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the perceptions of teachers and their young learners on motivational strategies in english classrooms a case study at chu van an primary school

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HO CHI MINH CITY OPEN UNIVERSITY

THE PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS AND THEIR
YOUNG LEARNERS ON MOTIVATIONAL
STRATEGIES IN ENGLISH CLASSROOMS: A CASE
STUDY AT CHU VAN AN PRIMARY SCHOOL

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Master of Arts in TESOL

Submitted by: DINH THI CAM LOAN
Supervisor: Dr. LE HOANG DUNG

HO CHI MINH City, October 2017


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HO CHI MINH CITY OPEN UNIVERSITY

Đinh Thị Cẩm Loan

THE PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS AND THEIR
YOUNG LEARNERS ON MOTIVATIONAL
STRATEGIES IN ENGLISH CLASSROOMS: A CASE
STUDY AT CHU VAN AN PRIMARY SCHOOL
Major: TESOL
Code: 60140111
A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS (TESOL)

Supervised by
LE HOANG DUNG, PHD

Ho Chi Minh City, 2017


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STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP

I declare this thesis entitled “THE PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS AND
THEIR YOUNG LEARNERS ON MOTIVATIONAL STRATEGIES IN
ENGLISH CLASSROOMS: A CASE STUDY AT CHU VAN AN PRIMARY
SCHOOL” is the result of my own work except as cited in the reference.

The thesis has not been accepted for any degree and it is not currently submitted in
candidature of any other degree.
Ho Chi Minh City, 2017

Dinh Thi Cam Loan


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my
supervisor, Dr. Le Hoang Dung. I am very grateful for his help, suggestions and
advise on various drafts of this thesis. Without his patience and valuable help, I
would not have finished this thesis on schedule.
I would like to express my thanks to the principal, all teachers and learners at


Chu Van An primary school who participated in my study. They facilitated my data
collection, so I could successfully collect the data.
I would also like to express my thanks to my husband for his great support
and help. Without his encouragement and love, I could not have been able to finish
this thesis.


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ABSTRACT
The vital role of motivation in teaching and learning English is emphasized
and has been the subject of many studies for years. Several studies have been
conducted to find out the most effective motivational strategies in different contexts
from primary schools to universities in many countries. However, in Vietnam, the
studies on students’ motivation and teachers’ motivational strategies mainly focus
on the students in high schools or universities, which lacks the concentration on
young learners, who are from seven to twelve years old, at primary schools.
Case study is used to explore both teachers’ perceptions and their young
learners’ perceptions on motivational strategies in English classrooms at Chu Van
An primary school. 212 young learners and their two teachers of English
participated in the questionnaires to learners and interview to teachers.
The study found that the young learners were extrinsically motivated by
praise, rewards, grades and celebration of their success and accomplishment. While
difficult tasks were considered to be obstacles to learners, the learners did not think
that. For teacher behaviors towards learners, teacher care was the most favorite
thing to learners while comparison between learners and their classmates and being
put in the spotlight unexpectedly were two unfavorable practices from learners’
perceptions. Additionally, the teachers employed a variety of strategies relating to
learners’ active participation, attention and self-confidence as well as interaction in
learning, pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere and teacher behaviors in
order to motivate their young learners. However, moving when doing tasks, visual
aids, practice of English in real life situations, encouragement to the learners to take
risks and be not afraid of making mistakes did not get much attention of the
teachers. Some suggestions which were based on the findings of this study were
made for the teachers to motivate their learners better.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP ......................................................................................... i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT .................................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ....................................................................................................................... iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ...................................................................................................... iii
LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................. vii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION........................................................................................... 1
1.1 Background of the study .............................................................................................. 1
1.2 The context of the study............................................................................................... 4
1.3 The aims of the study .................................................................................................. 5
1.4 Significance of the study .............................................................................................. 6
1.5 The outline of the thesis ............................................................................................... 6
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................................. 7
2.1 Definitions of terms .................................................................................................... 7
2.1.1 Definition of motivation ........................................................................................ 7
2.1.2 Definition of motivational strategies........................................................................ 9
2.2 Motivation in language learning.................................................................................. 10
2.3 Sources of motivation of young language learners at primary schools.............................. 11
2.4 Motivational strategies in teaching English to young learners at primary schools ............. 14
2.4.1 Stimulating young learners’ active participation ..................................................... 14
2.4.2 Maintaining young learners’ attention ................................................................... 16
2.4.3 Building learners’ self-confidence......................................................................... 18
2.4.4 Integrating interaction into teaching young learners ................................................ 20
2.4.5 Creating pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere .......................................... 21
2.4.6 Displaying appropriate teacher behaviors ............................................................... 23


