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Luciano mariani language learning motivation - a multi-dimensional competence


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If we accept the idea that motivation is neither a natural gift nor the result of fortuitous circumstances, then we can start seeing this important aspect of (language) learning as a competence to be developed through systematic intervention. In order to do this, we need to view motivation as a multi-dimensional factor which encompasses psychological, social and contextual issues.
This paper will examine some of these dimensions, starting from the network of interpersonal and sociocultural relationships which include the classroom culture, the school and family backgrounds, and the larger community and societal identities. The features of the learning tasks, which teachers set in the classroom, and their impact on the “will and skill” to learn will then be discussed. Finally, I will consider the influence that personal values, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes have in shaping an individual’s identity as a language learner, with particular reference to the causal attributions that are used to explain positive or negative outcomes.
Theoretical perspectives on language learning motivation will be backed up by “voices from the classroom”, i.e. students’ statements - the results of surveys carried out in Italian upper secondary schools in the past few years.

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Luciano mariani language learning motivation - a multi-dimensional competence

  1. 1. Language learning motivation:a multi-dimensional competence Luciano Mariani TESOL Rome 2011 © Luciano Mariani –
  2. 2. What about Yes, butmotivation? motivation…It’s all very well, but if you lack motivation…
  3. 3. The elements which define the learning/teaching process are the following:• exposure … to the target language;• opportunity for language use …;• motivation to respond to the previous two conditions. (C. Brumfit)
  4. 4. Transfer of proficiency between languages will occur provided there is adequate exposure to the language (either in school or environment) and adequate motivation to learn.(J. Cummins)
  5. 5. Given motivation, it is inevitable that a human being will learn a secondlanguage if he is exposed to the language data. (P. Corder)
  6. 6. Motivation … 3. as the interplay between task value and expectancy of success 2. as part of a language 1. as a learner’s multidimensional, identity dynamic competence
  7. 7. Voices from the classroom … from surveys carried out in Italian upper-secondary schools
  8. 8. Motivation … 1. as a multidimensional, dynamic competence
  9. 9. A multi-dimensional competence I can say I’m living a positive experience in this class thanks to my friends and my school results… but especially my friends … thanks to them every morning I find the motivation to get up and come to school, where every day with them is a treat.(Barbara, 17)
  10. 10. A multi-dimensional competence The wish to be happy. You can’t be happy if you never do well at school, first because you become the teachers’ target, and then because you get scolded at home …(Enrica, 15)
  11. 11. A multi-dimensional competence You need to work in a good environment, have a good relationship with teachers and be supported and encouraged by your family.(Mario, 17)
  12. 12. A multi-dimensional competence What prompts me to study is … above all the fact that if I look at the world of work today I see it hard and tiring and far off from me. That’s why I try to study as best as I can so that I can get good results and, who knows, a good job.(Francesco, 17)
  13. 13. families – communities - society school class “a social arena” tasks
  14. 14. A situated, contextual competence
  15. 15. A dynamic process Yes, I didn’t like this subject at the start, but then, by doing my homework regularly, I started to like it.(Gisella, 16)
  16. 16. A dynamic process …complex unpredictablenon-linear
  17. 17. A dynamic process The thing that strikes memost is the fact that, despite all the maths that I learned at school, I’ve somehow managed to go on loving maths. (… Albert Einstein!)
  18. 18. Motivation … 2. as part of a language learner’s identity
  19. 19. Motivation and identity L1 L2 Ln …
  20. 20. The “classic” opposition in language learning motivationinstrumental integrative
  21. 21. Identity: instrumental motivation Learning a foreign language is like … making doing something useful, an because you can use a effort foreign language, you can to pass speak it, not like, for my instance, maths, which is exams of no use to me in my free time(Aldo, 15) (Gabriella, 17)
  22. 22. Identity: instrumental motivationLearning a foreign language is like … something new which making a you can use at any long-term time, the imaginary investment passport to travel (Giuliana, 15) (Pino, 15)
  23. 23. Identity: a range of instrumental motivationsexternal regulation ------- interiorization
  24. 24. people are motivated by a wide range of different,even conflicting, reasons, which make up their individualmotivational profiles
  25. 25. How much In how manymotivation differenthave I got? ways am I motivated?
