Home Language & Literature Motivational Regulation in Foreign Language Learning
Help Learners Self-regulate Their motivation
Motivation has been consistently regarded as a critical determinant influencing FL learning. Scheidecker and Freeman (1999, p.116) comment that motivation is “the most complex and challenging issue facing teachers today.” FL teachers and educators have been trying to find out how they can motivate their students. However, past research mainly focused on the motivational strategies FL teachers can use to motivate their students. Little attention was given to how the teachers can help students themselves sustain or increase their motivation, especially when they encounter motivational problems during English learning. Self-regulation of motivation has been regarded as an important aspect of SRL and may have an impact on academic achievement. Further, the present study found that motivational regulation was an important factor influencing EFL learning process and achievement. This study found that Chinese EFL college students used a variety of strategies to regulate their motivation to deal with motivational problems presented in English learning. Motivational-regulation strategies used by the students influenced their cognitive engagement and English achievement. Therefore, the findings provide us with the experimental evidence about the importance of students’ self-regulation of their motivation. According to these findings, teachers should not only try to motivate students but also help students to self-regulate their motivation.
Teachers should help learners establish the awareness of regulating their motivation when they do not feel like working on the tasks that they are required to accomplish. The qualitative case study revealed that the low English achievers lacked the consciousness to regulate their motivation and they just let things take their own course. Therefore, teachers should try to raise students’ awareness of using motivational-regulation strategies, for example, through lectures and discussion. Additionally teachers can offer learners help in how to regulate their motivation. Students’ use of regulatory strategies related to motivation might be fostered through classroom instruction and student-teacher interactions. Motivational-regulation strategies may be incorporated into classes designed to improve students’ study skills. There is in fact evidence that students’ use of some of these strategies can be increased through well-designed instructional interventions (e.g., Foersterling, 1985; Graham, Harris, & Troia, 1998; Zeidner, 1998). Teachers can try to understand the motivational problems encountered frequently by students and offer strategies students can use to regulate their motivation according to these problems. Teachers can also help students find their own strategies to deal with different motivational problems in different situations. At the very least, teacher responses to students’ complaints about the irrelevance, difficulty, or boredom of classroom tasks might provide some indication about how teachers expect students to overcome motivational difficulties.
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