The main reason I chose this theme: "the motivation of students in English class" is because, when I went to school where I did my student teaching, CEIP San Juan Evangelista, I spoke with an English teacher on the general problems of students in English (in order to do my action research). He said the main problem was observed in class participation, since some students participate a lot in class and others donÂ´t. This is due to different reasons, which we shall see. It is from here that I got the idea for this project. From my point of view, I think it is very important and interesting to observe and analyze.
In language, teaching motivation is as essential as the use of a language not their own. So the first task of the teacher is to make students want to learn. This is a bit difficult, since each student has their own personality, environment, different learning level, etc. but little by little you can do it.
Therefore, in future practice for this motivation is null or exists to a lesser extent, it is essential to provide students with stimulating activities, or if not decrease the level of motivation.
It is important that the lesson is well planned and structured, although the teacher must be flexible. If you see an activity that does not work, you must have creative alternative material to try to resolve the situation.
In addition, the tasks must have a degree of difficulty that matches the learning level of the student: if they are very easy, students will be bored and this leads to distraction, to make noise, etc. If they are very difficult, they feel helpless and clumsy. And if possible, the activities and texts relate to their experiences and interests.
2. Literature Review
Reading books, articles, websites, etc. is essential for being informed on the subject I am researching: the motivation of students in English class. I think it's a very important factor in all subjects but more so in the learning of language.
The students' motivation, therefore, is influenced by two external factors that we can calls: the environment and teaching practice.
On the matter of environment, students have personal factors that relate to their area of study (geographicall and sociall) and their family and attitudes towards the foreign language and culture. Another thing is the center where she studies; specifically the group to which it belongs.
With regard to teaching practices, it is clear that the teacher must first have confidence in himself so he can then transfer this to their students. Therefore, if the teacher is not motivated, it is difficult for his students to be.
And finally, I wanto to point up a great line of Ausubel (1968) about the importance of the interest and motivation:"Doing, without being interested in what one is doing, results in relatively little permanent lemming, since it is reasonable to súpose that orly that material can be meaningfully incorporated and integrated into cognitive structure on a long-term basic, which is relevant to áreas of concern in the psychological field of the individual".
3. The Context
This research is direct at students on the 2 nd cycle of primary education, particularly the 4 th course of CEIP "San Juan Evangelista." This school is located in the town of Sonseca, south of Toledo.
The population has increased to 11,000 people and is mainly concentrated in the urban core. There is a significant immigrant population from fifteen different nationalities, mostly from Ecuador, Pakistan and Morocco.
The active population is engaged mainly in industry, third party services and a small percentage of agriculture and livestock. In recent years, are going through a time of recession, the textile and furniture sectors.
The cultural level is medium, with a high percentage of parents with only an elementary school education.
As for the description of the school say it is a little old because it was built many years ago but has been renovated and refurbished years back (change of chairs, tables and some tiles, painted classrooms and halls, renovation of heating , lift, etc..).
The building has three floors: a ground floor (management, secretarial, gym, staff room, etc..),a first floor and a second floor (student classrooms).
The school has the following number of spaces not used directly for tutoring:
- Multipurpose room
- Classroom Educational Compensation
- Therapeutic Education classrooms and Hearing and Language
- English classrooms
- Computer room (Althia)
- Psychomotor classroom,
- Two small spaces to support and alternative activities
- Kitchen and canteen
Near the center, there are plenty of green areas, such as parks and gardens and sports facilities for public use (sports, swimming, bike lanes, paddle ...).
The classroom has 21 students: 10 boys and 11 girls. There is only one immigrant child from Pakistan, which is seamlessly integrated into the class because of the many years he has lived. He has always gone to school.
It is at this stage where social and academic partners are the major players par excellence. Living in groups, games and adventures with peers are of great interest. Groups tend to be homogeneous in terms of unique characteristics such as gender or age. Adults (parents and teachers) lose their position as role models and are no longer sources of intellectual authority and opinion. The predominance acquired by the peer group has much to do with it.
As for the classroom arrangement, the students are seated at tables individually so that they can talk less, but the teacher told me that they often rearranged their tables and put them together in pairs, as this sometimes helped the students (peer tutoring).
The classroom has therefore 22 tables and chairs (including the teacherÂ´s). In the front of the room, there are four large windows,a table and chair for the teacher and a closet on the back to store their materials. To the right we find a blackboard. In the center of the classroom there are chairs and tables for the students. In the background to the left there are cupboards and shelves for books and notebooks to be kept, and on the far right a small library in the classroom that was made by the students themselves. The whole class is decorated with murals and studentsÂ´work .
The classroom climate is generally quite good. There is a normal responsive environment. Sometimes there was a murmur in the classroom environment but without much importance. In general, the children's behavior is appropriate.
4. Data Collection
I am interested in collecting data on the opinions of students on the subject of English: What do you think about learning a new language? Do you think English is important today? Would you like to participate in class? Yes or no? Why?, etc.
The data collection methods I used are varied. They include the direct observatioon, registration forms for each student, questionnaires, interviews with students and a sociogram.
Direct observation: is simply to observe each student and then write what is most relevant in the registration cards.
