Motivation in foreign language learning
It is well known that motivation can positively influence almost any process in our life. We are dominated by our emotions, especially when we learn a foreign language. There are different types of motivation – extrinsic (when we learn something or engage in an activity in order to get a reward or to avoid punishment), intrinsic (when we learn for the sake of learning) and integrative (includes both attitudes).
I remember myself learning German in a small group of upper intermediate students. They were all better and older than I was, so I was struggling frantically keeping up with them and from time to time felt very foolish, if I couldn’t understand a grammar structure or build a grammatically correct sentence. Besides, I had to learn German, because my mother wanted me to study in Germany. From this point of view, my motivation was rather extrinsic.
However, our teacher, a young, handsome man in his thirties seemed not to notice my incompetence, but always praised my performance (It could have been grammar exercises, small translation extracts or text retelling) after correcting me and explaining me the mistakes. He was a brilliant linguistic professional, spoke without any accent and explained us a lot not only about the language or its structures but also about the country, its culture and customs. That psychologically supportive approach made me feel so excited, that I started learning as much as possible even if there wasn’t any homework to do. I read additional literature, translated texts, made up stories; in a word, I fell in love with the foreign language. At this point of time I can surely tell, that I was highly motivated not only because I wanted to study in Germany, but also because I was fascinated with the language itself (integrative motivation).
After a while, I decided to take an exam at Goethe-Institute and told my teacher about it. He was supportive as usual, and I remember him telling me “if...