The students’ behaviors in classroom have gained the attention of thousands of teachers, psychologists, scholars, and researchers. They all tried to reach an answer for the question: why should unmotivated students behave like that? Regardless of the positive or negative effects of such behavior in the classroom, there must be some reasons behind such behaviors and some remedies should be considered.
The students who obviously have no interest or motivation to learn in classroom have no belief in academics and think that learning is useless and worthless. When teachers face a case where many students are unmotivated, they know from the very beginning that they will go through a tough year in that class. Nevertheless, a wise teacher can get use of many strategies and tactics to turn the students into a strong belief in their teachers and the process of learning, and this is what the researcher of the present paper tries to find out.
Statement of the Problem:
Teachers of English usually complain about unmotivated students in the classroom due to numerous reasons among which may be psychological, cultural, or social. Thus, teachers should search for the most effective strategies taking into account their own perceptions to find more suitable strategies to motivate students to learn English and overcome any problems the students may face.
Purpose of the Study:
The study is an attempt to diagnose the most effective strategies that lead students to learn English. Consequently, the study will be a good source for teachers to find and follow the appropriate strategies according to their environment that enable them to direct students to learn English smoothly and to respond to teachers’ instructions and directions.
The research is an attempt to answer the following questions:
– Can teachers establish some more solid strategies to be followed to change the behavior of unmotivated students to be motivated towards learning English in the classroom?
– What are the most effective strategies?
– Are these strategies feasible?
The present study is a descriptive study which depends basically on mixed methods approach that was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data in the context using the literature review and consulting well experienced teachers in some of universities in Erbil manipulating their examples about the topic to be analyzed and to reach a clear understanding about the most important strategies that can be so effective in motivating students to learn English as a second language in the classroom.
To understand the problem comprehensively, we have to have a rapid review of the literature of the subject and some related topics.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is the reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation is also one’s direction to behavior, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behavior. An individual is not motivated by another individual. Motivation comes from within the individual (Wikipedia, 2018). Al-Shihri (2017: 46) thinks that “Motivation plays a significant role in the L2 learning process, leading many researchers to investigate strategies which can generate and maintain students’ motivation in English as foreign language (EFL) classrooms. Dörnyei and Ottó (1998:65) add a further important element in their definition of L2 motivation:
‘the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritized, operationalized, and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out’.
Brown defines motivation as “an inner drive, impulse, emotion or desire that moves one toward a particular action” (1987, 117). A considerable amount of research has shown that motivation is critical for second/foreign language learning due to its direct influences on how much effort students make, their level of language proficiency and how long they preserve and maintain second language skills after finishing the study of a language (Trang; Baldauf, 2007). In the same way, motivation provides language learners the energetic force needed to continue in a lengthy learning process. Meanwhile, cognitive skills in the target/ second language are not a warranty that a learner/ student can successfully master a second language. As a matter of fact, in many instances, students with greater second/foreign language learning motivation achieve better marks and better proficiency in the target/ second language (Wu ; Wu, 2009). Regardless of how efficient and effective the curriculum is, and regardless of how high capacity or intelligence an individual has, without satisfactory motivation, even individuals with exceptional academic potentialities are unlikely to be successful in achieving long-term ends (Brown, 2000).
Learner’s motivation is one of the key factors that define successful achievements in learning a second language. Researchers on motivation discovered that motivational strategies that teachers practice can efficiently impact learners’ motivation toward learning a second language (Fives ; Manning, 2005). In 2001, Dörnyei introduced more than 100 motivational strategies in his manuscript, Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. These motivational strategies could be classified into four groups: creating the basic motivational conditions, generating initial motivation, maintaining and protecting motivation and rounding off the learning experience (encouraging positive self-evaluation). The idea of all these strategies is based on the notion that teacher’s behavior and beliefs considerably impact students’ motivation to learn a second language. Accordingly, strategies of motivating language learners should be viewed as a crucial aspect of motivation toward learning a second language. For this reason, a number of research studies built up and summarized motivational methods for teachers in classroom application.
Lightbown and Spada (2006: 57) asserts that if teachers can make their classroom places where students enjoy coming because the content is interesting and relevant to their age and level of ability, where the learning goals are challenging yet manageable and clear, and where the atmosphere is supportive and non-threatening, we can make a positive contribution to students’ motivation to learn.
Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Motivation
Cherry (2018) explains that intrinsic motivation involves ‘engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward’. Examples of actions that are the result of intrinsic motivation include:
– Participating in a sport because you find the activity enjoyable
– Solving a word puzzle because you find the challenge fun and exciting
– Playing a game because you find it exciting
In all these examples, the individual’s behavior is motivated by an internal desire to take part in an activity for its own sake. Basically, the own reward is itself the behavior.
Cherry (2018) also adds that “extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment”. The following are some examples of behaviors that are the result of extrinsic motivation:
– Studying because you want to get a good grade
– Cleaning your room to avoid being reprimanded by your parents
– Participating in a sport to win awards
– Competing in a contest to win a scholarship