Motivating Learners in the Language Classroom
Mairin Hennebry-Leung & Xuesong (Andy) Gao
Wednesday 19 May, 4-5:30 pm (AEST)
As most language teachers know, motivation is a vital component of effective language learning. Without it, teachers’ careful planning and creative ideas can quickly be undermined. The research supports this view and finds that motivation can predict anything up to 33% of language learning success. Yet, there is still much we need to understand about motivation in the language classroom. In this talk, we will share insights gathered from a large-scale study conducted among Hong Kong school learners of English.
Two key components of the language learning experience are the teacher and the language environment; we’ll examine what the findings of the study tell us about how teachers’ practices and the language of instruction impact on students’ motivation. A key focus will be on the way in which different features of the language learning experience can lead to a more or less agentive motivation, in other words motivation that is more driven by the student than by the teacher or parents and particularly a motivational orientation more closely tied with a second language identity. We will explore possible explanations for these relationships between classroom features and agentive or less-agentive motivational orientations. Together we will examine what this means for classroom practice and for shaping classrooms that promote and sustain motivated language learning, broadening the discussion to other instructional contexts and drawing on participants’ classroom experience. Through sharing of experiences (good and not so good!) of and challenges and opportunities for generating and sustaining students’ motivation, as well as drawing on relevant theory and research, we will identify key guiding principles of effective motivational language teaching practice.
The talk will be interactive, meaning that participants will be encouraged to share their reactions, reflections and experiences. In order to enrich the conversation, participants will be invited to share specific examples of practice in their diverse contexts. Pause-for-talk moments and breakout rooms will be used to facilitate these conversations.
Mairin Hennebry-Leung started her career teaching Modern Languages and TESOL in a variety of contexts. She joined the University of Tasmania as Lecturer in Languages and TESOL in 2020, prior to which she has held posts in Hong Kong, Scotland and England, working in language education and language teacher education. In addition to this, Mairin has delivered professional development events and materials for teachers in France, Spain, China, Hong Kong and across the UK. Her research focusses on classroom language learning, specifically on language learning motivation, language teacher education, and the relationship between language teaching and citizenship development. Mairin has published widely in international journals including TESOL Quarterly, Language Teaching Research, and Language Learning Journal. She is a co-editor of System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics and co-editor of the Edinburgh University Press Textbooks in Applied Linguistics.
Xuesong (Andy) Gao is an associate professor at the School of Education, University of New South Wales, Australia. He has been involved in language teacher education in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Taiwan. His research interests include language learner autonomy, language education policy, and language teacher education. His research has been funded by Research Grants Council (Hong Kong), Sumitomo Foundation (Japan), and the Standing Committee for Language Education and Research (Hong Kong). He has published widely in international journals, including ELT Journal, TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, and Teaching and Teacher Education. He is a co-editor of System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics and co-editor of the English Language Education book series, published by Springer.
Here is the reading recommended in the chat function by Mairin during the session:
Chenjing (Julia) You, Zoltán Dörnyei, Language Learning Motivation in China: Results of a Large-Scale Stratified Survey, Applied Linguistics, Volume 37, Issue 4, August 2016, Pages 495–519, https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu046