Promoting Motivation For Language Learning Through Autonomy Education Essay

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Autonomy in second language learners can builds up on a ground of good relationship between teacher and learner which in turn enhances the psychological quality that leads people to achieve language learning goal, which is called motivation. The key to understanding why autonomy training works in some spheres but does not work in an apparently similar environments is studying why and how motivation level fluctuates and its relationship with promoting autonomy as an urgent concern of the modern age. For example, the question of power and status is important in this relationship. In many educational systems, there is a big gap between students and teachers in terms of power. Several factors may alter learners' direction, such as the culture of the society where they live in, but whatever are the causes, teachers and learners interpret their privileges and responsibilities according to a set of power relations and as Wright (1987) asserts the power distribution tends to be far from equal in groups which can be summarised in three general technique of forcing, rewarding and motivating. The first one is based on reprimands while the second one is based on incentives. The third one is an entirely different relationship which is so significant to become the focus of this paper. In this way, teachers promote the dedication and curiosity needed by students to take control of their learning processes and manage their state. Looking back at these three options, it is of great substance to think seriously about engaging teachers and students in nurturing of learner motivation, because it is proved to be the most useful and positive relationship between teachers and learners that can provide a suitable setting for autonomy development to prosper and vice versa, i.e. learner autonomy to facilitate and contribute to promoting motivation. In this paper and within its limited scope, terminology and definitions are explained initially leading to clarifying the context of both motivation and autonomy as concepts in second language learning and teaching. This is followed by a brief presentation of some important theories and models in research. Finally a detailed discussion of contribution between learner autonomy and motivation will bring the discussion to a conclusion.

Terminology and definitions

Learner Motivation

As a learner characteristic affecting language learning (Naiman, et al, 1996: 8), motivation has long been recognised and researched, so that definitions of motivation are amazingly standardized across a range of disciplines and only differ in levels of details. A straightforward definition of motivation, rooted in a Latin term meaning 'move', is the type of internal drive that compels learners to do something. It is a continuing process of a goal-oriented physical or mental involvement (Pintrich & Schunk, 1996: 4-5). Motivation is a distinguished feeling that has been described in mechanistic terms earlier as needs fulfilment (Maslow, 1987). In contrast, later definitions are influenced by cognitive psychology and so forth but as the definitions narrow down to be discipline specific, motivation is conceptualised less homogeneously. In second language studies, as Crookes and Schmidt (1991) assert, motivation is still a broad notion rather than a particular construct. McDonough (1995) implies that motivation is often used as a general cover term to include a number of sometimes separate concepts. Whatever is the case; motivation has been usually associated with and measured by proficiency. It is also defined as producing "engagement in and persistence with the learning task" (Crookes & Schmidt, 1991). A summary of definitions suggested by Mitchell (1982) is in line with the definition proposed by Williams and Burden (1997). Mitchell defines motivation as "psychological processes that cause arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal-related" (Mitchell, 1982: 81).

Traditionally motivation has two types, integrative and instrumental. Integrative Motivation is known as the learner's tendency to consider the purpose of learning a second language (Crookes and Schmidt, 1991). It implies that learner's constructive attitude in the direction of the target language people and the aspiration to be a part and parcel of the community that speaks that language. The second type of motivation is instrumental motivation that Hudson (2000) described as the aspiration to get hold of some practical or concrete reward from the study of a language. This type of motivation is the grounds for rewards or to increase a kind of social or economic incentive through accomplishment and success in learning a language. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations simply refer to the motivation from within as opposed to motivation from without, respectively. So often, they are used interchangeably with integrative and instrumental motivations, respectively, despite being technically different.