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CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................ 28
3.1 Research design ........................................................................................................ 28
3.2 Sampling ................................................................................................................. 29
3.2.1 Setting of the study ............................................................................................. 29
3.2.2 Participants ....................................................................................................... 29
3.2.2.1 Young learner respondents............................................................................. 29
3.2.2.2 Teacher respondents ..................................................................................... 30
3.3 Research tools .......................................................................................................... 30
3.3.1 Questionnaire to learners ..................................................................................... 30
3.3.2 Interview to teachers ........................................................................................... 30
3.4 Data collection procedure .......................................................................................... 31
3.4.1 Procedure for collecting questionnaires to learner respondents ................................. 31
3.4.2 Procedure for interviewing teacher respondents ...................................................... 31
3.5 Data analysis ............................................................................................................ 32
CHAPTER 4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ...................................................................... 34
4.1 Data analysis ............................................................................................................ 34
4.1.1 Results of questionnaire to learners ....................................................................... 34
4.1.1.1 Learners’ perceptions on strategies to stimulate their active participation............. 34
4.1.1.2 Learners’ perceptions on teachers’ practices to maintain learners’ attention ......... 36
4.1.1.3 Learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ strategies to build learners’ self-confidence
............................................................................................................................. 37
4.1.1.4 Learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ strategies to integrate interaction into
learning English ...................................................................................................... 39
4.1.1.5 Learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ strategies to create pleasant and supportive
classroom atmosphere .............................................................................................. 40
4.1.1.6 Learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ behaviors ............................................ 41
4.1.2 Results of interviews to teachers ........................................................................... 44


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4.1.2.1 Young learners’ motivation at Chu Van An primary school from their teachers’
perceptions ............................................................................................................. 44
4.1.2.2 Teachers’ strategies to stimulate their learners’ active participation in classroom .. 45
4.1.2.3 Teachers’ strategies to maintain their learners’ attention .................................... 47
4.1.2.4 Teachers’ strategies to build their learners’ self-confidence................................ 48
4.1.2.5 Teachers’ strategies to integrate interaction into their teaching ........................... 49
4.1.2.6 Teachers’ strategies to create pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere ....... 50
4.1.2.7 Teachers’ strategies to show their appropriate behaviors towards their learners .... 51
4.1.2.8 Other teachers’ suggested strategies ................................................................ 53
4.1.2.9 Summary of results of interview for teacher respondents ................................... 54
4.2 Discussion of results.................................................................................................. 56
4.3 Summary of major findings ........................................................................................ 62
CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS ....................................................... 65
5.1 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 65
5.2 Suggestions .............................................................................................................. 67
5.3 Limitation and recommendations ................................................................................ 70
5.4 Chapter summary ...................................................................................................... 70
REFERENCES.................................................................................................................. 72
APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................... 79
APPENDIX B ................................................................................................................... 83
APPENDIX C ................................................................................................................... 85


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LIST OF TABLES
Pages
Table 2.1 The conceptual framework of this study .................................................26
Table 3.1 Distribution of learner respondents by gender and class ........................29
Table 4.1 Strategies to stimulate learners’ activeness ............................................35
Table 4.2 Strategies to maintain learners’ attention ................................................36
Table 4.3 Strategies to build learners’ self-confidence ..........................................38
Table 4.4 Strategies to integrate interaction into teaching .....................................39
Table 4.5 Strategies to create pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere ......40
Table 4.6 Strategies to display appropriate teacher behaviors ...............................42
Table 4.7 Summary of learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ motivational
strategies ..................................................................................................................43
Table 4.8 Results of interview for teacher respondents .......................................... 56


