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      The motivational dimension of language teaching

      Language Teaching

      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          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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          Most cited references 167

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          An Attributional Theory of Motivation and Emotion

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            Possible selves and academic outcomes: How and when possible selves impel action.

            Puzzled by the gap between academic attainment and academic possible selves (APSs) among low-income and minority teens, the authors hypothesized that APSs alone are not enough unless linked with plausible strategies, made to feel like "true" selves and connected with social identity. A brief intervention to link APSs with strategies, create a context in which social and personal identities felt congruent, and change the meaning associated with difficulty in pursuing APSs (n = 141 experimental, n = 123 control low-income 8th graders) increased success in moving toward APS goals: academic initiative, standardized test scores, and grades improved; and depression, absences, and in-school misbehavior declined. Effects were sustained over a 2-year follow-up and were mediated by change in possible selves.
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              The effects of cooperation and competition on intrinsic motivation and performance.

              The authors examined the effects of competition and cooperation on intrinsic motivation and performance in 4 studies. Across 3 behavioral studies that involved shooting a basketball, no differences were observed between competition and cooperation on task enjoyment or performance. However, the combination of competition and cooperation (intergroup competition) consistently led to higher levels of intrinsic motivation, and in 2 of the 3 studies, performance. In a questionnaire study, the authors replicated the positive effects of intergroup competition on enjoyment and examined process measures that might account for these effects. These findings suggest that competition and cooperation both have positive aspects and that structuring recreational activities to include both can facilitate high levels of both intrinsic motivation and performance.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Language Teaching
                Lang. Teach.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0261-4448
                1475-3049
                July 2017
                May 31 2017
                July 2017
                : 50
                : 3
                : 301-346
                Article
                10.1017/S0261444817000088
                © 2017

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