Learner autonomy

Leaner autonomy is achieved when the dependence on the teacher gets replaced with taking responsibility for their own learning by the learners. This is considered as a natural learning practice in which learners themselves determine the objectives, progress and evaluation of their own learning (Holec, 1981). Little (1990, 1991) sees autonomy as the learner's capacity to reflect, decide and act independently while Dickinson (1993) has a slightly different definition for autonomy as a situation in which the learners take charge of all their learning decisions and their implementation. Dam (1995) takes autonomy as a kind of learner readiness to be responsible for own learning suited to own needs and purposes. Also Benson (2001) considers autonomy as recognition of the rights of learners within an educational system. Oxford (in Palfreyman and Smith, 2003:75) mentions the conflict of definition in learning autonomy and the confusion between its concept and the concept of self directed learning.

Motivation and Autonomy in Second Language Learning Context

Motivation plays a crucial role in determining success of language learning, regardless of what constitutes the ultimate objective of language learning, whether it is complete language mastery or an acceptable level of communicative ability or just a survival level of ability. Dornyei (2001: 116) notes that, "teacher skills in motivating learners should be seen as central to teaching effectiveness". Providing the students with autonomy empowers them in learning and the sense of control brings about a sense of responsibility which improves the motivation level of students.

After a period of neglect for fear of total restructuring in language teaching (Allwright, 1988), the time is ripe with the changing focus from teaching to learning (Oxford, 1998). Council of Europe's Modern Languages project is probably the first place that entered the concept of autonomy into the field of language teaching as the focus shifts on continuity of learning beyond and after teaching. One of the outcomes of their project was founding the Center de Recherches et d' Application en Langues (CRAPEL) project which quickly set a turning point in research and practice of autonomy in this field. One of the aims of CRAPEL is to provide opportunities and support for self-directed language learning. Connections between language learning and the notion of individualization have supported theory and practice of autonomy in language learning in its early days on conception. Also, CRAPEL is aimed to provide counselling services with an emphasis on using authentic materials (Benson, 2001: 8). The invention of learner autonomy is rooted in the activities of Henri Holec who is called 'the father of autonomy' in 1981. Although, depending on terms of conditions of definition, there are various definitions for this word, it has been defined as a personal human attribute, educational progress or political measure.

Theories and models of learner motivation related to autonomy

Some of the current theories to promoting motivation and autonomy are discussed below and their possible contributions to the theme and rationale of this paper are highlighted. This section not only aims to provide a critical review of some approaches to both topics but also attempts to find links between them, where applicable. The list of models and theories is not exclusive, but effort is made to present a clear view of the key ones included in the course plan and within the scope of this paper.

attribution theory

One of the most prominent theories that have suggestions for developing motivation is attribution theory (Weiner, 1980, 1992), which includes behaviour change by highlighting the idea that learners are greatly motivated by the enjoyable result of their success and feeling good about their achievements. Weiner (1992) claims that attributions are important since theory and research show that attributions have various effects on motivation. The main import of attribution theory that links with motivation is that learners self-perceptions will powerfully persuade them in their interpretations of success or failure of their efforts and so their inclination to continue spending energy and time performing them in future. Learners attribute success and failure in a way to preserve their positive self-image. To motivate learners using this theory, teachers should attribute success to learners ability but at the same time do not let the increasing confidence prevent learners from making further effort by always attributing success to hard work as well. The worst scenario of losing motivation is when learners make an effort but repeatedly fail. The teacher should arrange tasks in a way that learners feel the progress and gradually move towards autonomy. It is great that learners accept success or failure as a true outgrowth of their own actions rather than outside factors. Researchers term this control with an internal locus. Lefcourt defines locus of control as " a generalised expectancy for internal as opposed to external control of reinforcements" (Lefcourt 1976:  27). It is found to be not only harmless but also effective when learners overestimate the role of their own efforts in success or failure. However, there are definite dangers of attributing to factors outside their control (Lefcourt, 1976). It is understandable that attribution to internal factors is more probable for autonomous language learners who do not rely heavily on external sources of influence through promoting autonomy,

Self-determination theory

As a theory of human motivation and personality, self-determination theory regards the learners' tendency to grow in touch with their inborn psychological requirements. This theory highlights the motivation behind what people opt for with no outside control and intervention. It focuses on the amount of motivation and determination grown from within learners (Deci & Ryan, 2002). The author's earlier works (1985, 1995) built on the distinctive concepts of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. He proposed three major psychological needs in self-determination, namely competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These three needs are essential for psychological fitness and security of an individual (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Among these three aspects, I will focus on the topic of this paper, autonomy, in the discussion section. Self-determination theory offers the need for autonomy as an innate psychological need. Support for autonomy is the most important social and contextual variable to expect autonomous actions. In fact, several studies have stressed on the role of that interpersonal environments encouraging autonomy. In view of this, incorporating extrinsic motivation can also yield and advance positive results (Black & Deci, 2000; Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001).

Gardner's socio-educational model

A great number of research works on the relationship of motivation and language learning are based on seminal work of Gardner and Lambert (1959). Later Gardner (1982) recognized a number of variables that are playing different roles in learning a second language. The author endeavours to link up several aspects of second language learning. These factors include the social and cultural setting, individual differences of students, the situation and background. One of the most significant arguments in second language acquisition according to Gardner's model, is the interrelationships amongst the four individual elements of intelligence, language aptitude, motivation, and situational anxiety. Amongst these elements in the socio-educational model, motivation for acquiring a second language consists of three components. Initially, the motivated learners do their best to learn the language in question. Then, they desire to accomplish the learning goal. Finally, the motivated learners will take pleasure in doing the language learning task. Four elements of external influences, individual differences, language acquisition contexts, and outcomes make up Gardner's (2001) revised model. Gardner's approach is an exception in terms of seeing the relationship between autonomy and motivation in a good light.

Williams & Burden's social constructivist model

This model is proposed by William and Burden (1997) focusing on four elements of learners, teachers, task and environment, through which learning processes take place. There are reciprocal interactions between the four that reinforce each other. In this model, learners interact with others since learning activities are not happening in isolation but the learner interacts with other learners, the teacher, learning task and the environment. By taking a social constructivist position, Williams and Burden (1997) claim that each person is motivated differently from the others and the element of choice plays an important part in their motivation. The authors have a process orientation in view of the present theories in cognitive psychology and incorporate them into their theory placing the decision at the focal point. Then, he proposes internal factors and external factors that can influence the individual's decision. All factors interact and influence the others, external factors, where the interaction is dynamic. The internal factors interact non-linearly and "affect the level and extent of learner's motivation to complete a task or maintain an activity" (Williams, 1997: 137).

Key strategies and considerations in promoting motivation

Group processes and motivation

An argument for motivation should address a review of group processes, as there is typically a group of learners that teachers set out to motivate and the functions inside the group influence on the outcomes of strategies. Tuckman (1969, quoted in Argyle, 1969) claims that any group enters in the course of four phases since its creation. This has essential points to be considered in a classroom study which is invariably using group activities during teaching. The first phase is the formation stage where group members are anxious and so often dependent on the leader of the group, the teacher, in this case as they have to discover what is a suitable behaviour. The second phase is called storming, where disagreements between subgroups appear and resistance against the teacher mounts and group members openly oppose the role relationships between each other and the teacher and debate the purpose of the group. In phase 3, the norming stage, the group starts to pull together and build up consistency and the group embers of the group set in motion to back up one another. At this point, a fair give and take leads to collaboration and thinking about learner roles and each other. In the last phase, or so- called performing, most challenges are addressed and there is an enormous amount of movement between learners. Every individual learner is committed to carrying out the tasks they have been given. Before stability and balance, almost all members proceed through these four or possibly more stages, and therefore, improve their prospects of motivation through this gradual nurturing of autonomy. In the actual fact, these proceedings may continue forever, due to factors like exhaustion and losing motivation because of substandard norms in the classroom which are measured as the major impediments to effective teaching and learning (Daniels, 1994). Having this background in mind, it is now clearer why and how devising a framework for motivation strategies is useful.

