MTL PPT 7 - Motivation & Learner Autonomy

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Most teachers are frustrated by their unmotivated students. What they may not know is how important the connection is between student motivation and self-determination. Research has shown that motivation is related to whether or not students have opportunities to be autonomous and to make important academic choices. Having choices allows children to feel that they have control or ownership over their own learning.


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Motivation & Learner Autonomy : WHAT IS AUTONOMY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? WHAT IS MOTIVATION? THEORIES OF MOTIVATION AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE CLASSROOM Motivation & Learner Autonomy

Motivation & Learner Autonomy : Motivation & Learner Autonomy “…learning is not something done to students, but something students do to themselves. But many students…seem genuinely to believe that in order to learn, all they need to do is attend classes and carry out the activities more or less willingly. Then they expect learning will follow automatically.” (Petty, 2009: 56-57)

Autonomy and sociocultural theory : Autonomy and sociocultural theory Goal of all learning is autonomy: Joint problem-solving > independent problem-solving Parent scaffolds child’s attempt to do a task > child completes task on own Co-regulation of behaviour > self-regulation Learners develop skills with teacher’s help > become autonomous (Dr Ema Ushioda , University of Warwick, U.K.)

Autonomy and sociocultural theory : Autonomy and sociocultural theory ‘ Human beings are autonomous in relation to a particular task when they are able to perform that task (i) without assistance, (ii) beyond the immediate context in which they acquired the knowledge and skills on which successful task performance depends, and (iii) flexibly, taking account of the special requirements of particular circumstances’ (Little, 1997)

Autonomy in life vs autonomy in education : Autonomy in life vs autonomy in education Autonomy is the goal of all developmental and experiential learning Autonomy is also an unquestionable pedagogical goal Autonomy in formal education ( learner autonomy ) is essentially continuous with autonomy in developmental learning But whereas developmental autonomy is a largely unconscious natural process, autonomy in education is characterised by conscious intentions and purposes (on the part of those who deliver education & on the part of the learners, in the shape of deliberate strategies, goals, self-regularity skills, metacognition and motivation > intentional strategic control over knowledge and the learning process (Dr Ema Ushioda, University of Warwick, U.K.)

Autonomy in life vs autonomy in education : Autonomy in life vs autonomy in education Learner autonomy needs to become an explicit pedagogical goal of we want it to happen “Motivation is crucial in learning…” (Pinter, 2006:36) With a partner read through the questionnaire and: From the points asked can you suggest what motivation is and what can develop it? From the points asked list some ‘best practice’ ideas for promoting motivation. Do any of the ‘best practice’ points relate to recommendations made in the previous training sessions? Be prepared to explain your views in larger groups.

Motivation : Motivation “…learning is not something done to students, but something students do to themselves. But many students…seem genuinely to believe that in order to learn, all they need to do is attend classes and carry out the activities more or less willingly. Then they expect learning will follow automatically.” (Petty, 2009: 56-57)

Motivation : Motivation ‘Motivation’ is a general way of referring to the causes and origins of action. It is responsible for: - The choice of a particular action - The effort expended on it and the persistence with it “…motivation explains why people decide to do something and how long they are willing to sustain the activity.” (Dornyei, 2001: 7)

Motivation : Motivation “ ‘Pure’ theories of motivation do not lend themselves to effective classroom application. Classrooms are …where students spend a great deal if their life. Besides being the venue where students acquire skills and learn about the world, classrooms are also where they make friends, fall in love, rebel against the previous generation, find out who they are and what the purpose of life is…in short, where they grow up. So much is going on in a classroom at the same time that no single motivational principle can possibly capture this complexity … “ (Dornyei, 2001: 4)

Motivation : Motivation “ Unfortunately, and realistically, motivating students yesterday, today and tomorrow will never be a singular or simplistic process.” (Scheidecker & Freeman, 1999: 117)

