К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007
Автор: Самойлова И.М.
Talking about motivation in
learning language I would like to begin with a definition of “learning” itself. Learning is conscious, or explicit knowledge about language. Learning is
developed; it is aided by the practice of error correction. Error correction
helps the learner come to the correct mental representation of a rule. In
everyday language, acquisition is “picking up” a language, while learning is
“grammar”, or “rules” . Learning language is a process that demands a lot of
efforts which should be supported by something that can help to achieve goals
of learning. I mean the significance of motivation as a contributing factor in
second language acquisition.
The term “motivation” is very
close to them who work with people and their main goal is to involve others in
some activities. I speak about educators and teachers. Especially it is hard to
work with children who do not understand yet why they should study and fulfill
different tasks even when they are too dull or difficult. Teaching adult
students is always easier on account of their understanding the purpose of
studies. They are motivated by the reason of having higher education
compulsory. There is a question: how can we motivate children as well as adult
students? I would like to take up this problem by the example of teaching
English as foreign language. It is directly connected with my professional
Talking about “motivation” and
its types, first of all we should give an accurate definition of this term.
Jacqueline Norris-Holt gives the following one: “Motivation is defined as the
learner’s orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language”.
In her article “ Motivation as a contributing factor in second language
acquisition” she tries to distinguish the basic types of motivation:
integrative and instrumental. Norris-Holt gives the following definitions of
“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.” In this
case that students are most successful when learning a target language are
those who like the people that speak the language, admire the culture and have
a desire to become familiar with the society in which the language is used. If
we take note of the situation from life there is an example: someone becomes a
resident in a new community (e.g. USA) that uses the target language (English)
in its social interactions. In this situation integrative motivation is a key
component in assisting the learner to develop some level of proficiency in the
language . It becomes a necessity to take part in all social interactions
and become one of its members. It is also theorized that “integrative
motivation typically underlies successful acquisition of a wide range of
registers and a native like pronunciation” .
If we pay attention to the
actual meaning of the term “integrative”, a more appropriate approach to the
concept of integrative motivation would be the idea that it represents the
desire of the individual to become bilingual while at the same time becoming
bicultural. It occurs through the addition of another language and culture to
the learner’s own cultural identity. Talking about our country we may say that
we are predominantly a multi-national country, consequently, there is a polycultural
society in Kazakhstan. As our country is one of the ex-Soviet republics, all
the cultures remain to be more collectivistic having a public language. Earlier
it was Russian but today, after getting independence, the country has its own
official language that coincides with the language of the indigenous. But still
Kazakh and Russian are the dominant languages in our country. Therefore,
opportunities to use the target (L2) language in daily verbal exchanges are
relatively restricted. There is also limited potential for integrating into the
target language community.
In contrast to integrative
motivation is the form of motivation called instrumental motivation. This is
generally characterized by the desire to obtain something practical or concrete
from the study of a second language . In this case the purpose of language
acquisition is more practical and necessary, such as applying for a job (it demands
to speak a foreign language), meeting the requirements for school or university
graduation, requesting higher pay based on language ability, reading technical
material, translation work or achieving higher social status. There is no need
to integrate socially into a community using the target language, and so, the
learner can stay in his/her country and using his/her second target language
just for commercial, practical purposes.
While both integrative and
instrumental motivation are essential elements of success, it is integrative
motivation which was found to sustain long-term success during learning the
second language . In one of the researches of Lambert and Gardner
integrative motivation was viewed as more important in a formal learning environment
than instrumental motivation. Later integrative motivation has continued to be
emphasized, although now the importance of instrumental motivation is also
stressed . However, it is important to note that instrumental motivation has
only been acknowledged as a significant factor in some research, whereas
integrative motivation is continually linked to successful second language
acquisition. It has been found that generally students select instrumental
reasons more frequently than integrative reasons for the study of language.
Those who support an integrative approach to language study are usually more
highly motivated and more successful in language learning .