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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
This chapter presents the background of the study so that the research gap
and the need of the study are drawn out. Following that is the aims of the research,
the research questions, and the significance of the study.
1.1 Background of the study
Motivation, which is defined as the motives to initiate the learning process
and then becomes a sustaining force to maintain learning to get the target, is one of
the most crucial factors to the success of L2 learning (Astuti, 2013). The role of
motivation has been the subject of research for years. It is stated that motivation
does have effects on students’ achievement and proficiency when learning a
language (Orío, 2013). A study conducted by Bernard in 2010 to explore the
relationship between motivation, classroom activities and student outcomes from
elementary to intermediate level at Carnegie Mellon University found that
motivation had positive effects on students’ learning outcome. Other research also
emphasized the importance of motivation on students’ achievement, so it is
suggested that teachers need to apply strategies to enhance students’ motivation.
How to motivate students in the language classroom is “the most pressing
question related to motivation” (Dornyei, 2001s, p.52). Several studies have been
carried out in different contexts to find out strategies which teachers can employ to
increase student motivation (Ozturk and Ok, 2014; Ruesch, 2009, Alshehri 2013,
Wong 2014, Ruesch et. al 2012).

However, almost all of them used the

questionnaires to examine the perspectives and compare between students’ and
teachers’ perspectives to make a conclusion of the effectiveness of motivational
strategies, which is assumed to lack empirical evidence. In short, the importance of
motivation in learning a language is recognized but it is a shortage when studies of
this subject just base on the perceptions of students and teachers to withdraw the
conclusion of positive impacts of motivational strategies. It needs to an empirical


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research to convincingly conclude the positive effects of teachers’ motivational
strategies on student motivation.
Students in different age groups have different perceptions on motivational
strategies. Astuti did a study in 2013 and found out two groups of motivational
strategies which were preferred by high school students. Teacher rapport with
students, which includes encouragement for students, building of trust and respect
with students, is the first practice to motivate students to learn. The second one is
teachers’ planning decision, which consists of the kinds of classroom activities, the
way of giving feedback, the management of the classroom and the choice of
learning resources. According to high school students in Astuti’s (2013) study, they
are motivated when having rapport with their teachers as well as the way their
teachers make plans for the lessons and classroom activities. On the other hand,
another study in secondary school context reveals different perceptions of students
on their teachers’ motivational strategies. Grade nine students in Cho and Teo’s
(2013) study like innovative strategies, in which the pleasant and relaxed
atmosphere in class is the very first preferred strategy. Using dictionary, speaking
students’ mother tongue, teachers’ recognition of students’ efforts and compliments
of students’ success, playing games, using other kinds of resources and other
materials are the favorable strategies for ninth grade students.

The study of

Juriševič and Pižorn in 2013 carried out at a primary school showed a number of
differences in the perceptions of young language learners on their teachers’
motivational strategies. For young learners at the primary school, the most
motivating thing to do in their language class is doing activities involving playing
while they dislike reading or writing most. It can be concluded that students who
are in different age group have different preference for strategies which can
motivate them to learn. Particularly, young language learners, who are from seven
to eleven years old, have more special characteristics than the older, such as they
are more curious, more active in speaking the target language even though they do
not understand thorough the meanings or they are really disciplined and obedient,


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etc. These features of young learners are interesting to study the factors that can
motivate them. Additionally, it is suggested that further research should investigate
the preference of motivational strategies of young students to see the differences
from other studies (Cho and Teo, 2013). It is necessary to conduct studies on
perceptions of young language learners on their teachers’ motivational strategies.
In the context of Vietnam, several studies on students’ motivation and
strategies to motivate students to learn English have been conducted (Tran, 2007;
Doan, 2011; Phan, 2010; Luu, 2011; Nguyen, 2015). However, those studies mainly
focus on the participants at the context of universities, who are mature enough to
consider the importance of English in their learning process and their future.
Nguyen (2015) concludes that university students are mainly extrinsically
motivated because they study English for the purposes of future career and
international communication. Young learners at primary school who are at the
beginning stage of learning English do not have the purposes of future career or
international communication as their motivation to learn English. Moreover, the
ways young learners learn are different from older ones because of their
characteristics (Harmer, 2007). A study to examine the perceptions of young
learners at primary schools in the context of Vietnam is a need.
In general, the importance of motivation in language teaching and learning
English is emphasized. Young language learners have characteristics which differ
from older students, so the young ones have different perceptions on strategies
which can motivate them to learn English. In the context of Vietnam, the studies
focusing on the participants of young learners are not as many as ones on older
students. It is hard for teachers of English at primary schools to apply findings of
research to teach their young learners because of the lack of studies on learners’
motivation at primary school. It raises a need to carry out a study on motivational
strategies for young language learners at primary schools in Vietnam.


