Lesson 2: Motivation

Maintaining Motivation

As noted previously, student motivation does not remain perfectly constant over time. Students tend to retain their motivation when the class content matches their goals and they have positive feelings about the target language and its speakers.


Discussion of why students lose motivation.

Duration: 01:59

Student motivation tends to be stronger when the learner has specific rather than general goals for language learning. It can be very helpful when teachers help learners develop more specific goals for language learning. Many language learners start language study with a desire to use the particular foreign language, but by the time they have studied the language for a few semesters, they have lost their original motivations and become concerned only with their grades.

Attitudes Toward a Language Affect Motivation

Motivation for language learning can be lessened when students have negative attitudes or prejudices toward the target language and/or the people who speak that language. Students may have positive feelings about learning Spanish but negative feelings about learning varieties of Spanish that are spoken within the United States. A student might want to learn Castilian Spanish but not what they refer to as "Spanglish" or "TexMex." It is unrealistic to think that prejudices towards specific languages or groups that exist outside of the classroom will not enter the classroom.

It is usually helpful to touch base with your students from time to time to be sure that they don't lose track of their reasons for learning the language while immersed in the day to day details of a language class.