Instrumental motivation can
prove to be successful in the situation where the learner is provided with no
opportunity to use the target language and therefore, no chance to interact
with members of the target group. Norris-Holt gives the following example:
instrumental orientation was more important than an integrative orientation in
non-westernized female learners of English as the second language in Bombay.
The social situation helps to determine both what kind of orientation learners
have and what kind is most important for language learning . Also in India,
where English has become an international language, it is not uncommon for
second language learners to be successful with instrumental purposes being the
main reason for study. Here I can draw a parallel speaking about Kazakh
language in our country. Being an official language it is becoming common for
second language learners (basically Russians) to be successful with
There is also possible a
combination of both orientations when international students reside in the
United States and learn English for academic purposes while at the same time
wish to become integrated with the people and culture of the community. Another
real example: a student went to Germany for half a year after graduating from a
university. His/her goal is German language improvement through the integration
with the community of this country. Both integrative and instrumental
orientations take place here.
So, we can say that motivation
is an important factor in the second language achievement. For this reason it
is important to identify both the type and combination of motivation that
assists in the successful acquisition of a second language. At the same time it
is necessary to note that motivation depends on situational factors most of
which are unique to each language learner.
Taking English as the most
popular foreign language in our country, we will try to observe language
learning in Kazakhstan. At schools English is studied for a purpose of teaching
the basic points of the language. Mainly, too much attention is paid to grammar
and translation. Therefore, the focus of what is taught at school is geared
toward passing entrance examinations. These exams include “a rigorous test of
grammatical understanding”  of the English language and complex passages to
translate. Such kind of exam demands good knowledge of extensive vocabulary and
grammatical structures. The focus of the exams is not directed toward the
speaking and listening skills of students. For this reason schools see no need
to prepare students for something that will not be examined. It can be
suggested that having to undertake such university exams is the main reason or
source of motivation for school students studying English. There is a small
number of schools that have a program proposing the more advanced study of
English. They are considered to be prestigious and serve a good guide during
the entrance exams at a university, especially for linguistic specialty. Even
at the university non-linguistic specialties like “management” are not supplied
with an effective program of English study.
There are only some linguistic
specialties at the universities of Kazakhstan, which can provide a student with
good knowledge of a foreign language, English in particular. Their most popular
of their best graduates are teachers of English and interpreters. First of all,
a foreign language achievement is the main goal of studying there.
In comparison with Western
countries, is less developed of learning foreign languages. As English is an
international language, it is studied in many countries at the same level as an
official language. Therefore, integrative motivation takes place there.
Turning back to our
educational system, we can say that the underlying motivation to study the
language is largely instrumental.
In order to make the language
learning process a more motivating experience instructors need to put a great
deal of thought into developing programs which maintain student interest and
have reachable short term goals . At university level this may include any
number of foreign exchange programs with other universities, overseas “homestay’
programs , or any other activities which may help to motivate students to
improve their target language proficiency. At the secondary school level, and
especially in the senior years, it is also possible to include exchange
programs like living in a foreign family for a definite period of time.
Involving students into different language programs like DAAD (supported by
Germany) gives an opportunity to visit this country and have courses of language
improvement there. It lets to liberalize, get new friends, and become
interrelated with a new community.
One more point of increasing
the motivation is creating interesting lessons. Teachers should gain the
students attention. This can sometimes be accomplished by the use of teaching
strategies. Encouraging students to become more active participants in a lesson
can sometimes assist them to see a purpose for improving their communication
skills in the target language. Successful communication using the target
language should result in students feeling some sense of accomplishment .
Sometimes teachers should
conduct classroom activities incorporating students’ interests and preferences.
Sakui, K. gives an example when one of the teachers captured student’s initial
attention by using stuffed animals or singer’s photos when introducing new
grammatical features, situations in which if they did not understand, they can
ask other friends nearby .
