Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation in Foreign Language Learning

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation in Foreign (World) Language Learning (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents are required to follow a prescribed curriculum that is meant to “fit” all learners.  Though it may be educationally sound in terms of skill building, the motivation is largely extrinsic.

  • Extrinsic Motivation: A drive to engage in an activity because of a reward to engage in the activity or consequence for not engaging.

We need a paradigm shift, particularly in terms of learning a second language.  If we provide students with opportunities to engage with the language that are more personal and interest-driven, the motivation will be much more intrinsic.

  • Intrinsic Motivation: An inner drive to engage in an activity for its own sake because there is a personal connection, interest and desire to engage.

This does not mean that students will find the intrinsic motivation to learn verb forms and noun genders.  Perhaps that will remain extrinsic to some degree.  However, regarding the actual use of the language that they are learning, students should be provided with choices to engage with the language.  Rather giving a specific prompt or project topic, leave the choice up to the students. They will be much more motivated to use the language to accomplish a task when there is “personal connection, interest, and desire to engage” than if the they are engaging in the task “because of a reward to engage in the activity or a consequence for not engaging.”

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One response to “Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation in Foreign Language Learning

  1. Pingback: A Change in Words Can Change a Student’s Mindset | World Language Classroom Resources

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