Motivation & anxiety in SLA
Dr Gabriela Meier
Objectives

Review language learner strategies (LLS) in peer groups

Critically engage with learning contexts presented by
peers

Gain an initial understanding of L2 motivational theories
and theories related to anxiety
2
Motivation
3
What motivates you?

Think about your main motivation to learn an L2?

Talk to others and form groups according to your main
motivation.
4
What motivates your students?
5
(Cook, 1996:95)
Two dimensions of motivation
Integrative motivation:
Affinity with the TL community
The learner’s desire to identify with the TL culture
Instrumental motivation:
L2 is learnt as a means to an end, not for its own sake
For utilitarian purposes:
e.g. To get a better job, to pass an exam, to enter university.
(Gardner & Lambert, 1972)
6
Another important dichotomy:
Intrinsic motivation:
Deriving from the personal needs and interests of the learner
e.g. Curiosity; enjoyment at learning L2
Extrinsic motivation
Provided by the learning situation / teacher / course book / tasks
/ exercises / influence of parents / etc.
(Brown 2000)
Notes:
a) These types of motivation are not mutually exclusive.
b) Motivation can be influenced by many other factors.
7
A.H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50(4) (1943):370-96.
(See also: Straubhaar & LaRose, 2000)
Krashen’s input
hypothesis 1980s
(Based on UG)
What is motivation?
10
A motivated student is one who…
• Wants to achieve a certain goal;
• Experiences satisfaction when engaged in activities
associated with achieving that goal;
• Gains satisfaction from the achievement of the goal.
(Gardner, 1985)
11
(Williams & Burden, 2000:120)
12
Motivation expressed as formula
Effort + Desire to Achieve a Goal + Attitudes = motivation
Skehan (1989:54)
attitudes are defined as:
‘An evaluative reaction to some referent or
attitude object, inferred on the basis of the
individual’s beliefs or opinions about the
referent.’
(Gardner, 1985:9)
13
The definition researchers agree on:
Motivation concerns direction and magnitude of human behaviour
Based on Dörnyei (2011)
Observed behaviour
Motivation is
responsible for
Choice of a particular action
why people decide to do
something
The persistence with it
how long the are willing to
sustain the activity
The effort expended on it
how hard they are going to
pursue it.
14
(Brown, 2000:162)
15
History of L2 motivation theory
Social
Cognitive
psychological situated
period
period
Processoriented
period
Socio-dynamic
system
1959-1990
During 1990s
Turn of the
century
Around 2004 to present
Robert
Gardner
(Canada)
Based on
cognitive
theories
Interest in
motivational
change
(temporal/
stages)
motivation-cognitionaffect combinations,
based on complexity
theory and dynamic
systems theory
16
Social psychological period
Gardner (1985:
 Motivational intensity or effort
 Desire to learn the language
 Attitudes towards learning the language
Based on bilingual situation in Canada
17
Conceptualisation of integrative motive
18
Cognitive situated period
Trends:

Bring language motivation research in line with cognitive
revolution in mainstream motivational psychology

Move from integrative views and attitudinal explanations
to more situated analysis of motivation in specific learning
contexts.
19
20
Tremblay and Gardner 1995
Goal salience
specificity of learner’s goals and the frequency
of goal-setting strategies
Valence
desire to learn the L2 and attitudes towards
L2 = L2-learning-related value component
Self-efficacy
anxiety and performance expectancy
21
Dörnyei’s framework of L2 motivation 1994
Level of motivation
Types of motivation
Language level
Integrative and instrumental
Learner level
Need for achievement
Self-confidence
- Language use anxiety
- Perceived L2 competence
- Causal attributions
- Self-efficacy
Learning situation level
- Course specific
Interest, relevance, expetancy, satisfaction
- Teacher specific
Please the teacher, authority (controlling vs.
autnonomy supporting), socialisation
- Group specific
Goal-orientation, norm and reward, group
cohesiveness, classroom goal (cooperative,
competitive, individualistic)
22
(Williams & Burden,
2000:140)
23
Process-oriented period
Increasing interest in:


