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Handout - How important are the students’ motivation and attention + memory?
1. What is Motivation ? Gardner defined motivation in his social-psychological model as the combination of effort plus desire
to achieve the goal of learning the language plus favorable attitude toward learning the language. It is an inner state or
condition that power up behavior and gives it direction, a desire that energizes and directs goal-oriented behavior, an
influence of needs and desires on the intensity and direction of behavior, and the arousal, direction, and persistence of

2. What is Intrinsic motivation ?

The feelings of competence and self-determination are significant factors of intrinsic motivation. Mark Lepper notes that a student
with intrinsic motivation participates in his/her learning for its own sake, for the enjoyment it provides, the learning it permits, or
the feelings of accomplishment it evokes. According to Deci, one must feel a sense of self-determination as well as that of
competence through interaction with others to perceive that s/he takes the initiative in her/his own action and not to feel that
someone forces her/him to do so.

3. What is Extrinsic motivation ?

In addition, undertaking the task may be something the person feels pressured to do rather than genuinely wants to do.
There are some negative aspects of extrinsic motivation. As the learners may lose motivation and reason to do
something when rewards are no longer available, and giving external rewards to them previously with intrinsic
motivation can harm the good effect of it. However, researches show that extrinsic motivation is effective for those with
no motivation, and when it is a positive feedback.

Comparing these two types of motivation in a classroom, it becomes clear that intrinsic motivation produces more
potential benefits than does the extrinsic. Intrinsically motivated students tend to try harder and think more deeply. It is
also found by researchers that they tend to prefer i+1 when others tend to choose easier tasks.

4. What is Integrative motivation ?

McDonough noted that there are two types of integrative motivation; assimilative motivation, strong motivation to belong to the
target group, and affiliative motivation, weak motivation and a desire for wider social contact with target language speakers.

Dickinson notes: Gardner’s Integrative attitude, with its emphasis on learning the target language because one wishes to associate
with or integrate with the speaker of the language, can be perceived as a subject-specific example of intrinsic motivation. Learners
with an interactive attitude have a compelling purpose for learning which is intrinsic to a target language. Learners who are
integratively motivated seems to have a strong intrinsic motivation to learn a language.

5. What is Instrumental Motivation ?

On the other hand, if the goal is continuous, it seems possible that an instrumental motivation would also continue to be
effective. Famous research carried out in the second half of the twentieth century by Gardner and Lambert suggested that students
who felt most warmly about a language and who wanted to integrate into the culture of its speakers were more highly motivated
(and learnt more successfully) than those who were only learning language as a means to an end (e.g. getting a better Job). In other
words Integrative motivation was more powerful than Instrumental motivation.

6. One of the main tasks for teachers is to …….

It is by their attitude to class participation, their conscientiousness, their humour and their seriousness that they may
influence their students. It is by their own behaviour and enthusiasm that they may inspire.
Teachers are not, however, ultimately responsible for their students’ motivation. They can only encourage by
word and deed. Real motivation comes from within each individual.

7. Motivation and the learners’ age -

What is important for children is the teacher (the look, character, humor, ability to play with the learners, fairness, attitude towards
the learners) and what happens in the class (lessons should be fun and interesting).

8. Some ideas to foster motivation to learn in the classroom are suggested:

(1)teachers should view learners as active socialization agents capable of stimulating...learner motivation to learn,
(2)classroom climate should be valued,
(3)various task dimensions work, tasks should be moderately challenging and yet achievable,
(4) tasks with specific, short-term goals can help learners to success,
(5) teachers should offer extrinsic rewards with caution.

The main reasons students give for studying a modern language (Coleman, 1996)
1. For my future career
2. Because I like the language
3. To travel in different countries
4. To have a better understanding of the way of life in the country or countries where it is spoken
5. Because I would like to live in the country where it is spoken
6. Because I am good at it
7. Because it is an international language
8. To become a better-educated person
9. To meet a greater variety of people in my life
10. To get to know/make friends among the people who speak it

9. ATTENTION and age:

10. Attention distracters: Apart from age, there are some external factors influencing learners’ attention during the

Therefore, we may observe, that in the course of a 45-minute-lesson students’ intensity of attention changes over time.

What is the attention like during the lesson ?


The teacher’s task is to provide numerous interesting tasks to change the pace of the lesson according to the learners’ moods. It is
advisable to have some sets of exercises at hand if the learners display lack of interest in what we present to them in that very day –
which may be a rainy or stormy day, or it may be their last lesson in that day – so they crave to run fast home, or they are simply –

11. Attention influences our memory which is also very important in the process of learning – we may say that .......

Learning a language doesn’t involve ........

12. What is Declarative memory –

13. What is Procedural memory –

E.g. which finger to lift to write an O letter on the keyboard, or how hard or when to press the clutch in a car to change the gear;
recalling the correct sequence of movements when swimming backstroke – from that we can see that procedural memories occur
simultaneously and usually result in a series of concurrent and coordinated actions. This means that our brain must concurrently
remember the proper sequence of impulses send to different parts of our muscles. (in literature it is called – Parallel distributed
processing PDP). Speech also involve not one linear-sequential process but a multitude of simultaneous and complex events.

14. What is Episodic memory –

15. Stevick (1996) has presented the distinction between short-term memory (STM) and Long-term memory (LTM).

What is short-term memory (STM) ?

Unless we immediately record, rehearse, or in some other way attempt to capture this fresh information in our long-term
memory, the material is instantly lost and irretrievable. Notice that STM, not LTM, is most typically ‘the thing we forget
with.’ [division made by Stevick (1996)]Memory span for STM is much shorter than most people realize, for it lasts only a few
seconds, and never more than about 20 seconds. LTM is the much larger trove of memories and contains information we may have
acquired just a minute ago or the reminiscence of some 60 years ago.