A framework for motivational strategies

As previously mentioned, developing an ability in motivating students to learn for themselves is of vital substance. Nonetheless, a consistent approach to using strategies to achieve these aims does not have a long precedent. Teachers often had no other choice than to resort on various tricks they knew to control their classrooms and inspire their learners. Good and Brophy (1994: 212) claim that these strategies are subjected to two conflicting observations. First of all, a view is that learning should be amusing and enjoyable that any motivation problems that may appear should be attributed to the teacher's endeavour to change an enjoyable activity to hard work. Secondly, there is a view that holds school activities as essentially uninteresting and unacceptable, so that teachers must depend on external rewards and penalties with an outlook to compel students to keep on doing tasks that are not palatable.

It might not be possible to totally reject the idea that rewards and punishments are a base in the process of teaching and learning, but they are not the only tools available in teachers' toolbox. There are so many strategies that teachers can use at their discretion that makes Dornyei (2001: 119) to assert that "the spectrum of other potentially more effective motivational strategies is so broad that it is hard to imagine that none of them would work."

The essential issue in setting up a framework of motivational strategies is the informed decision as to how separate themes can be arranged. The following categorization, based on which our main argument will hold, is founded on the process-oriented model by Dornyei and Otto (1998). The following explains the major part in this classification. Firstly, it is about creating the main motivational conditions which help setting the grounds for the use of motivational strategies. Then, it is important to generate student motivation, which generally corresponds to the phase in the model that comes before actions. The action phase retains and guards the motivation, which is followed by the phase of encouraging optimistic self-evaluation, after the actions. After all, fundamental conditions for motivation should be set. Motivational strategies should have a context to materialize; with particular prerequisites to be fulfilled prior to any successful endeavour to produce motivation. These conditions include the subsequent factors, from proper teacher behaviour and excellent teacher student understanding to an enjoyable and sympathetic classroom ambiance with an interconnected learners featured by proper group standards.

The teachers' actions impact student on several counts of their motivation and shapes their persuasions. That is to say, teacher behaviour is a prevailing "motivational tool" (Dornyei, 2001: 120). Teacher influences are diverse, from creating a rapport with the students to a kind of teacher behaviour which succeed and catch the attention of students to engage in doing tasks. For Alison (1993), a key building block is to set up a rapport and mutual trust and reverence with the learners, through conversation with them on a personal level. This kind of trust building could make them keen on learning. In any way, passionate teachers pass on a feeling of obligation to, and zeal in, the theme of learning, not just through verbal means but also through non-verbal cues that students capture from them about how to act.

To create a satisfying and supportive classroom environment, students should be able to articulate their opinions and be aware of that they do not run the risk of being scorned. It is common sense to explain that a stressed classroom atmosphere can weaken learning and decrease motivation of learners (see MacIntyre, 1999 and Young, 1999 for further details). Quite the contrary, one can expect that a secure classroom environment increases the learner motivation to reach its heights. For that, students need plenty of chances to learn and an ongoing support and supply of their learning endeavours. This kind of motivation cannot happen in a disorganized classroom, so the teacher must sort out and supervise the classroom to be a useful learning environment. Additionally, since nervous or disturbed students cannot develop motivation to learn, it is vital to make a comfortable and encouraging learning environment (Good and Brophy, 1994: 215). To make learners well interconnected, they should cooperate and build on the individual learners' dedication to learn. To do this, learners should spend time together and learn about each other, interact and compete, active presence of the leader (see Ehrman and Dornyei, 1998: 142).