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1.2 The context of the study
Just as many Asian countries, English is a compulsory subject from grade six
to grade twelve in Vietnam for years. In 2010, the Ministry of Education and
Training of Viet Nam (MOET) issued a policy called the National Foreign
Language 2020 Project (NFL 2020), which states that English is a subject at
primary schools from grade three at 94 primary schools in 20 cities and provinces in
Vietnam. This project requires primary school teachers of English to teach English
no more than 18 periods per week and five more periods for professional training.
NFL 2020 enhances the widespread of English to young learners at primary level.
However, English language teachers at primary schools have to face some
challenges when teaching young learners. Firstly, in Vietnam the universities which
train education mainly concentrate on training teachers to teach students who are
from secondary school to universities. The major of pedagogy for pre-service
teachers to teach English for young learners is not particularly popular. Teachers of
English who are teaching at primary schools are usually transferred from secondary
schools. Although extra professional training for primary school teachers of English
is provided, it is not sufficient. This results in the lack of teachers’ understanding of
learners’ characteristics and psychology, so it is hard to find the best methods to
motivate primary school learners to learn English. Secondly, except in big cities,
primary schools in other provinces in Vietnam seem to lack supportive educational
technology or aids. However, there is a need of technology and other aids in
teaching young primary school learners because they have different learning style
from older students. They tend to learn from playing, seeing, touching, interacting
rather than memorizing rules (Harmer, 2007). It is necessary for primary language
teachers to use visual aids to foster students’ learning, but primary schools in many
provinces do not have those aids. Generally, lack of training for teachers of English
to teach young learners at primary schools and lack of supportive aids are some
obstacles for teaching language at primary schools.


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In short, in the field of motivation research, although many studies have been
conducted on young learners’ motivation at primary schools, those studies are in
foreign countries. In the context of Vietnam, the studies on students’ motivation are
mainly at the context of universities, which lacks the focus on young learners’
motivation at primary schools. Moreover, most of the teachers of English at primary
schools are trained to teach students from secondary schools because of the lack of
training for pre-service teachers to teach English for learners at primary schools.
Although, the teachers have some extra training courses of teaching young learners,
they are not sufficient. This leads to the result of teachers’ shortage of
understanding of the characteristics of young learners, so it is hard for teachers to
motivate their learners at primary schools. Conducting this study to find out the
motivational strategies that young learners at primary school prefer and make them
motivated is in need. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute a part
to help language teachers understand more the characteristics of their primary
young learners and the ways learners prefer to motivate them in their English
classes.
1.3 The aims of the study
The study mainly aims at the perception of primary school learners on
motivational strategies to find out which strategies learners prefer and dislike, so
that their teachers can use those findings to assist their teaching. In order to get that
prime aim, the study also investigates the uses of teachers’ motivational strategies
and their thinking of their learners’ motivation. These purposes of study can fill in
the gap in the field of motivation research in Vietnam. Consequently, the teachers of
English at primary schools can create strategies which are based on young learners’
characteristics to motivate them. There are two research questions as following:
1. What are young learners’ perceptions on their teachers’ motivational
strategies in English classrooms at Chu Van An primary school?


