Builiding up Motivation in Speaking English

Learning a new language with all its new complexities of pronunciation, syntax and vocabulary involves a motivation. Most students who want to learn English, they do it because they see it as a means of earning more money, others want to travel abroad or to learn and more, know about the culture of English – speaking nations. This is a time when the teacher’s outlook and personality may provide the students with fresh motivation. The students must have a strong motivation in their attempt to get easily from the manipulative phase to the communicative one and continuously encourage them, otherwise their wish of speaking a fluent language will never be realized.

This is the so-called “clucking-hen” period for the teacher when he shows interest in his students often smiles (stiffness is the biggest enemy) praises them whenever necessary and shows faith in their possibilities so that they will try to succeed in doing their best.

Professor Earl Stevich from the Foreign Institute in Washington D.C. pointed out fout major classroom sources of motivation:

1. THE JOY OF DISCOVERY. In order to have lasting benefit students must be directed to the point where they make a discovery rather than have it all explained to them. As a squeal to all these ideas, the students are stimulated to make further discoveries.

2.  THE SATISFACTION OF CONTROL.  When the students are able to master new language material it will provide them a feeling of confidence and accomplishment, which is very important in sustaining their enthusiasm.

3.   THE JOY OF REMEMBERANCE. This is a psychological test, namely during some classes, students may be given materials from an earlier stage so that they can do something they already know well  it is an illustration of how much progress they have made.

4.   THE ELATION OF USE. This elation comes from a good communication with native speakers. This can be done through contact with the native speakers, writing to a pen-pas friend or join the English Summer School that is yearly organized with British students from Cambridge University.

Once the students develop a skillfully way to speak they are motivated to express themselves in English, use a live conversation, be spontaneous. A conversation must be first of all dynamic, have short sentences and use an every day subject, so that the students get closer to it.

As it is obvious, motivation is crucial and makes the students want to converse because as Wilga Rivers said “Students cannot be set down in groups, or sent off in pairs, and told them to interact in the foreign language”. Motivation to communicate must be aroused. Occasionally some fortuitous incident or combination of personalities will cause a desire to communicate something in the foreign language but mostly it will need to be fostered by the intrinsic interest of the task proposed for the students’ concern.

As long as we know that motivation is basic the teacher must be aware of the way he introduces his conversation. No teacher wants to dictate  a particular method, but he encourages strategies that are compatible with his teaching style, certain needs of his students. At this stage, teachers work with books closed so the students have a chance to listen to the model before seeing it in print, others work with the books open for the model conversation. It is a good opportunity to understand and practice the model before attempting the exercises. In the exercise, students have to place new content into the contextual framework. In the exercise that follows the student’s pair  up and work “side by side” placing new content into the given conversational framework. This “side by side” practice can take many forms. Some teachers work only with two students at a time when presenting the conversation to the class. Other teachers prefer the small groups of students. This is a good practice that can help the teacher address to the different levels of ability. While working in groups the teacher may devote a greater attention to his students who need help and give his capable students to learn and assist each other.


prof. Cristina Laura Ianoși

Școala Gimnazială Nr. 3, Lupeni (Hunedoara) , România
Profil iTeach: iteach.ro/profesor/cristina.ianosi

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