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Setting achievable goals for students is an important part of teaching as it makes learning more effective. Our study aimed to examine how language learners are kept motivated by showing them improvements made by other nonnative speakers. We used two types of motivational tools to achieve this: video clips of the performance of former students and a visual demonstration of the changes in the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) scores of nonnative speakers. Study participants were 56 Japanese college students enrolled in either TOEIC preparation courses or speaking courses. Before and after demonstrating the improvements of other learners, students answered written questions regarding their language learning experiences, their beliefs about language learning, and what they learned from observing other students’ improvements. The results indicated that the motivational tools were useful in building positive attitudes toward language learning. These findings also suggested that both tools were beneficial for students in either the TOEIC preparation or speaking courses. Based on these quantitative results, we propose that it is essential to set achievable goals to keep learners motivated for task performance.
Keywords: motivation, goal setting, Japanese EFL learners, video demonstrations, Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)