Generating motivation and goal-orientation in learners

Presupposing an instinctive curiosity in child to discover the world, learners should generally find the learning experience enjoyable - for and out of itself. Nevertheless, this interest can be declined by some inescapable factors such as obligatory school attendance, syllabus and marks. If teachers would not increase their learners' orientation towards goals, if they do not alter the content of curriculum to suit the learners, and if they do not engender realistic beliefs in learners, they will face against a classroom situation which is not conducive to motivating students to prepare for autonomous learning. If we can allow learners to set their own personal criteria for what ought to be a group goal, this is a positive gesture towards setting their goals and prevent learners from losing purpose due to possible mismatch with the goals set by others. Goal orientation is a hot area of current research (Pintrich and Schunk, 1996). For instance, using motivation for improving listening skills in a foreign language may require goal setting at several levels of academic and social goals. A study that examines the differences between more and less effective language learners with a specific focus on listening comprehension is that of O'Malley, Chamot, and Küpper (1989) in which better listeners are found to be using strategies in many ways that matches with the features of an autonomous language learner. Effective listeners monitored their comprehension by constantly inquiring themselves whether what they just heard makes sense. They also inferred the meaning of unknown words or information as well as relating new information to their previously known information by remembering relevant personal experiences or subjects they had studied.

Making curriculum relevant for the learners

It is not bad when some students are convinced that what they are learning in the curriculum will be useful to them. This is their hidden reason for doing homework and participating in all types of learning activities, even when they are not very interested in the themes. This observation has a subtle point that highlights what is important for learners as goals. If we know their goals, we have the vital power to motivate learners to get involved with learning activities. To do so, their goals should be integrated in the curriculum. According to Chambers (1999: 37), "If the teacher is to motivate pupils to learn, then relevance has to be the red thread permeating activities".

Promoting autonomy step by step

Up to now, it is argued that improving motivation levels of students can be done through promoting autonomy. The preliminary step to achieve this is to promote autonomy first. A brief introduction would worth the mention. Many great techniques to promote learner autonomy are proposed, and the list by Brajcich (2000) include the following in essence.

1. Encouraging students' interdependence and collaboration to minimize teacher dependence

2. Instructing students' diary-keeping to raise awareness of their learning preferences and experiences to make them reflect on ways of becoming more independent learners.

3. Explaining and asking students opinions new role relationships among teacher and students.

4. Moving gradually from interdependence to independence in students own time.

5. Assigning students projects which may increase motivation.

6. Involving students with classroom jobs (writing notices on the board for the teacher)

7. Having the students design learning materials to be used in class.

8. Training students on using the school's resource centres: library, language lab, etc.

9. Emphasising the value of peer-editing, corrections, and follow-up in the classroom.

10. Encouraging students to regard using English in class as a great chance setting an environment where students feel comfortable communicating in the target language.

11. Stressing more on fluency than accuracy.

12. Allowing students to use reference books and dictionaries (preferably English-English with Japanese annotations) in class.

Levels of autonomous learning and self access centre

There are five levels that learners move up to become fully autonomous, as Nunan (1997) outlines. They include awareness, involvement, intervention, creation, and transcendence. In recent decades, learner autonomy draws some attention especially in such skills which are related to life-long learning. It has been employed in self access language centres around the word based on exchanging the traditional practices. Although, recently numerous educational institutes are equipped with self-access centres which can be considered as self-directed or autonomous learning, there is not sufficient recognition for their role in promoting motivation for learners (Benson, 1997). Features of a good self access centre are explained by Harmer (2007), which includes materials which are classified by learners' level, with suggestions for activities to do as a next step. Making the area comfortable for learners and excite them to use the wealth of resources after a sufficient training.

Different perspectives in viewing autonomy

Autonomy can be viewed from multiple perspectives, e.g., technical, psychological, socio-cultural and political-critical (Benson, 1997; Oxford, 2003). This means naming a learner an autonomous learner may not be true at all times. Because, one may show full autonomy at a certain subject, but may not be as autonomous as that at another subject. The principle behind the notion of capacity is to rule out absolute autonomy since autonomous learners are not so all the time. These vacillations may happen due to a set of affective or psychological variables like mood, tiredness or hunger, noise, temperature or time of day, but there are also motivational variables such as their attitude towards the topic (Sinclair, 2000). Whether learner autonomy is learning a foreign language or making people autonomous learners, both of these can be considered as an approach to language learning or learning in general. Principally autonomy appears when there is a move from teaching to learning. Autonomy can turn the learning aims into reality through encouraging all learners to cooperate while they assume responsibility to honestly assess themselves. In this way, student can use records and tools for learning and reflection. However teachers are not redundant, but their role changes to a more careful one as they are required to provide structure that create welcoming environments and wide scopes for development of autonomy. To also take this literally, teachers can employ various technologies or let students extend to outside of the class to avoid the limited and limiting space in the class, where necessary and purposeful. Approaches within the field of language learning either influence or receive influence from the concept of autonomy and motivation in language learning because of their pervasive nature.

