnecessary extra pressure. There will always be some students who just do not
respond to the invitation to negotiate aspects of their project.
Helping students to motivate
themselves is very difficult because there is no panacea; one size does not fit
all, and matching ideas and approaches to individual students is a key skill
for teaching staff generally and for project supervisors in particular.
Further, in attempting to stimulate intrinsic motivation teaching staff can do
no more than serve as a catalyst: individual students eventually must take
responsibility for their own motivation.
Project-based Learning allows
teachers to create tasks whose complexity and openness mimic problems in the
real world. Students can see the interdisciplinary nature of these tasks, and
see that each task may have more than one solution. Students who have the
freedom to choose different strategies and approaches may become more engaged
in the learning process, and these students will be more likely to approach
other problems with an open mind.
In addition, students who are
involved in creating the project assignment or the project checklist gain
valuable experience in setting their own goals and standards of excellence.
This gives students a sense of ownership and control over their own learning.
Learners have the added opportunity to identify related sub-topics and explore
them in a project-based scenario. Teaching with the project-based method
enables students to work cooperatively with peers and mentors in a
student-centered environment where learners are encouraged to explore various
topics of interest. Projects that have depth, duration, and complexity will
challenge students and motivate them towards construction of knowledge. They
will acquire problem-solving, communication, collaboration, planning, and self-
evaluation skills. After completing a project, ask students to create a
self-evaluation of the project. This enables the students to focus on their
learning process and allows them to see their progress. Self-evaluation gives
students a sense of accomplishment and further instills responsibility for
Learners who can see the
connection between a project-based task and the real world will be more
motivated to understand and solve the problem at hand. Students enjoy learning
when learning makes sense. Project-based Learning lends itself to many
disciplines. It provides learners the opportunity to have a voice in how and
what they learn, while building intrinsic motivation towards problem-solving.
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007