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2. What are teachers’ perceptions on their learners’ motivation and their
practices to motivate their young learners in English classrooms at Chu Van An
primary school?
1.4 Significance of the study
At Chu Van An primary school, despite the fact that the teachers of English
are trying their best efforts to employ several strategies to help their learners learn
English effectively, the teachers have some difficulties in their teaching. This study
is carried out at this primary school in order to find out the practices that young
learners prefer, so the teachers can understand their learners’ thinking in order to
apply the suitable strategies to motivate their learners.
1.5 Organization of the thesis
This thesis will be presented in five chapters. The first chapter provides the
overview of the study by showing the background, the context of the study, the
aims, the research questions and significance of the study. The second chapter is the
literature review, in which the theories of motivation and motivational strategies in
language teaching and learning are presented. Additionally, the conceptual
framework of this study is built up on the foundation of young learners’
characteristics. Chapter three describes the research methodology including the
research design, the sampling, research tools, procedures of data collection and data
analysis of this study. Chapter four presents the analysis of data and the discussion
of the results to get the findings of this study. Chapter five consists of the
conclusion, suggestions, limitation and also some recommendations for further
research.


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CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter presents the review of literature, beginning with the definitions
of terms and then the role of motivation in language teaching and learning, sources
of motivation of young language learners at primary schools. The conceptual
framework of this study is followed after the review of a variety of motivational
strategies in teaching English to young learners.
2.1 Definitions of terms
2.1.1 Definition of motivation
Motivation is one of the factors which leads to the success of someone,
“without sufficient motivation, even individuals with the most remarkable abilities
cannot accomplish long-term goals” (Dornyei and Csizer, 1998, p.203).

It is

emphasized that motivation has such an important role in every area of life, so it
becomes the item which has been studied for ages. The definition of motivation is
varied depending on the view of the field of research.
From the perspectives of psychological view, Harmer (2001, p.51) views
motivation as “some kind of internal drive which pushes someone to do things in
order to achieve something”. It implies that motivation is something inside human
beings which creates a push to promote an activity to attain a goal. From another
view, Lowen and Reinder (2011) defines motivation is the combination of desire
and incentive to carry out a specific activity (as cited in Al-Ghamdi, 2014). This
definition also states that motivation comes from the inside of a person, which is in
form of desire and incentive. Moreover, Dörnyei (2001, p.8) states that motivation
is “why people decide to do something, how long they are willing to sustain the
activity and how hard they are going to pursue it.” This definition views motivation
in a longer process which is not generally the internal drive, the wish and the
encouragement to start an activity but also the effort of someone to pursue the


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activity. It can be argued that motivation is considered to get started from the inner
side of someone, but the role of outside factors is somehow neglected.
Mentioning the effects of outside elements to someone’s motivation,
Ushioda (2006, p.154) views motivation “is not located solely within the individual
but it socially distributed” (as cited in Ruesch, 2009). The source of motivation of a
person is from himself and from the outside elements. Two sources of motivation,
which are intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, were proposed in the study
of Ryan and Deci in 2000. It can be concluded that motivation is not only from the
inner desire but also affected by outside factors which creates a push for someone to
start an activity, to have encouragement and to put efforts in his action to achieve
his goal.
Those definitions of motivation only consider motivations as something
appears at the beginning of the process of action, so the questions raised here is that
whether motivation exists in the long run, along with the process of carrying out the
activity or not. In a different field, teaching and learning language, Dörnyei and
Cheng (2007) defines motivation as “an impetus to generate learning initially and
later as a sustaining force to the tedious process of acquiring a target language.”
Motivation plays as a stimulus to initiate the action of learning and then it comes
along with the process of learning as a longstanding element to ensure the
continuation of the action. This definition adds in more details for the understanding
of motivation. Learning a language is a long run process, so motivation exists along
with the process and becomes a sustaining encouragement for students to get the
goal.
No matter how important motivation plays in the field of research, the exact
meaning of motivation is diverse. Every researcher has his own understanding of
motivation, but they share some common opinions about motivation. Motivation is
generally defined as something which stimulates someone to initiate an action,
gives him a reason to pursue the goal with effort.