The use of an interesting text
can also help to increase the motivation level of students in the classroom.
Many “Russian” texts often contain material that fails to capture the interest
of students due to the heavy emphasis on vocabulary and grammar. Many foreign
texts often contain topics which can create a great deal of classroom
interaction and help to motivate students to develop their language skills. It
is important for the instructor to take advantage of such discussion topics and
help students to realize that, even though they may see no need to become proficient
in a second language, the study of another culture can only enhance their
perception and understanding of other cultures .
Instructional material such as
texts, lesson plans and extra-curricular activities should be designed to
target and to appeal to both clusters of motivation, the instrumental and
integrative cluster. In addition, to enhance a commitment to language learning,
the development of both motivation clusters should be encouraged . For
example, to increase learner’s interest in the second language culture, many
aspects of that culture can be presented through the use of videos, the web,
ethnographic interviews and classroom visitors. To help learners become aware
of the occupational benefits of learning a second language, courses that
emphasize business writing could be developed, along with programs that would
require learners to use their second language skills and interact socially and
cognitively in a professional business environment. Addressing the motivation
of learners may enhance their chances that they will develop higher levels of
language proficiency .
we continue our talk about motivation we can touch upon one more classification
that distinguishes the following two types: extrinsic and intrinsic. Howe
explains them in a very simple way. “Money provides an external or extrinsic
reward for an activity. In contrast, internal or intrinsic rewards are more
closely connected to the activity itself.” Such rewards include interest in the
task itself and the enjoyment that a person gets from doing something out of a
sense of curiosity. Quite often an activity is both intrinsically and
extrinsically motivated, as when people work at improving a skill partly they
enjoy it and partly because they enjoy the success it brings .
person perceives control to be internal when he believes that events or
outcomes depend on his own behavior or personal characteristics, such as
ability . High levels of intrinsic motivation are characteristic of learners
who are mature and truly independent. At school, a student who is used to
getting plenty of attention and praise may function perfectly well as a
learner. But after leaving school, if that person has become too independent on
those kinds of external support he or she may be reluctant to take up new
learning challenges, simply because the old incentives are not longer present.
It makes sense to encourage learners to be motivated less by “extrinsic”
factors, like praise, approval, and financial rewards, and more by internal or
“intrinsic” ones that are closely connected to whatever is being learned. In
other words, “a person is said to perceive events as being externally
controlled if his believes them to be caused by factors that are beyond his
control, such as luck, fate or the actions of other people .
it is true that intrinsic motivation may eventually come to play a big role in
sustaining a person’s learning or study activities, in the early stages of
learning something new and unfamiliar it is unlikely that internal motivation,
on its own, will be enough to provide adequate incentives. Often, it is only
when a certain level of competence has already been reached that an activity
becomes interesting for its own sake. Especially for a young and immature
learner, praise and encouragement may do much to help an individual reach that
extent to which a person desires to do well influences their activities, and
consequently their degree of success . This source of influence has been
systematically investigated in research that began with some studies undertaken
by a psychologist named David McClelland, who investigated achievement
motivation . He defines it as “the desire to perform well and reach high
standards”. In other words it means that everyone wants to do well and strives
to achieve. However, there are substantial differences between individuals in
the strength of their achievement motivation . Children who try to succeed
often become adults who are equally motivated to do well. It doesn’t mean that
children inherit a given level of motivation. It can be acquired as a
consequence of a person’s early experiences. Howe and Michael state that
“achievement motivation tends to be strong in young people whose parents have
been warm and supportive, have given their children plenty of rewards and
encouragement, who have encouraged their children to be independent, outgoing
and self-reliant, and to make their own decisions”. But just encouraging
independence and self-reliance is not enough, especially when parents fail to
give their child enough support or often criticize his/her undertakings. For a
good result there should be “a combination of encouragement for independence
and self-reliance with plenty of help and support”.
about school education David Ausubel suggest at least three components of
achievement motivation. The first is cognitive drive that “refers to the
motivational effects of a learner finding a task interesting, or relating to
the individual’s need for competence” . In this case the motive for becoming
involved in the activity is intrinsic to the task itself. The second component
of achievement motivation in the classroom is an ego-enhancing one. Here
we can talk about learner’s feelings to such concepts like “status,
self-esteem, being adequate and having success” . Ausubel maintains that
these factors can motivate learning, but indirectly, through events that are
external to the actual learning task, such as high marks, praise and rewards.
