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Faculty of Education and Social Work
Investigating Motivational Teaching Strategies and Teacher SelfEvaluation in Adult English Language Classrooms in Australia
Katie Bokan-Smith | PhD Candidate
Dr Lindy Woodrow & Dr Aek Phakiti (Supervisors)
The Focus
› Study focuses on the ESL teaching
community in New South Wales
› Students are study-only students
› Multilingual / multicultural
› Gather data from teachers and
students with different experiences
ESL = English as a Second Language
The Problem
Teachers want to motivate their students…but how?
› “Almost everything a teacher does in the classroom has a motivational
influence on learners, which makes teacher behaviour the most
powerful motivational tool” (Dörnyei, 2001, p.120).
› Motivation produces successful second language communicators and
fosters self-confidence (Ebata, 2008).
› Second language (L2) research currently has a lack of empirical
evidence that shows how teachers can effectively promote and sustain
motivation in students.
The Gap
› Past research has only addressed
which motivational strategies are
most frequently used rather than the
effects of the motivational strategies
(Moskovsky et al., 2012).
Photo: www.internationalprojects.com
› Past research has relied on
quantitative methods such as
questionnaires and surveys outside
of the classroom context (Bernaus &
Gardner, 2008; Madrid, 2002).
Aims of Research Study
› Aims of study:
› Methods to be used:
1. To provide observational
evidence of the teacher’s use
of motivational strategies
1. Collect mixed methods data from
multiple perspectives
2. To examine students’
perceptions of the teacher’s
strategies in adult ESL
3. Connect theory to practice
4. Evaluate teacher claims vs.
teacher practices
2. Teacher self-evaluation &
reflection during pre / post
observation interviews
3. Student perspective through
questionnaires and interviews
4. Methodological triangulation
through questionnaires,
observations, and interviews
Theoretical Framework
Classroom Context is more Practical for L2 Research
› Dörnyei (2001) created a list of 35 motivational strategies for teachers
to implement, which are organized into 4 key phases:
› 1. Creating the basic motivational conditions
› 2. Generating initial motivation
› 3. Maintaining and protecting motivation
› 4. Encouraging retrospective self-evaluation
› IMPORTANT STUDY: Guilloteaux & Dörnyei (2008) collected data and
observed during ‘real time’ classroom lessons using the MOLT tool**
Research Questions
1). Do teachers’ beliefs about motivational strategies mirror their teaching
practices? If not, what is the reason for the misalignment?
2). How does the students’ perception of motivation strategies align with the
teachers’ perspective?
3a). What specific motivational teaching strategies do novice and experiences
ESL teachers use to promote motivation in the upper-intermediate and
advanced level classrooms?
3b). Do they differ in their motivational teaching strategies, and if so, how?
4). Is there a connection between using specific motivational strategies and
students’ level of participation and interest?
Participants and Setting
› Novice and expert ESL teachers (N = 29 to date)
› International students are from the global community (Intermediate to
Advanced levels with class sizes between 10-20 students each).
› Three adult ESL schools in New South Wales
Novice teacher: less than 5 years of classroom teaching experience
Expert teacher: more than 5 years of classroom teaching experience
Research Methods in Steps
#1: Teacher
35 Items
#2: PreObservation
#3: Classroom
#4: Student
#5: PostObservation
#6: Student
Blue boxes = Teachers only
Green boxes = Students only
Purple box: Teachers and Students
Novice and Expert Teachers
Teaching Experience in Years
Number of Teachers = 29
Teacher Questionnaire Data
Top 5 Motivational Strategies
1. Create a pleasant and supportive atmosphere in the classroom.
2. Increase students’ individual and class goals and help them to
attain them.
3. Make the curriculum and the teaching materials relevant to the
4. Present and administer tasks in a motivating way.
5. Build your learners’ confidence by providing regular
Lowest 5 Motivational Strategies
1. Develop a collaborative relationship with the students’ family or
support group.
2. Use contracting methods with your students to formalize their
goal commitment (e.g. have students set goals through written
3. Offer rewards in a motivational manner.
4. Promote the learners’ language-related values by presenting
peer role models.
5. Have the class rules consistently observed.
Initial Analysis
› Top motivational strategies indicate a strong teacher awareness
of encouragement, feedback and support.
› Low motivational strategies suggest a teacher ‘disinterest’ in
forcing students to be motivated through grades, contracts or
› Teachers seem aware of the importance of motivation for
Teacher Self-Evaluation
Teacher Pre-Observation Interview
Semi-structured interviews allow researcher to explore how teachers selfevaluate their own teaching practices
1. What teaching strategies (TS) do you usually use in the classroom to
motivate your learners?
2. Have these TS created successful learning outcomes? Why or why not?
3. Do you plan TS in advance? Why or why not?
4. Which TS are generally the most valuable for promoting motivation among
your students? What evidence do you have for this success?
Initial Findings from Self-Evaluation
Teacher Pre-Observation Interview
› Initial findings suggest that teachers hope to make ESL curriculum relevant
to students’ lives.
› Teachers tend to use methods of encouragement to motivate students in ESL
› Initial interview findings indicate that extrinsic rewards/motivational
strategies are not perceived as being as useful as intrinsic motivational
strategies such as encouragement, positivity, and support.
Implications and Conclusions
Help teachers and students better understand second language (L2)
Enable teachers to use more motivating strategies
Students’ opinions are valued by their teachers
More L2 motivation research is needed
Connecting theory to practice is valuable
Questions or Comments?
Thank you!
Contact: [email protected]
Bernaus, M., & Gardner, R. C. (2008). Teacher motivation strategies, student perceptions,
student motivation, and English achievement. The Modern Language Journal, 92(3), 387-401.
Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom. Cambridge
University Press.
Ebata, M. (2008). Motivation factors in language learning. The Internet TESL Journal, 14(4).
Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Ebata-MotivationFactors.html
Guilloteaux, M., & Dörnyei, Z. (2008). Motivating language learners: A classroom-oriented
investigation of the effects of motivational strategies on student motivation. Tesol Quarterly,
42(1), 55-77.
Madrid, D. (2002). The power of the FL teacher's motivational strategies. CAUCE, Revista De
FilologíaY Su Didáctica, (25), 369-422. Retrieved from Google Scholar.
Moskovsky, C., Alrabai, F., Paolini, S., & Ratcheva, S. (2012). The effects of teachers’
motivational strategies on learners’motivation: A controlled investigation of second language
acquisition. Language Learning, 1-29.

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