Identifying Problem Areas and Teaching Solutions Concerning Individual ESL Differences; Motivation and Attitude Nicole Lowe, Monica Johnson-Parkhill, and Jana Grissom What is motivation? Motivation is an impulse that causes one to act in a certain way. It is a dynamic system that changes within a given day and time. Motivation is an extremely affective factor. Without it, learning any language, first or second, would be difficult, if not impossible. Two Classes of Motivation Gardner distinguishes between two important classes of motivation. Language learning motivation and classroom motivation. For our purposes we will be focusing on language learning motivation; which, is more stable and consistent due to the presumed antecedents, but it is amenable to change. Classroom learning motivation is influences by many factors including class atmosphere, course content, materials and facilities, as well as the personal characteristics of the student. Instrumental and Integrative Motivation Saville addresses two forms of motivation in language learning. Instrumental and integrative motivation stem from different reasons and desires to learning a second language. Instrumental motivation involves acquiring a second language for purely practical purposes, such as increasing occupational or business opportunities, enhancing prestige and power, accessing scientific and technical information, or just passing a course. Integrative motivation is based on a desire to learn the language or to associate with people who use it. Both types serve the learner with some form of motivation; which, is found to be significant in achieving the acquisition of a second language. Why is motivation important for ELLs? Motivation is important for ELLs because it has been frequently cited to explain why some L2 learners are more successful than others. Motivation has been related to cognitive constructs, thoughts, values, and beliefs. If students have a strong belief in their abilities they will be more successful at learning and acquiring a second language. Richard Clement (1994) has extended the applicability of self confidence by showing that it is also a significant motivation subsystem on foreign language learning situations. What does past and present research say about it? Past and present research has consistently found connections between students’ attitudes and motivation to their achievement in language acquisition. Beginning in 1941 Jordan tested a group of boys in England to measure their attitudes in relations to their success in five different subject areas. The five subjects tested were French, mathematics, history, English, and geography. The correlation between the attitude measure compared to the achievement measure was the second highest in French. Motivation Research In 1974 Duckworth and Entwistle conducted a similar student on grammar school students of different levels. For this group of students there were nine subjects tested including chemistry, history, geography, biology, English, physics, mathematics, Latin and French. They study concluded a correlation among two different groups of subjects. The subjects o mathematics, physics, chemistry and French had a much higher level of correlation between attitude and achievement. What do our course experts say about motivation? Saville-Troike ◦ “Motivation largely determines the level of effort which learners expend….and it is often a key to ultimate level of proficiency.” Snow & Fillmore ◦ “Vocabulary acquisition happens most easily in context and related to topics that children care about. The teacher’s responsibility lies mainly in setting up exposure to language in a vivid way and encouraging reading of material that children care about.” ◦ Teachers must be careful when grouping children. “Those who have been in low group classes behave precisely as one would expect….: They are poorly motivated, low achieving, and less enthusiastic about school….” Spada and Lightbown ◦ “…feedback that comes during communicative interaction may have a positive effect on motivation.” ◦ There is little evidence that learners object to being corrected during communicative activities. Thus, teachers should integrate the acquisition of meaning and form when teaching language. What do our course experts say about motivation? Ellis ◦ It is the teacher’s responsibility “…to ensure that their students stay motivated, and they should not complain that students do not bring motivation to the classroom.” ◦ “Teachers can enhance intrinsic motivation of students by improving the quality of teaching, especially by increasing the clarity of instruction. This could mean explaining concepts using simple instructions or teaching at the right pace…not too fast or too slow.” ◦ If teachers provide positive feedback, students feel successful and naturally gain motivation to continue learning. Therefore, teachers MUST find ways to motivate students! How does motivation relate to math & science education? Motivation relates to ALL subjects. The key is in what our course experts advise: ◦ Teachers need to relate learning to what students care about (Snow & Fillmore) ◦ Teachers need to be clear in their instructions and proceed at the correct pace (Ellis) ◦ Teachers need to give positive feedback to students (Spada & Lightbown) What can other experts add to the math/science discussion? “Using ESOL strategies to scaffold…instruction will enable English language learners to learn better by increasing their