Although these factors motivate indirectly they have a positive influence on
learning. Anyway, they depend on other people, they do not make a contribution
to the individual student’s independence and self-control as a learner . The
third component is “affiliative that is directed towards bringing a
person the approval of others” . It can be seen in actions, which are
designed to win the admiration of other individuals. Each of the three
components of achievement motivation, cognitive, ego-enhancing and affiliative,
can vary in both strength and direction. Their relative strengths change as
children get older. In young children, for instance, the affiliative drive is
very strong, and the attention of adults is important for them. That is one
reason for the success of those behavior modification techniques for classroom
management in which the teacher’s attention is contingent on good behavior. In
older children, the need for the teacher’s attention is less strong, and
consequently such techniques are considerably less effective. For the older
child, the attention and approval of other pupils is likely to be at least as
important as the teacher’s attention .
back to university students we can suggest that one of the most important
drives of their motivation is the cognitive one. They are quite adult people
who have made their choice in life. Students realize the fact that they enter
the university for the purpose of getting knowledge that could be applied in
their future. They do not need to be unmissed as the best students who have won
the admiration of their classmates.
to these concepts, teachers should always remember that age-related changes
play a big role in achievement motivation. They serve as keys to motivation
development, and a teacher should use them in an appropriate way.
now it is clear that “in speaking of motivation one is not referring to one
single influence on learning” . It is a whole range of influences that can
have various kinds of effects, depending on the circumstances. The
relationships between motivation and learning are not always straightforward: a
reward that provides an effective incentive for one kind of person on one set
of circumstances may be less effective in different circumstances. For
instance, although the praise and encouragement of adults is often helpful for
children, particularly with new and unfamiliar activities, it can have negative
effects when introduced in conjunction with activities that are intrinsically
different factors can affect the incentive value of a particular motivational
influence. These include the individual’s personality, age, and developmental
stage, and various aspects of learning situations such as their perceived
familiarity and difficulty .
language learning motivation has mainly been studied as a trait, as part of
students’ personality. Students may be integratively, instrumentally, or even
cognitively oriented towards language study. Less research has been done in the
actual learning situation, although it would be reasonable to assume that
students’ motivation and attitude can best be affected in the classroom. The
learning process can be made enjoyable. Learning activities, instructional
materials, and even individual tasks can motivate students . Teaching and learning
can have both motivating and demotivating components. Teacher can modify
his/her lessons and the teaching process as a whole. In the classroom context,
motivation can be seen as a continuous interaction process between the learner
and the environment. It can be conceptualized both an impulse arising from the
organism and as an attraction arising from an object outside the individual
1. Frank A.Morris.
Language Learning Motivation for the Class of 2002: Why First-year Students
Learn English. Puerto Rican High School, USA, 2002.
H.A.J., Michael J.A. A Teacher’s Guide to the Psychology of Learning. UK, 1999.
3. Howe H.A.J.
Principles of Human Learning and Abilities. Psychology Press, 1998.
Norris-Holt. Motivation as a Second Factor in Second Language Acquisition.
5. Kyosti Julkunen.
Situaton- and Task-Specific Motivation in Foreign Language Learning. University
of Joensuu, Finland.
6. Sakui, K.
Motivation in Language Learning: From Teachers’ Perspective. New Zealand.
7. Stephen D.Krashen.
Applications of Psycholinguistic Research to the Classroom.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2007