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Getting there


Friday, April 15, 2005

I want to take the time today to look again at why I am checking a particular motivational strategy Doernyei suggests or not, and in a sense review the list of possible teacher motivation strategies. Birmingham really didn't like the way I was using the whole list, one essay marker pointed out that Doernyei himself did not suggest we use all the strategies. She is talking about Doernyei's suggestion of using a "stepwise approach", identifying ones you use and reinforcing them, or experimenting with a new one. In my blog research I am not trying to get to the point where I use all the strategies. I am observing how my paradigms of use shift over the whole of my course, as Doernyei has suggested it must if motivation students is a changing construct over time, or process, as it were. In this way to focus only on some particular items seems to me to be missing the point that according to Doernyei's model we need to change and adapt our palette of techniques to the part of the course we are working on, beginning, middle, or end. And whether it is true that these teacher motivational strategies do change their weightings, and whether the model is valid for me in my teaching, over and above the simple issue of what strategies I choose, or whether I even think about motivation at all as I teach, is what I am trying to observe here in a mixed qualitative (the checklist) and quantitative (the free blog entry) research study.

The validation for this dual approach as quoted from my first Birmingham essay (Renata Suzuki, submitted July 2004):
The motivational strategies teachers use are relevant to the learning process: Doernyei and Csizer(1988)conducted a comprehensive survey of 200 Hungarian teachers which revealed that teachers consider teacher behavior to be the most important and underused motivational tool in the classroom. (Doernyei, 2001b:31). Learners also seem to share this perception. In a Doernyei study(1998b in Doernyei,2001a:150), demotivated learners cited teacher-related issues as the greatest negative influence with 40% frequency. In spite of the relevance of teacher motivational strategies on the learning process, Doernyei (2001a:27) claims that few teacher-training curriculums focus on training teacher use of motivation. Meanwhile a study by Veerman (1984in Doernyei, 2001a:117) revealed that teachers ranked motivating pupils their second most serious source of difficulty.
In order to gain this awareness of just how important teacher use of motivation is, and indeed, to complete much of the research in both psychological and pedagogical studies of motivation, various methods of quantitative data collection and statistical analysis have been predominant. These include surveys, {Doernyei and Csizer (1998) Ten commandments for motivating language learners: Results of an empirical study}, factor analytical studies{Gardner and Lambert (1959):Motivational variables in SLA} and correlational studies{Schmidt, Boraie and Kassabgy (1996) Foreign language motivation: Internal structure and external conditions}. Qualitative research methods focus on case studies and interviews.
Doernyei (2001a:195) poses the necessity for two shifts in current research trends: the need for longer studies: “only by collecting longitudinal data can we fully explore the dynamic nature of the mental processes underlying motivation.”, and for more use of combined research methods: ‘ the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods might be a particularly fruitful direction for future motivation research. (Doernyei. 2001a:194)

Doernyei, Z. (2001a) Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University PressDoernyei, Z. (2001b) Teaching and Researching Motivation. Harlow: Longman, an imprint of Pearson Education