Changing motivation over time
Successive stages of motivational process
24
25
(Williams & Burden, 2000:121)
A temporal view of L2 motivation
26
From process-oriented to socio-dynamic
perspectives

Based on view that L2 motivation is not a linear process
Linear models seek to explain
cause and effect, and make
predictions (based on
positivist ontology)
27
Socio-dynamic system models
Relational view
Not concerned with variables but
(Sealy and Carter 2004) on dynamic system of relations
among relevant features, phenomena
and processes (complex,
unpredictable, non-linear and
unique)
Person-in-context
view
(Ushioda 2009)
Organically evolving interactions
among motivation, self and context.
 complex individuality or real
persons.
The L2 Motivational
self system
28
(Dörnyei 2009)
“natural progression from Gardner’s
theory”.
- Possible selves and future self-
Complexity is not new!
(cited in Dörnyei, 2001:13)
29
• Dichotomous models of motivation (e.g. instrumental vs. integrative,
intrinsic vs. extrinsic) are too simplistic.
• Our view of motivation must take into account multiple factors.
• Demotivating factors (e.g. high affective filter, poor or negative
attitudes, feelings of inferiority)
vs. motivators (e.g. fear of ridicule, need to provide for a family)
‘An investment in the target language is also an investment in a
learner’s own identity, an identity which is constantly changing across
time and space.’
(Norton, 2000:7)
Next topic
30
Csizér and Dörnyei (2005:30)
Redefinition of L2 motivation:
 “as the desire to achieve one’s ideal language self by
reducing the discrepancy between one’s actual and ideal
selves. “
This is dependent on:
 “the learner’s ability to develop a salient vision of the self
as an agreeable, competent, and successful L2 user. “
31
What demotivates students?

What demotivates you to learn an L2?

What demotivates your students?
32
Demotivation/demotivational factors
‘teacher’s personal relationship with the students

(i.e. lack of caring, general belligerence, hypercriticism and
patronage/favoritism);
the teacher’s attitude towards the course or the material

(i.e. lack of enthusiasm, sloppy management and closemindedness);
style conflicts between teacher and students

(i.e. conflicts about the structure or detail, conflicts about the
power distance of the class);
the nature of the classroom activities

(i.e. irrelevance, overload, and repetitiveness).

33
Oxford 1998
Demotivation
1. Teachers’ personalities, commitments, competence, teaching
methods
2. Inadequate school facilities (large class sizes, unsuitable level of
classes or frequent change of teachers)
3. Reduced self-confidence due to their experience of failure or
lack of success
4. Negative attitude toward the foreign language studied
5. Compulsory nature of the foreign language study
6. Interference of another foreign language that pupils are
studying
7. Negative attitude toward the community of the foreign
language spoken
8. Attitudes
of group members
(Dörnyei 2001)
34
Motivation and significant others
 Parents
 Context
 Peers
 Teachers
(policy/environment)
Parental attitude
(Izzo, 1982:8)
36
Policy
Education = function of government (Torres 1998) -
language acquisition (and status) planning
Which languages are given status in society/school?
 India – trilingual language policy
 Kazakhstan – trilingual language policy
 Luxembourg – trilingual language policy
 EU – 1+2 (mother tongue + 2 other languages)
 UK?
 Your country?
2002 MFL dropped at 14-16
Debbie Andalo
Education Guardian, Monday 12 March 2007 13.00 GMT
Modern languages [in England] were dropped as a compulsory
subject for 14 to 16-year-olds in 2002, despite protests from
teachers and other organisations with an interest in promoting
language.
This year's GCSE results reflected a fall in the number of
teenagers choosing to study a modern language. The number of
candidates studying French fell by 13.2% compared with last year,
while those teenagers opting for German fell by 14.2%. There was
also a small fall in students choosing GCSE Spanish.
39
40
(Tsui, 1996a)
41
Peer pressure
(cited in Izzo, 1982:9)
42
Peers as reference group
“Maintaining face is a central concern for most school
children: for them school is the most important social
arena and their peers are the main reference group.”
(Dörnyei 2011:121)
43
Teacher attitudes