  26. 26. Identity: integrative motivation Learning a foreign language is like … being able to feeling at home become “a wherever you go … foreigner” feeling like a real and being Englishman, considered German, as such Frenchman, etc.(Daniele, 15) (Simone, 17)
  27. 27. Identity: integrative motivation Learning a foreign language is like … changing my enter the logic and nationality, frame of mind, first therefore I of the people who should know a speak the language, language and then of the perfectly language itself(Paola, 16) (Elena, 18)
  28. 28. Identity: integrative motivation ideal native speaker competence unrealistic expectations?
  29. 29. Motivation and identity Learning a foreign language is like … becoming being playing various roles, another two interpreting a person, people character, changing almost at the one’s voice and way changing of thinking (I think same your like a German, a time personality Frenchman, an and way of Englishman) being(Grazia, 17) (Cesare, 19) (Silvana, 16)
  30. 30. Motivation and identity Learning a foreign language is like …belonging to opening up to adjusting to a group of the world, other people’s people who being free to ways ofcommunicate express communicatingthrough the oneself to the same world and belonging language integrate at a more to global level ... the world (Emilio, 18) (Giovanni, 15) (Liliana, 18) (Annalisa, 18)
  31. 31. Beyond the “classic” opposition … to the “Ideal L2 Self” “If the person we would like to become speaks an L2, the ideal L2 self is a powerful motivator to learn the L2” Z. Dörnyei
  32. 32. Motivation and identity “the pressure for most people is to develop a bicultural identity, in which part of theiridentity is rooted in their local culture while another part is associated with a global identity that links them to the international mainstream” J.J.Arnett 2002
  33. 33. Identity: intrinsic motivation Learning a foreign language is like … playing picking a rose. football – You have to be absolutely careful with listening thorns, but this necessary to a song is no problem compared with its beauty and scent (Maurizio, 17)(Giuliana, 15) (Emma, 19)
  34. 34. Identity: intrinsic motivationLearning a foreign language is like … eating asolving a sandwich riddle with nutella ☺(Luisa, 18) (Ivan, 18)
  35. 35. Identity: de-motivation? Learning a foreign language is like … learning learning to running something play chess barefoot which is with your on stones physically, eyes mentally, … and closed – “chemically” nearly impossible impossible (Andrea, 18)(Leonardo, 15) (Christian, 18)
  36. 36. Identity: de-motivation? Learning a foreign language is like … being under a going on a terrible hail having to long trip storm with 2 learn with no square something destination centimetres which has hail stones nothing to which won’t do with me allow you to see where you are (Veronica, 16)(Walter, 15 (Roberto, 16)
  37. 37. Identity: de-motivation? learned helplessness
  38. 38. Motivation … 3. as the interplay between task value and expectancy of success
  39. 39. The “value + expectancy” formula perception of task value +expectancy of success motivation to learn
  40. 40. Expectancy of success What should happen for you to be successful? If you’re lucky to Once the A miracle. have a good teacher was in teacher, that’s the a good mood most important and she didn’t (Luca, 14) thing! Either your notice a few teachers are mistakes in my incompetent or presentation they’re tyrants! Everything depends (Massimo, 16) on the teacher, my school results are(Patrizia, 17) there to prove it!
  41. 41. Expectancy of success What should happen for you to be successful? Luck is a Some tests Intelligence anddeceptive illusion, are based personal abilityalthough it has an mainly on affect your study impact on personal method and your outcomes; you ability and interest becauseneed to optimize studying if you try hardyour preparation, hard doesn’t but are notresults crop well, count much intelligent, you like mushrooms can’t get good results(Giancarlo, 16) (Marta, 17) (Tiziano, 16)
  42. 42. Expectancy of success and causal attributions unstable effort luckinternal external ability context stable
  43. 43. Causal attributions to develop self-efficacy (perception of competence)ability and strategies effort and commitment
  44. 44. Am I bright Can I enough? meet this challenge? Do I have a flair for languages?