Establishing autonomy

Many students are capable of developing autonomy without any teacher cooperation and assistance. As a goal of language learning teacher and institute should provide an atmosphere of learning in which autonomy can be deployed. However, the success of our efforts to deploy autonomy is another problem which is different from the efficiency of autonomous learning. Autonomy may take various profiles due to a variety of the aspects of the capacity for control over learning. Establishing autonomy itself does not refer to a particular approach in learning process. Therefore, any practice that can help and encourage learner to take greater control of any aspect of their learning can be a means to attempt to arrange for autonomy. Although, in some cases special practices can be identified as a support to promoting autonomy, in other cases an uncertain practice that can support autonomy naturally are considered as supportive for promoting autonomy. These practices are discussed in Benson (2001) as six broad heading:

-Resource- based approaches independent use of learning resources

-technology based approaches independent use of learning technologies

-Learner-based approaches development of autonomous learning skills

-Teacher-based approaches focus on teacher roles and teacher education

-Classroom-based approaches control over classrooms decisions

-Curriculum-based approaches control over curriculum decisions

Although there are strong theoretical reasons that shows that autonomous language learner are better than other language learners, empirical evidences cannot convince that such association practices are effective.

resource-based learning focus on independent interaction between learner and learning resources through providing learners with opportunities to practice control over learning plans, the selection of learning materials and the evaluation of learning. In this technique learners are expected to improve such skills which associated with some activities to improve the autonomy and learners can choose different sources freely. Although self- access in this technique can be identified as deploying autonomy learning, self-instruction and distance learning cannot considered such approach to fostering autonomy learning. But in self-instruction and distance learning, there is some cooperation with autonomy in some aspects.

There are various definitions for self-access. Sheerin (1991: 143) defines self access as "a way of describing materials that are designed and organized in such a way that students can select and works on tasks on their own". Gardner and Miller (1999) have different definitions in which self access as an environment for learning involving resources, teachers, learners and the systems is defined more broadly. In a self-access centre, learning resources which include audio, video, computer workstation, audiotapes, videotapes and computer software become more directly accessible for learners. Apart from technological means, providing several different facilities is among the aims of the self-access centres. These can include services such as providing counselling services, areas for group work and a help desk, providing a separate area for one-to-one writing support, means for designing own web site, and provision of latest computer and communication technologies. Although there is not any research evidence that can show the relationship between the level of funding and its success to promote autonomy in self-access centres, funding need to be available before setting up the self-access centres in which high access technology are required.


A general argument for the effectiveness of autonomy, both in general education and in language learning, is that autonomous learners achieve higher levels of motivation and that autonomy is an ingredient for high quality creative work (Dickinson, 1994, 1995). The link between autonomy and motivation is made clear over the past several years although Gardner's social-psychological approach to motivation gives little aid in efforts to link them. To find such links it is necessary to turn to the literature on motivation in general education, and especially the literature on cognitive motivation. This paper suggests that there is an important link between autonomy and some educational theories of motivation which could account for the claimed power of autonomy.