Attitudes held by the teacher have considerable influence
on a student’s achievement.
Izzo 1982:9
Teacher attitudes towards …are closely related to
achievement
 Language per se
 The language taught
 The students
 Their language learning
Savignion 1976, Burstall 1975
44
What can teachers do to motivate students?
Some suggestions:
(Dörnyei, 1998)
45
Motivational strategies




Creating the basic motivational conditions
Generating initial motivation
Maintaining and protecting motivation
Encouraging positive self-evaluation
 “Some of the most motivating teachers often rely on a
few basic techniques!”
46
Motivational strategies
Dörnyei, Z. (2007) Motivational Strategies in the Language
Classroom (8th ed.). Cambridge: CUP.
“What we need is quality rather than quantity. A few well
chosen strategies that suit both you and your learners
might … creat[e] an overall positive motivational climate in
the classroom. “


Invitation to try it out (Dörnyei 2007:136-145)
See hand-out
47
Recap

Main points about motivation??
48
Anxiety
49
Q: What aspects of SLA are likely to cause anxiety?
Some possible sources of language anxiety:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
50
public performance
peer comparison
competitiveness
desire to gain teacher’s approval
tests
importance of task
learner’s own targets (perfectionism?)
particular L2 contexts
Krashen’s input
hypothesis 1980s
(Based on UG)
Aspects of language anxiety
1. ‘Communication apprehension’: related to the real or
anticipated act of speaking
2. ‘Test anxiety’: fear of failure in tests, quizzes, exams
(common in many formal learning environments)
3. ‘Social evaluation apprehension’: how one’s actions are
viewed in the social setting of the classroom
(Horwitz at al, 1986)
52
At all stages




Language anxiety can occur at each stage of the language
acquisition process
Stage:
Input :
Central processing:
Output:
53
Anxiety related to:
to process external stimuli
store and organise input
retrieve previously learned
material
McIntyre and Gardner (1994)
Effects of anxiety on learning and performance
• Inhibits the efficient pre-processing of new information:
student has difficulty in attending to or organising the material
presented.
• Interferes with processing: student cannot apply problemsolving strategies; student may understand new material but is unable
to remember it.
• Interferes with output: the student has grasped the correct
answer, but then loses it before being able to verbalise it.
54
Learner characteristics and anxiety






low self-esteem,
self-perceived low level of ability,
communication apprehension,
competitiveness,
lack of group membership with peers,
beliefs about language learning.”
Tallon (2009:115)

“anxious students are desperately trying to avoid humiliation,
embarrassment, and criticism, and to preserve their selfesteem”
(Tsui, 1996: 159).
55
Teacher factors

“The teachers’ intolerance of silence, also creates a great
deal of anxiety.”
Tsui (1996:158)

A judgmental teaching attitude and a harsh manner of
teaching are also connected to students’ fear in class
(Tallon, 2009)
56
Q: Is anxiety always a bad thing?
An important distinction:
• Debilitating anxiety: if excessive, this can prevent learning
• Facilitative anxiety: keeps the student alert, focused, poised
(Gardner & MacIntyre, 1993)
Sometimes, being a little bit anxious can help sometimes.
BUT…
57
Achievement anxiety
(Stipek, 1988)
58
Self-esteem
Trait and situational anxiety
1) Trait (global) self-esteem (trait anxiety)
Is a stable personality characteristic; a permanent disposition.
Does not vary according to situation.
Is based on self-perceptions of competence in areas such as: academic
achievement, athletic ability, social interaction, physical appearance, etc.
Is associated with the learner’s personal assessment of the relative
importance of these areas.
•
•
•
•
2) State self-esteem (situational anxiety)
• Is a temporary emotional state.
• Relates to a specific situation, event or activity at a specific
point in time.
• May explain some elements of learner variability; e.g. varying levels of
•
proficiency in different tasks.
59
(Oxford & Ehrman, 1993)
60
(reproduced in Allwright & Bailey, 1991)
61
(Oxford, 1990:141)
Q:
What can teachers do to alleviate anxiety?
Reduce stress in learning environments
“building a supportive and friendly classroom environment is just as
important to the success of the class as developing the curriculum.”
Elkhafaifi 2005
“some practices perceived as comfortable by one group of learners
may prove stressful for a group from a different background”.
Horwitz (2001) discussed in Elkhafaifi 2005)
62
63
Classroom norms and rules
Research has shown that institutional norms mandated by
the teacher are unlikely to be effective group norms.
64
Related concepts