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2.1.2 Definition of motivational strategies
Because motivation is the very first thing to create a push for a person to start
an activity, its role is important in every aspect of human life. In the field of
language teaching and learning, how to motivate students in language classrooms is
the most pressing question, so many researchers have proposed the understanding of
motivational strategies.
Dörnyei (2001, p.28) defines motivational strategies as the “techniques that
promote the individual’s goal related behavior…Motivational strategies refer to
those motivational influences that are consciously exerted to achieve some
systematic and enduring positive effect.” This definition implies that motivational
strategies are some particular ways that teachers can employ to get students to set
the goal and have the right behaviors to reach that goal. However, motivational
strategies in this definition are generally described as motivational influences,
which is not mentioned the sources of those influences.
Whether the motivational influences are from students or from their teachers
or someone else is not written about in the above definition. Ushioda (2006, p.154)
states that motivation is not “located solely within the individual but is socially
distributed, created within cultural systems of activities involving the mediation of
others” (as cited in Ruesch, 2009). This means that motivation is not only from
inside students but also from other outside elements. The activities in class, the
culture of the language students are learning, the teachers and so on play a part in
contributing to students’ motivation. It can be argued that motivational strategies
should be related to various sources from students themselves and other people.
Guilloteaux (2008, p.28) adds some more aspects for the definition of
motivational strategies, which is motivational strategies refer to “instructional
interventions applied by the teacher to elicit and stimulate students’ motivation and
self-regulating strategies that are used purposefully by individual students to
manage the level of their own motivation.”

This suggests that motivational


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strategies are from the teachers’ application of interventions to stimulate students’
motivation. Motivation, however, is considered to be the motives that students
already have inside their mind to get their purposes before learning a language and
also the motives that students raise during learning that language. It can be
concluded that motivational strategies are not only interventions teachers implement
in the class to help students discover, strengthen and maintain their motivation to
learn a language in classroom, but also the strategies that individual students selfemploy to promote and manage their motivation.
In brief, motivational strategies in learning, coming from two sources, the
students themselves and the teachers, are techniques teachers implement to exploit
students’ motivation, then develop and maintain it for students to get their goal.
Whatever sources they are, the function of motivational strategies are to elicit,
stimulate and maintain students’ motivation to continue learning in order to get the
goal they want.
2.2 Motivation in language learning
As mentioned above, motivation is an issue that many researchers care and
conduct studies on it, so the role of motivation in language learning is a matter that
researchers cannot ignore. Ellis (2008, p.677) claims that “no single individual
different factor in language learning has received as much attention as motivation”
(as cited in Zareian and Jodaei, 2015). Other factors contributing to the learning
process are important, but motivation is still the prior element in learning languages.
The elements leading to the success of learning a language are varied. It is
the combination of many factors, such as effort, time, desire, etc., in which
motivation is considered a key factor. If there is lack of motivation, the goal of
success cannot be reached. This is because motivation “provides the primary
impetus to initiate L2 learning and later the driving force to sustain the long and
often tedious learning process” (Dörnyei, 2005, p.65). Motivation is the very first


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motive for a person to start his learning and then motivation plays as a longstanding
encouragement for that person to persist with his learning.
In addition, the achievement of a student when studying a language is the
result of motivation. Masgoret and Gardner (2003, p.170) say that motivation is
“responsible for achievement in the second language” (as cited in Orío, 2013). To
succeed in learning, students must have motivation to learn first because this is the
main motive to push them move forward to in the process of learning. Motivation is
accountable for the success of students. Bernaus et al. (2009) conducts a research on
the relation between teacher motivation, strategy use, student motivation and
student achievement. The study was done at Catalan Autonomous Community in
Spain with the participation of 31 teachers and 694 students. The participants
completed questionnaires, one for teachers and one for students. The study revealed
that teachers’ motivation did have an effect on their strategies used in the classroom
and teachers’ strategies really affected students’ motivation and their achievement
in learning second language. Furthermore, Bernard (2010) does a study to find out
the relationship between motivation, classroom activities and student outcomes.
There were 151 students from Elementary to Intermediate Level at Carnegie Mellon
University participating in the research. All participants did a survey which
consisted of three parts, namely a classroom activity inventory, a motivation
questionnaire and a demographic and outcomes page. The study showed that
students’ motivation can affect student outcomes and fun activities can enhance
students’ interests. Generally, the success of students when studying a language
cannot be completed without students’ motivation. In short, it is emphasized that the
role of students’ motivation in language learning is vital to the success of students.
2.3 Sources of motivation of young language learners at primary schools
Young learners’ motivation can come from several sources, like teachers,
parents, peers, the environment or inside learners themselves. According to the self-


