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Interest Enhancement

Interest enhancement is the motivational-regulation strategy that students use to regulate their motivation by increasing the immediate enjoyment or the situational interest of an academic activity or by increasing the relevance or meaningfulness of a task through linking it to their own life or their own personal interests. This strategy was used less by both high and low English achievers. However, only one subject in the high English achiever group mentioned this type of strategy.

My vocabulary is poor and I often make a lot of mistakes in doing the vocabulary-related exercises. Memorizing English words by reciting the new words in the vocabulary books is really boring. It is also difficult to memorize these words because they are isolated from the contexts. Therefore, I try to memorize new words by reading the passages. According to my purpose, I buy a book

in which there are a lot of interesting articles. In addition, the pages of the book are colored and beautiful. Therefore, my interest in memorizing new words was greatly increased by reading these articles with beautiful pages. (Subject 1)

The same motivational problem existed for the low English achievers. Two of the low achievers mentioned that one of the biggest problems in their English learning was that their vocabulary was poor. Because the vocabulary size was small, it was difficult for them to read or write. At the same time, they said that memorizing English words was boring and mechanical. They were often frustrated by memorizing new words because they were so easy to forget. However, when asked what they would do to make themselves continue memorizing words in this kind of situation, both of them said that they did not try to regulate their motivation and what they did was just to let things take their own course. One of them said that

I felt greatly frustrated when I tried to memorize new words because it was so difficult for me to memorize them. In addition, it was also so dull to memorize English words. Therefore, I did not feel like continuing to memorize the words. However, I thought this kind of phenomenon was common and normal, so I did not have the awareness to regulate my motivation to make myself keep working on vocabulary memorizing. When I did not want to do it, I just stopped. (Subject 5)

Another student (subject 6) in the low achiever group descried this kind of situation in his diary as follows:

Today I had an impulse to memorize English words, so I began to read A Learner’s Dictionary of CET-4 Vocabulary. When I tried to memorize the words, I found all the words were so similar. I was confused by so many new words and did not know how to memorize them. Therefore, I gave it up and had a nap.

Therefore, we can see that the same motivational problem that memorizing English words was dull and difficult existed for both the high and low achievers. However, their reactions to this motivational problem were different. The high achiever (Subject 1) tried to boost her interest in memorizing English words by reading passages in books with beautiful pages. In contrast, the low achievers (Subject 5 and 6) did not make any effort or even had no consciousness to deal with this motivational problem.

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