L2 identity
L2 socialisation
65
Main points






Anxiety hinders achievement
Different types of anxiety
Facilitating or debilitating
Can occur at all stages (input, processing, output)
Less stressful environments help to reduce anxiety
What reduces anxiety in one context may not work in
another
66
Objectives

Review language learner strategies (LLS) in peer groups

Critically engage with learning contexts presented by
peers

Gain an initial understanding of L2 motivational theories
and theories related to anxiety
67
Reading: Cziser and Dörnyei 2005

The article is about motivation. It is reporting findings of a questionnaire
survey, based on a complex quantitative (statistical) design. Don't worry if
you don't understand this part of the article, concentrate on the parts
listed below, and try to answer the questions (also below) when you read
the text:
Parts:
• Introduction
• Background
• Participants
• Discussion
(especially 'a closer
look at
integrativeness with
L2 motivation'
• Conclusion
68
• Limitations of the
Questions
• What are the dimensions of motivation
according to Csizer and Dörnyei?
(Background)
• Who are the participants in the study?
(What and where do they study?)
(Participants)
• What is the most important dimension and
what are its antecedents? (Discussion)
• Do these findings resonate with your
experiences of L2/bilingual learners?
Motivation:
Csizér, K. Dörnyei, Z. (2005) The Internal Structure of Language Learning Motivation and Its
Relationship with Language Choice and Learning Effort. In the Modern Language Journal
(19-36)
Dörnyei, Z. , Ushioda, E. (2009) Motivation, Language Identity and the L2 Self (Second Language
Acquisition). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
Dörnyei, Z. , Ushioda, E. (2011) Teaching and Researching: Motivation (Applied Linguistics in
Action). Edinburgh: Pearson Education Ltd.
Gao, Fang (2010) Learning Korean language in China: motivations and strategies of nonKoreans. In International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13.3: 273-284
Matzuzaki Carreira, Junko (2005) New Framework of Intrinsic/Extrinsic and
Integrative/Instrumental Motivation in Second Language acquisition. In Keiai Journal of
International Studies, 16.Dec:39-64. Available from http://www.ukeiai.ac.jp/issn/menu/ronbun/no16/039.pdf
Murray, G., Gao, X., Lamb, T. (2011) Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning
(Second Language Acquisition). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Yihong, G., Yuan,Ying, C. , Yan, Z. (2007) Relationship between English Learning Motivation
Types and Self-Identity: Changes among Chinese Students. In TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 1
(Mar., 2007), pp. 133-155
Anxiety
Atay, D., & Kurt, G. (2006). Prospective teachers and L2 writing anxiety. Asian EFL
Journal, 8(4).
Batumlu, D. Z. & Erden, M. (2007). The relationship between foreign language anxiety
and English achievement of Yıldız Technical University School of foreign languages
preparatory students, Theory and Practice in Education, 3(1), 24 – 38.
Gregersen, T. S. (2003). To err is human: A reminder to teachers of language- anxious
students. Foreign Language Annals, 36(1), 25-32.
Horwitz, Elaine (2010) Foreign and second language anxiety. In Language Teaching,
43.2:154-167
MacIntyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1994). The subtle effects of language anxiety on
cognitive processing in the second language. Language Learning, 44, 283-305.
Marcos-Llinas, M & Garau, M. J. (2009). Effects of Language Anxiety on Three
Proficiency-Level Courses of Spanish as a Foreign Language. Foreign Language
Annals, 42(1), 94-111.
Spielman, G. & Radnofsky, M. (2001) ‘Learning language under tension: New directions
from a qualitative Study’. The Modern Language Journal 85/ii: 259–278.
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