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determination theory which is built by Ryan and Deci (2000), there are mainly two
sources of motivation, namely intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is defined as the impetus to engage in a task because of
the inherent interest, enjoyment and meaningfulness that a person feels about that
task (Silverstein, 2010). The source of motivation to do an activity here comes from
the inside of human mind, so an activity is carried out when a person finds that
activity interesting, enjoyable or satisfying. For example, when a student starts to
learn a new language, he thinks that the new one is different from his mother
tongue, so he is curious about it, wants to explore it. Mastering the new language
brings him the feeling of satisfaction. Another example is reading a book can make
a learner interested in the information in that book or the content of the book is
exciting so that a learner always likes spending time exploring it. Satisfaction,
enjoyment, interest in doing an activity is the intrinsic push to motivate someone to
start an action and put effort in it to get the goal.
On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is the source which comes from the
outside of learners. Learners who are extrinsically motivated learn English for the
sake of rewards, grades, praises that are not inherently associated with the learning
itself (Ng and Ng, 2015). It is implied that praise, rewards, grades and other outside
factors are the motives to push learners to learn a language instead of learners’ inner
interest, enjoyment or satisfaction. For instance, when a learner studies English hard
to get high marks to be proud in front of his friends or to meet the requirement of
his parents, he does not feel English interesting or enjoyable. Moreover, rewards
and punishments are two popular forms of extrinsic motivation. A teacher, for
example, wants his learners to learn vocabularies every day so he asks them to pay a
sum of money as a form of punishment for not learning. On the contrary, if the
learners learn as he said, they will get a reward like candy, high mark, a drink and
so on. This results in the learners making an effort to do that task because he wants
to avoid trouble or to get tangible or intangible rewards instead of his enjoyment in


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learning. The learners with extrinsic motivation are somehow forced to do the
activity. In short, extrinsically motivated learning is from the outside of learners to
get rewards, praise, and grades or to avoid punishment.
The definitions of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation clearly
explain the concept of sources of motivation. The motivation which is from the
interest and satisfaction of a person are intrinsic, and vice versa, other separable
effects are extrinsic. Both of them contribute to learners’ motivation to generate the
action of learning. However, intrinsic motivation is highly evaluated than extrinsic
motivation. Levesque et al. (2010) states that individuals who have intrinsic
motivation to do an activity often get higher positive outcomes than individuals
with extrinsic motivation. The motivation to learn a language of a learner which
derives from his or her satisfaction, interest or enjoyment is fruitful because this
kind of motivation initiates learning, sustains it and lasts longer in the learner’s
mind. On the contrary, extrinsically motivated learners get motivation from rewards
or punishments from their teachers or parents, which leads to the risk that someday
those rewards or punishments no longer exist or are not meaningful to learners, so
they can lose motivation and quit the process of learning. It is implied that
extrinsically motivated learners may stop learning when rewards, praise, grades and
punishments end. Korb (2014) also claims that “extrinsic motivation can be
valuable for influencing short-term behavior. However, extrinsic motivation rarely
impacts long-term behavior unless the extrinsic rewards or punishment continues
indefinitely” (p.3). Intrinsic motivation may be affected negatively by extrinsic
motivation. When students make an effort to complete the task because they are
motivated extrinsically, their intrinsic motives become little while extrinsic ones get
bigger, which eventually replace the intrinsic motives. Generally, intrinsic
motivation outweighs extrinsic motivation.
To sum up, two types of motivation, namely extrinsic motivation from
outside of learners and intrinsic motivation from inside of learners, exist parallel,


