‘If one is motivated, he/she has reasons (motives) for engaging in the relevant activities, expends effort, persists in the activities, at- tends to the tasks, shows desire to achieve the goal, enjoys the activities, etc. Without the associated motivation, a reason is just a reason, not a motivation.’
(Gardner, 2001, p. 243)
Welcome to this page on motivation, most importantly language learning motivation.
As it has been proved time after time (e.g. see the bibliography at the end of posts), motivation is key to success. Abilities are a great help, but one needs a reason, a drive to take an action and invest energy in pursuing it. Without that drive, talents are wasted and dreams remain dreams.
Why this page?
In a nutshell, to provide concise secondary and empirical information.
There is plenty of information on the web, true. One of the aims of this site is to provide information on that information in a sophisticated yet user friendly way. As we’ve seen, motivation is important. And often, considering the reasons behind one’s actions and the strategies they lead to answers all the questions at once. But possessing said drive doesn’t necessarily mean one’s in possession of the time needed to do a full fledged web or library research.
Therefore, this page offers some condensed information, with a focus on language learning motivation, and even some motivational strategies that learners and teachers alike can apply. But as motivation is not only needed in language learning, some of the issues treated might offer more general insight. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean to say that this will be any kind of a course on success. In light of what’s been said here we know that the key to that is in one’s own determination.
The other (very important) goal this site is designed to reach is to report on an empirical study conducted at the University of Geneva, as part of my PhD project. As important as secondary sources are, often, besides answering a number of questions, they raise new ones. That’s how many readers become researchers, developing their own instruments in order to find answers to their own questions.
Why examine motivation, then?
I would go so far and say that motivation is not important but essential, in many cases. Understanding it helps us answer the questions why some people succeed in their endeavors, while others struggle during the smallest of tasks, and develop strategies that can help all dreams come true. Research on foreign and second language learning has been asking such questions for decades now, and results have contributed greatly to our understanding of motivation. Strategies are available to enhance motivation and thus success. They will be discussed here, along with other aspects of the topic.
So why read on? What is this site about?
As I claimed, it is about motivation, language learning motivation especially. This page documents an attempt to answer many of the questions regarding the whys of language learning, quoting theories and summarizing the findings of research. Posts will be short and concise and user friendly while in keeping with professional standards. Content will vary according to the currents of contemporary research and my own readings as well as all questions posted here.
In addition, blogposts are to reflect the many aspects of language teaching and learning, as well as motivation research, research design and theoretical considerations that I come across in life (both personal and professional).
Various presentations and course material will also be uploaded under the respective headings.
Last but not least, a detailed research log and results page will be dedicated to the PhD project I designed to investigate language learning motivation at the University of Geneva.
If you’re interested in (language learning) motivation in general or looking for answers to your personal questions and would like to read brief reviews on the subject, stay tuned. ;
And, as an appetizer, let me recommend a study discussing some highly intriguing results:
Nikolov, M. (2001). A study of unsuccessful language learners. In Z. Dörnyei & R. Schmidt (Eds.), Motivation and second language acquisition (pp. 149-170). Honolulu, HI: The University of Hawaii, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.