Registration form: This form helps us to collect data from each of the students. The aim of this approach is to help improve the student's learning process. Write down aspects of oral communication, comprehension, expression, socio-cultural aspects, other aspects of learning ...
Questionnaire: will be very useful and we'll get some more detailed information on the topic we are investigating. There are ten very easy and practical questions in which students should only put true or false.
Interview: This interview would only be for those children who do not participate in class or to a lesser extent than the rest of his or her teammates. It is one-on-one.
Sociogram: through these three questions we can see the social, emotional and rejection among students in the class.
I think these methods are most appropriate for conducting research on student motivation, because first there is a phase of observation, then a phase of analysis and, finally, conclusions. With all these methods we get enough data and in this way find the reason for which the student does not participate in class.
And finally, detailing the time period to carry out data collection:
1 st -4 th session: observation phase and annotations in the registration cards.
5 th session: sociogram of childrenÂ´s performance.
6 th session: children respond to the questionnaire.
7 th -8 th session: is the interview with some students.
9 th -11 th session: data analysis phase.
5. Data Analysis
Once the information is obtained, I will proceed to analyze each of them, in such a way that we could confirm and demonstrate the validity or lack there of the of the applied methods.
1) I have been analyzed the data in the registration form ( annex 1), simply by reading all of the information on every pupil and later annotating only that seemed to me to be relevant by verifying it with the questionnaire.
2) The answers to the questionnaires ( annex 2), I have been analyzed across a bar chart indicating the answers for every question in percentages (%).
Valuation and interpretation:
A point is given for every response that coincides with the following valuation:
1T 2F 3F 4T 5F 6F 7T 8F 9T 10T
- From zero to three points: the child is not motivated to work in the school. It is important to verify the reason of this lack of motivation, to give the pertinent orientations to the parents and to provoke a situation for success in school.
- From four to six points: there are students who couldnÂ´t qualify as apathetic at school, but they do not reach a sufficient level of motivation to undertake all the school tasks in relation to all the subjects. In these cases, it is important to encourage the pupil in order that he/she is capable of obtaining success in school not only in those subjects that he likes or with those teachers who he/she is fond of, but also with all the remaining ones.
- From seven to ten points: the pupil who has good marks appears as a motivated child: he/she is capable of suceeding not only in those subjects that he is interested in or that are pleasurable but also in those that he/she lacks interest in.
3) The way of analyzing the information of the sociogram (annex 3) is also by means of a graphical representation of circles, triangles and arrows. The arrows show the association among the students. Hereby we see clearly the existing relations of affection and rejection between the pupils. These are three questions in the sociogram:
A .- Who would you like to do your homework with in class? This question tries to determine who the leaders are who are the most popular because they are hard workers, ready and able to coordinate school activities for the group. It also asks the reson for their choice providing five possible answers and/or short essay. The teacher can support the group leaders by organizing teams, games and activities.
B .- What classmate would you like to have as a friend? In this case we hope to know the reason for the friendship and to know who is a leadership based upon good character and friendship. Also choose one of the five cases presented and the open responses.
C .- Who would you not want to be in class and be your friend? This question is the most difficult for students to answer and it also produces the most interesting sociogram. With five responses and one short essay you find out the negative reactions from the students, and causes for the situation.
Rejected students and the reasons for rejection can be researched to discover strategies for integrating them into the group. How can classmates initiate this integration? In the charts on homework and friendship we can see if they have benefited and who is chosen in the first two questions. With the students who have not been chosen for any of the activities we can do several things: talk to them to encourage them to deal with the rejection at work and at play, put them on the same team, organize games between them, etc.
Their mode of graphical representation is as follows: each child is represented by a triangle and each girl by a circle.
- Boys - - Girls -
Guidelines for changing this:
- Standard for the students.
- Collaborative activities.
- Empowering students with more difficult activities.
- Positive affective relations.
- To promote responsibility and autonomy.
- Conflict resolution through dialogue.
- Team work.
- Activities you can point out to the children.
- Give responsibilities to children.
- Activities that promote interaction.
- Reinforcing desirable behavior + social conducts.
4) Finally, the interview (annex 4),a very important method from my point of view; the answers to the interview can be compared with the information from the questionnaire, but it will be the responses in the interview that we will take as the most trustworthy. The pupils can more freely express themselves.
During all this period of investigation and summary of information I have observed and clearly extracted that six of the twenty-one pupils in the class are not motivated in the English class for the following reasons:
- fear of being rejected or scolded
The result of my project was successful and appropriate. I was not sure that the results could be obtained, it was the first time I did a research project in a specific class and students.
When the pupils were in class doing the task, their problems of motivation were easily identified.
After realizing the study I have learned that motivation is essential in language teaching. Though many factors exist that determine the development of a class and the pupils learning, motivation is fundamental. If the pupil wants to learn, he/she will obtain better results than if he/she is obligated.
I believe that the methodology in education can be enhanced by the numerous technologies that are available to help promote motivation and curiosity of the student body, such as for example: mime, news from newspapers, games, contests, soups of letters, crosswords, dramatization of brief dialogues, illustrations from magazines, etc. Consequently, we can consider all these activities to be real opportunities for learning, very dynamic and motivating for the pupil.