level of interest and motivation in the content you teach. Human nature is such that most people show little interest in things they can’t or don’t understand. Even if initially interested, most learners react to not ‘getting it’ by simply turning off and tuning out. Feelings of interest quickly give way to feelings of frustration.” (Reiss) What can other experts add to the math/science discussion? “Instead of blaming the students for their lack of motivation, teachers need to ask…: What form of norms, values, beliefs, and expectations are being conveyed through spoken and unspoken messages in class every day? How are immigrant students made to feel about their capabilities and possibilities for success? Does the climate of the class make students feel capable, valued, challenged, and supported? Are they continuously being provided with opportunities for development of their conceptual, academic, and linguistic capabilities?” (Walqui) What can other experts add to the math/science discussion? “Course specific motivational components… Relevance…refers to the extent to which the classroom instruction and course content are seen to be conducive to achieving the goal…” (Dornyei, 1994) “Tactics for teachers seeking to motivate students… ◦ Tell students you care for them, and that your high standards for them are the highest from of caring. ◦ Demonstrate that you value creativity and individual awareness. ◦ Show students you care for them by watching carefully for individual differences; recognize which students will ask for help and which will not, who is afraid, or who wants no help at all. ◦ Help students distinguish between…(good stress) and unwarranted pressure. ◦ Listen to students’ opinions about classroom occurrences they deem unfair, teaching practices that bore them, or the ideas that would benefit the whole group.” (Diaz-Rico) Motivation directly affects an ELL’s attitude and ability to overcome challenges in learning a second language. Use ESOL strategies to scaffold instruction ◦ Prevents feelings of frustration ◦ ELL’s become more interested in content when they are able to understand it better ◦ Increases ELL’s motivation, attitude, learning, and language acquisition (Reiss, 2005) Educators need to incorporate elements from many theoretical approaches in their classroom intervention strategies to address the challenges of motivation for the needs of each individual ELL. (Zwiers, 2008) Get to know ELL students, their families, and their social background. Synthesize the underlying reasons for the ELL’s willingness to engage in classroom learning activities. “The difficulty lies in determining the appropriate classroom interventions for a particular teaching context, education system and curriculum and in transforming theory into everyday classroom practice.” (Tsiplakides and Keramida, 2010). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voPWNosxltQ Three strategies to increase the motivation of English Language Learners: 1. 2. 3. When an ELL student is struggling with an intrinsic motivation due to the negative attitudes of society toward their 'non-standard' language, then educators should teach the ELL student to read using the 'standard' language and accept the ‘non-standard’ spoken language. “Teachers should be encouraged to have an attitude of acceptance of 'non-standard' language varieties and speakers of such varieties" (Roos, 2013). Scaffolding instruction also helps ELL students develop feelings of self-confidence. The more they believe in themselves as learners, the better learners they actually become. One success leads to many others and the ELL will grow as a learner, both in content knowledge and in English language ability. (Reiss, 2005) Providing group work rather than individual work encourages cooperation but also lessens the ELL’s concerns about protecting their self-worth. (Tsiplakeides& Keramida, 2010) Motivation/Attitude Strategy Negative attitude from society toward their ‘nonstandard’ language Teach the ELL student to read using the 'standard' language and accept the ‘non-standard’ spoken language. (Roos, 2013) Lack of Self-Confidence Scaffold Instruction, one success leads to many others. (Reiss, 2005) Protecting Self-Worth Group work encourages cooperation. (Tsiplakeides& Keramida, 2010) In Conclusion Researchers have found direct correlations between the attitudes of students and their achievement in mathematics and science. Educators need to: Take account of the individual differences of each ELL. Implement appropriate strategies Nurture positive ELL attitudes Increase motivation in the classroom through: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Atmosphere Course content Materials Facilities Personal characteristics of the student. References Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed.). Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters LTC. BERStaffDevelopment. (2011). Maximize the active participation and language learning of ell students, grades k-5. . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voPWNosxltQ Diaz-Rico, L. T. (2004). Teaching english learners: Strategies and methods. Boston, MA: Pearson Education. Dornyei, Z. (2009). Motivation in second language and foreign language learning. Cambridge Journals, 31, 117-135. Ellis, R. (2008). Principles of instructed second language acquisition. Center for Applied Linguistics, , 1-6. Fillmore, L.W. & Snow, C.E. (2000). 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