Informing a task-based approach with L2 motivation research Julian Pigott. University of Warwick. email@example.com
[I]ndividual difference research can tell us very littleabout particular students sitting in our classroom,about how they are (un)motivated and why. Researchon motivation has … depersonalised learners so that itis not people but their componentalized subpersonalparts that are orchestrating courses of action.(Ushioda, 2009).Traditionally, we have tried to break down motivation to thelowest possible denominators, hoping that the resultingmotives would be ‘pure’ components that can then serve asbuilding blocks for all motivational phenomena. Thisapproach has by and large failed (Dörnyei, 2009).
Ushiodas Person-in-context relational view of motivationThe person-in-context, rather than context-independent, abstract variables should be a basic unitof understanding for teachers and researchers (2009).
Some suggestions:The learner as individual:● Use tasks students find enjoyable/satisfying/effective etc.● Adjust the fluency/form balance to meet individual needs.The learner as class member:● Group roles and cooperative task goals.● Use tasks that entail interacting with lots of different class members.● Projects ideal vehicle for the above.The student as member of society:● Broaden the scope of tasks and lessons in general.● Use of the L1 on the part of students and teachers.
Suggestions:Interest:● Whet students appetite for tasks.● Storytelling.● Prioritise content over form.● Extend scope of post-task to non-linguistic features.Motivational flow:● Keep a record of tasks that give rise to flow● Problem-solving/puzzle tasks.
(Continued....)Motivational task-engagement:● Novelty, intrigue, humour (note – difficult in L2)● Tangible finished products● Provide strategies for task execution.Motivational self-guides:● Tasks about the future● Explore culture● Tasks that use role models● Explore prejudice and stereotyping through tasks.
Implications for TBL● Tasks as not self-contained – they exist in context.● TBL as a principled and flexible approach● Everybody should use task-cycles.
TBL Principles (Nunan, 2004) Motivation Principles (Pigott 2011)Needs-based approach Humanistic approachCommunicating through Judicious mix of L1 and L2.interaction in the L2.Use of authentic texts Use of texts that students find motivating, authentic or otherwise.Using personal experiences Use of personal experiences, and also imagination, dreams, fantasy, creativity and role-play.
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