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but intrinsic motivation is more important than extrinsic motivation because it goes
along with the long-term process of learning and it also creates the interest,
enjoyable, entertainment or fun for learners.
2.4 Motivational strategies in teaching English to young learners at primary
schools
Young learners are those whose ages are from seven to twelve (Djigunovic,
2012). At the primary school, young learners are from grade two to grade five.
Because different age groups of learners have different characteristics, the learning
style of young learners is affected by their characteristics. For example, adult
learners can learn grammar by memorizing rules, while young learners do not have
enough concentration and memory to learn and remember rules but they have to
learn through rhythm, songs, pictures, for instance. In order to draw out
motivational strategies to motivate young learners, teachers need to understand who
young learners are and how their characteristics are different from older learners.
The following parts firstly discuss the characteristics of young learners, then basing
on those characteristics, some hypothetical motivational strategies will be proposed.
2.4.1 Stimulating young learners’ active participation
One characteristic of young learners is that they have a lot of energy so they
are very active (Badriah, 2011). The young ones are always curious about
everything around them, so it is understandable why they actively move around to
explore everything. Furthermore, young language learners are less shy than older
ones (Demetriou, 2014), they can respond when they do not completely understand
the questions. Thanks to those characteristics, there are more advantages in learning
a language of young learners than older students. Young learners are likely to use
the language they are taught in the class even though there are mistakes while many
secondary or high school students are shy to practice using English. When learning
a new word or phrase, for example, young learners can eagerly repeat it many times
to remember it. Cameron (2001) also states that young learners have a go at an


15

activity even when they don’t understand why and how. They can respond to their
teacher’s talk even if they do not thoroughly understand the meaning of the whole
sentence, so the teachers are able to motivate learners to talk easily. Young learners’
activeness is a factor that teachers can take advantage of to motivate learners to
learn English in their class.
Some strategies are suggested to stimulate young learners’ activeness in
order to motivate them to actively participate in classroom activities. As young
language learners are full of energy and always active, playing is the very first
practice to stimulate their active participation in class. Joining in playful activities,
the intrinsic motivation of learners is positively affected (Bacha, n.d). Playing does
have an effect on learners’ intrinsic motivation, because learners feel relaxed,
excited, and enjoyable when they learn English through playing. Moreover, in Le’s
study in 2013, it was found that students can review, remember words thanks to
playing. It implies that young learners can learn English words easier when their
teachers provide games relating to English words to play. Playing includes games,
puzzles, drawing, physical movement and so on. The first strategy to stimulate
learners’ active participation in class is playing.
Additionally, Dörnyei (2001) proposes that students cannot work
individually all the time, so embracing pair work, group work or whole class
assignments are necessary to refresh students and also make students more
collaborative with other classmates. Pressley et al. (2003) states that cooperation in
learning enhances learners’ motivation and achievement. It is suggested that the
given tasks should be large enough so learners cannot complete them individually
but have to work cooperatively. Pair work, group work or whole class activities are
necessary to motivate young learners. While working in pairs and groups, it is
advisable to have some competition between those pairs and groups. Rehman and
Haider (2013) said that teachers should develop competition between students
because positive competition can enhance learners’ motivation. Thanks to


16

competition, students will increase their hard work and learn knowledge from other
classmates.
In short, stimulating young learners’ active participation is the first practice
to motivate learners in English classroom. Pair work, group work or whole class
activities, competition between pairs, groups, playing during learning are some
strategies to stimulate learners’ active participation.
2.4.2 Maintaining young learners’ attention
Another characteristic of young language learners is curiosity. Len et al.
(2016) states that young learners are always curious about the world around them so
they always ask why. The characteristic of curiosity is advantageous for learners’
learning because “curiosity prepares the brain for learning” (Stenger, 2014, p.1).
When learners are curious about something, their brains are able to retain any
information that learners do not expect. For example, when solving a math problem,
if the learner is curious about finding a solution, he can recall many math formulas
that he learnt long time ago and almost forgot it. Curiosity is one characteristic of
young learners which teachers can make use of when teaching English.
Curiosity is good for learners in learning because young learners would
explore, discover new things when they are curious about those things, but this will
distract them when learning. Brewster et al. (2008) claimes that the attention span of
young learners is short, so they easily get bored and lose interest in the activities (as
cited in Badriah, 2011). It is suggested that for primary school learners, the time for
an activity should be about 10 to 15 minutes long, after this period of time, students
will gradually be distracted and bored (Shin, 2006). When learners do not have
attention on the activities, it is difficult for their teachers to motivate them. The
learners will focus on something else rather than the lesson while the teacher is
trying their effort to teach them. In short, being curious to explore new things and
being enthusiastic of learning new things is a great advantage for young learners to
be motivated in class, but young learners do not have long attention span on one


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