Arzu - a detailed analysis
of a language learner
by Kendall Peet
Arzu is a highly motivated learner.(10) This assessment is based on clearly observable facts, including her attendance record, her classroom participation, and her regular completion of homework. Her motivation- intrinsic, extrinsic, instrumental, and integrative- is derived from three main sources:(11)
a. Work (instrumental/extrinsic motivation)
Intrinsically she is motivated by her natural desire “to be more successful in her job”, which requires her (extrinsic motivation) to use English on a daily basis. Extrinsically and instrumentally she is also motivated by the fact that MSC offer pay incentives to encourage employees to improve their level of English; English is also a necessary requirement for career advancement. Unfortunately, however, MSC do not as yet use a valid, objective method, such as an externally assessed exam (FCE or CEP), to assess communicative competence, which would help to focus MSC employees on a concrete goal to work toward; this is a situation I am trying to amend.
b . English as the global medium of exchange (integrative motivation)
Arzu sees English as “an important world language”:(12)
I think English is the most popular language in the world. So in order to speak with people all over the world you need to know English.
She says that she wants to enjoy “good conversation[s] with foreign people” and has an opportunity to do so whilst on holiday in Bodrum, where she usually takes her summer holiday each year.(13) She is also considering going to England to study to improve her English . She is not interested in integrating into any one English speaking culture, but rather is motivated to learn English in order to integrate globally, and this attitude combined with her naturally friendly, outgoing, extraverted personality makes her particularly well suited to language learning.(14)
c. Learning success (intrinsic motivation)
Finally, Arzu is motivated by her feeling that she is a successful learner. In my experience it is certainly true that success breeds success, whilst failure usually leads to further failure.(15) The feeling of success helps to lift self-esteem and confidence, which has a positive effect on classroom attitude, and relations with teachers and students.(16) It is therefore important to cultivate motivation by adopting a teaching approach geared toward student success, which means matching content to the learners’ needs, catering to the learners preferred learning style, and giving ongoing positive feedback and support throughout the learning process. Above all, learners need to be continually told that they are making progress, especially at intermediate level and above where it is sometimes difficult for learners to perceive their own progress.
10. Gardner, R.C. (1982). Gardner perceived motivation to be composed of three elements: effort, desire, and effect.
11. Nunan, D. (1992). p. 17
12. Lightbrown, P. & Spada, N. (2001). p. 56
13. Bodrum is a holiday location in SE of Turkey where tourists outnumber locals in the summer and English is used as the main medium of exchange.
14. Lightbrown, P. & Spada, N. (2001). p. 54
Elllis, R. (1997)
Taylor, D. M.., Meynard, R., & Rheault, E. (1997).
15. Daniels, R. (1994). Daniels states that underachievement reduces motivation and leads to further underachievement and this is a cyclical process that may go on forever. p. 1011-1022.
16. Verster, C. p.1
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