  45. 45. Causal attributions to develop self-efficacy (perception of competence)ability and strategies effort and commitment
  46. 46. “Genius is ten percent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration” Victor Hugo“When inspiration does not come, I meet it halfway” Sigmund Freud
  47. 47. The motivational value of tasks I remember with delight a very nice project we did in the first grade, it was called ‘Progetto Cartabianca’. A group of students had to write articles on various topics for a daily paper, adding pictures and ads. Being part of the group was exciting and instructive, we were in perfect harmony and we were able to produce some very good work and even entered a competition. relevance(Rosanna, 17 anni)
  48. 48. The motivational value of tasks I feel motivated in those subjects or projects where studying is not enough, where you have to use your head and be creative, maybe cooperating with other people – in a word, activities which combine different subjects and personal experience. attention personal involvement(Mara, 17 anni)
  49. 49. The motivational value of tasks Surely one of the best experiences was the guided tour in Aosta because, besides missing some class time, each student had to present a monument to the other students. attention(Massimo, 14 anni) personal involvement
  50. 50. The motivational value of tasks I liked an English project on an American author because, starting from a book we had read in class, we had to give a sort of a lesson to explain to those who hadn’t read the book why the book in question was so important. I liked that because I was able to prove that Ican explain myself in a simple but thorough waywithout help from the teacher or a classmate. challenge support(Lorenzo, 18 anni)
  51. 51. The motivational value of tasks I feel motivated when you put the theory you’ve studied into practice, and when you do exercises in class, under the teacher’s guide, so that you can then realize if you you could have done that exercise just as well by yourself. challenge(Roberta, 17 anni) support
  52. 52. The motivational value of tasksFor instance, at the moment, working in groups, we have to present andexplain to our classmates some topics we have to study and understand at home. I think this is useful and is evidence of great maturity (for those who can make it). challenge support(Andrea, 14 anni)
  53. 53. The motivational value of taskschallenge: task student support difficulty autonomy scaffolding
  54. 54. The motivational value of tasks Lessons should involve the student, teachers shouldn’t rush them. The results of tests should be clear andthere should be time after the test todiscuss mistakes and how to do better (something which is always missing). feedback(Franco, 18)
  55. 55. The motivational value of tasks This was gratifying because the teacher collected the reports and then they were compared in class and for every student there was some constructive criticism in addition to compliments and a “small bonus on marks”. feedback(Ada, 16)
  56. 56. The motivational value of tasksWhat has (not) What needs been done? to be done?from the recent past … … to the near future
  57. 57. The motivational value of tasks Students’ keywords: - personal involvement - clear performance criteria - space and time for discussion - shared class work - constructive criticism
  58. 58. The motivational value of tasks … I think this is useful and is evidence of great maturity (for those who can make it).(Andrea, 14)
  59. 59. The motivational value of tasks What should you do to do better at school? Pay more Cheat as Cheat, attention when much as I cheat and we have a can. cheat again.literature lessoninstead of falling asleep on my (Martino, 15) desk. (Antonio, 15)(Domenico, 14)
  60. 60. The motivational value of tasks Have you found a way to study difficult topics or carry out boring tasks? Reading to my If I don’t like the puppets, pretending topic, I study by to speak to my heart and can’t pupils. For boring understand anything. tasks, doing them If a subject is immediately so that boring, sometimes, I can go out although I try to without thinking study it, I can’t about my understand anything. homework.(Ines, 12) (Marisa, 16)
  61. 61. The motivational value of tasks Have you found a way to study difficult topics or carry out boring tasks? Yes, I’ve found a way to study which is easier and fun: studying with friends - because if we study like that it’s fun and often, afterwards, during the class test we remember something funny we said and thanks to that we remember things.(Simone, 16)
  62. 62. The motivational value of tasksHave you found a way to study difficult topics or carry out boring tasks? I read a text several times and then make a summary at the side for almost every point. It’s a hell of a job and doesn’t lead me anywhere. But I have to do it …(Giuseppe, 14)
  63. 63. “Knowing what to do whenyou don’t know what to do”
  64. 64. Self-regulation to sustain motivation plan monitorevaluate
  65. 65. task promotes strategies are the use of monitored and strategies evaluated strategic self-regulationexperience of success success is creates positive attributed toexpectations towards effort,oneself (self-esteem) commitment and and future tasks appropriate (self-efficacy) strategies
  66. 66. Now I know the rules of the game. I cantry hard, play better and maybe win.
  67. 67. Learning Paths Tante Vie Per