A myth that is initially rejected is the total independence as a meaning of autonomy. There seems to be a widespread misunderstanding about the promotion of learner autonomy. Little (2007) interestingly clarifies that autonomy is acting for oneself, rather than on oneself! It is not just about learners acting on their own, not necessarily, but for the sake of themselves even in a very hectic group. Developing autonomous learning skills is not about forcing students to work alone, but it extends assistance to students to develop skills which will help them to become good learners; to pull their own weight and gradually empowered for learning and to be adept in applying these skills to any novel learning situation that will arise (Mynard and Sorflaten, 2003: 3).

The insights from the self determination theory are interesting. Extrinsic motivation sometimes militates against autonomy. Deci (1971) discovers that extrinsic rewards dents the initial internal motivation as times passes by. Finally, learners' behaviour may become controlled by external rewards, leading to a fragile autonomy. Additional research by Amabile, DeJong and Lepper (1976) enlightened us that even other external restricting and controlling factors like deadlines also reduce intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, helpful situations are those that impart autonomy as opposed to taking it away also have a similar link to motivation, such as giving more choices can increase their intrinsic motivation. (Zuckerman Porac Lathin, Smith and Deci, 1978) There exclusive views of Amabile (1983, 1996, 1998), who argues against extrinsic motivation, goes as far as considering it as a negative force which stifles creativity in general and, complex problem-solving in particular. Amabile's view of education is that extrinsic motivation I not suitable for the more complex activities since students see their learning as merely an obstacle they have to pass through to win prizes and this inevitably dents their creativity. Considering this view, I reckon autonomous learners need to be creative and benefit more from intrinsic and integrative motivations. Besides, Learners with high integrative motivation to learn the language has a wish for associating and assimilating themselves with another language community, and have a predisposition to assess learning conditions optimistically and precisely. The modern views on motivation turn away from the concept of carrot and stick, rewards and punishment. One of the best ways to foster motivation is to boost the intrinsic aspects by surrendering power and choice which are elements of autonomy. To intrinsically motivate learners towards language learning, their likes should be assessed and they should be helped and guided in achieving their goals. External rewards should only be used a little to keep their momentum if the goal is a bit far reaching. We should also have learners setting milestones, and often reminding them of later intrinsic rewards.

Once created, protecting motivation is of paramount significance. Despite the instinctive drive for curiosity, a Murphy's Law also holds in the opposite direction. That is, the natural inclination is to get tired or fed up from doing a task or pursuing a goal. There are always eye-catching distractions around that de-motivate learners for learning, if their motivation is not protected and continued once they get started. All this makes a motivational inventory necessary to include several motivation safeguarding strategies. Two such strategies are increasing self-confidence of learners and creating learner autonomy.

One of the reasons for developing motivation through learner autonomy is that learner autonomy attracts much current emphasis, e.g. Council of Europe is determined to provide the balance of pedagogical and reporting functions, aiming both to provide more transparency of language learning processes to learners and to promote the development of autonomy for learners. They look for solid evidence of second language proficiency and intercultural experience (Little, 2007a, and b). One point which is widely acknowledged is the learner beliefs about how much progress to expect, and at what pace, can, and do, lead to disappointment. Therefore, it is important to help learners get rid of their misconceptions that may hamper their motivation and ultimate attainment. To this end, learners need to develop an understanding of the nature of second language learning, and should be aware of the fact that second language mastery is achievable in different manners, using a diversity of strategies, and a key factor is for learners to discover for themselves the optimal methods and techniques.


Motivation, which Keller once called the neglected aspect of our understanding of how to design our teaching (quoted in Dornyei, 2001: 116), is certainly not neglected anymore and extensive research reviewed and discussed before bears witness to a creation of a wave of great insights into working of learners, one such being research on autonomy. Still traditional relationship between teacher and student hinders the students from becoming autonomous and freely choose the pace of their learning and match them with their goals. The studies that contrasted between effective and ineffective learners reveal the difference is not just due to their strategy use, but more deeply related to their motivation level that can be guaranteed when the become autonomous learners and keep on succeeding. No one has claimed that autonomous learning is a panacea for language learning problems but through autonomous learning, and thereby building a strong motivation base, learners keep all the gates open for explorations.