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1970) : Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1970) Self-actualisation needs (personal growth & development, self-expression, the search for identity & meaning in life) Esteem needs (need to gain competence, approval & recognition) Belongingness & love needs (affection, social acceptance, etc) Safety needs (security, stability, freedom from pain, etc) Physiological needs (food, water, air, etc)

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs : Maslow’s hierarchy of needs All students feel valued, accepted and included, at least by you the teacher; and that a group ethos is developed. There is also an opportunity for group work ( belonging needs ). All students experience success and get praise and other reinforcement. There are opportunities for students to gain respect from you and other learners ( esteem needs ). Routine tasks sometimes make way for choice, creative work …opportunities for students to express their individuality and explore their own interests. You encourage curiosity and opportunities for students to think for themselves ( self-actualisation needs ). (Petty, 2009: 55)

Motivation : Motivation “Maslow showed that there is only one way of motivating your students. “And that is to ensure that your belongingness, esteem and self-actualisation needs are nourished through the learning activities you devise.” (Petty, 2009: 55) BUT Deci & Ryan (1985): motivation can be ‘intrinsic’ or ‘extrinsic’ Williams & Burden (1997): motivation can be ‘internal’ or ‘external’, with subcomponents following current themes in educational psychology Dornyei & Otto (1998): changes in motivation over time (a process-orientated approach)

MOTIVATION : MOTIVATION Important for teachers to motivate learners . Motivational Strategies in the Classroom (Zoltan Dorneyi, 2001) 1 Create motivational stages for learning (a pleasant & supportive environment) 2 Introduce motivational techniques 3 Maintain and protect learner’s motivation by offering stimulating experiences & fostering self-esteem, self-confidence & co-operation between among learners 4 Take care to turn evaluation & feedback into positive experiences Self-motivating strategies for older learners (Ema Ushioda, 1996)

Motivation: Practical Ideas : Motivation: Practical Ideas Try to ensure that the children of a clear idea of how much they have learnt & a feeling that they are making progress Choose ‘larger tasks’ that give the children more ‘psychological space’ to plan their own work & make their own decisions Include tasks that involve a personal response and give the child personal feedback Provide choice Involve the children in classroom decision-making Find out what the children think Think about how you give feedback. Give positive, encouraging feedback It is best to avoid giving ‘rewards’. Research shows this devalues that the work and the child focuses on external rewards rather than on their own feelings of success and satisfaction. Also, rewards are only motivating if you sometimes get one!

The motivation that underpins autonomy : The motivation that underpins autonomy Comes from within Is socially mediated Is self-regulated (Dr Ema Ushioda, University of Warwick, U.K.)

Let the children choose : Let the children choose Give children a choice of who to work with on an activity – or let them choose between working with a partner or alone. Ask the class to choose the order of activities Have an activity corner – this is a way of introducing self-access study. Internet website activities can be an option Include project work – this develops team work/ taking responsibility/ involves research, planning and decision-making/results in a ‘product’ to be presented or displayed to the class Include self-assessment – this is to build up skills of self-evaluation and to encourage responsibility for learning

Autonomy and motivation go hand in hand : Autonomy and motivation go hand in hand “In the mid 1970s, I started for the first time to work with pupils of 14 – 16 years in unstreamed …classes. I was up against the tired-of-school attitude that this age group often displays…In order to survive I felt I had to change my usual teacher role. I tried to involve the pupils – or rather I forced them to be involved – in the decisions concerning, for example, the choice of classroom activities and learning materials. I soon realized that giving the learners a share of responsibility…caused them to be actively involved and led to better learning. It also increased their capacity to evaluate the learning process…awareness of of how to learn facilitates and influences what is being learned and gives an improved insight into how to learn.” (Dam,1995:2)

PORTFOLIO TASK : PORTFOLIO TASK Include a completed copy of Dornyei’s ‘Motivational Strategies checklist and comment on its relevance to your subject and teaching context. (Some of the strategies are specifically for language teaching).

Khalil Zakari
Certified and experienced ESL Teacher Educator and Supervisor
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