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The motivational dimension of language teaching

  • Martin Lamb (a1)

Abstract

Motivation is recognized as a vital component in successful second language learning, and has been the subject of intensive research in recent decades. This review focuses on a growing branch of this research effort, that which examines the motivational effects of language teaching. This is pertinent because, despite enhanced mobility and expanding access to foreign languages online, most learners’ early encounters with the second language (L2) still take place in classrooms, and these encounters may shape attitudes and determine students’ willingness to invest further in the L2. Four main types of research are reviewed: first, that which deliberately seeks to identify and evaluate strategies to motivate L2 learners; second, that which has tested the validity of psychological theories of motivation by applying their precepts in L2 classrooms; third, that which assesses the motivational effects of a pedagogical innovation or intervention; fourth, research on what has been too often the unintended outcome of language education, namely learner demotivation. The review highlights the complexity of the relationship between teaching and learner motivation but an attempt is made to articulate some emerging verities and to point towards the most promising avenues for future research.

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References

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The motivational dimension of language teaching

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