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Getting there


Saturday, May 01, 2004

two important things i've realized:

one is that my idea of a diary/ blog was totally restricted to the kind of feelings/perceptions/thoughts jotter notebook that i'm writing now. It is perfectly valid to have a checkbook of motivational strategies noted down, same foramt every time, in the same way a ship's captain writes a log.

two is that the list of strategies Doernyei suggests in Doernyei, Z. (2001) Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press may not be comprehensive.

For one thing there is no mention of the strategy I use of always wearing appropriate clothes. I kind of think of a class as an atmospheric happening, a one off event, like a piece of theatre in some ways, and the teacher can use costume to engage the audience and create a particular atmosphere. So with my elementary school kids when I was teaching UK culture, I always wore kilts and tartan, or Union Jack clothes, or when I teach my high school students I get close to them wearing trendy fashion. One of my students commented: I love coming to your classes, it's always interesting to see what you wear. To me that is not trivial, it's part of the motivation, sets the mood. And so with my economics class, to underline the idea of exploring language for real life and the business world, I always wear a smart suit.

When I thought of cutting the number of items on the 35 item list, I thought well, it has to be cut for a reason, so I thought each of the stages should incorporate the four dimensions of teacher influence on student motivation mentioned in Doernyei, Z. (2001) Teaching and Researching Motivation. Harlow: Longman, an imprint of Pearson Education page 35:
1. The personal characteristics of the teacher: commitment, warmth, competence, trustworthiness, which make the student want to be praised by the person: the affiliative motive (Ausubel et al, 1978)
2. Teacher immediacy: percieved physical and /or psychological closeness, moving around in class, including personal examples, using humor (Christophel,1990)
3. Active motivational socializing behavior: modelling effort and interest, focusing on task purposes and practical value, raising metacognitive awareness, a clear feedback/reward system
4. Classroom management incl. setting and maintaining group norms and balancing teacher control/learner autonomy

Now when I go through the 35 point checklist, there seems to be a heavy weighting towards three and four in the last stages of the motivation process.....should there not be a rounded weighting of all four above-mentioned dimensions in all four stages of the motivational process? Should I change and adapt the list? Or use it as it stands?????

My dilemma for the day... perhaps it will be clear tomorrow.