M. A. in Applied Linguistics: English Language Teaching and Learning
Dissertation submitted in part fulfillment of degree of Master of Arts of The University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Understanding Motivation: student response to a song lyrics project.
An examination of the motivational elements of tasks within a specific EFL project, The Lyrics Projects – as perceived by Israeli students and teachers, and the implications of the findings for creating motivating EFL tasks.
This dissertation analyses a motivating multi-tasked project for Israeli high school English as foreign language (EFL) students dealing with the subject of pop music lyrics, seeking out the task-based elements likely to increase student motivation. A motivating task is likely to lead to more successful mastery of the foreign language.
Fourteen teachers who used the project and fifty nine students who had completed the project, were given questionnaires aimed at establishing their perceptions of what had been responsible for student motivation.
Once student motivation had been established, three initial assumptions explaining that motivation were examined: (i) the motivating influence for teenagers of pop songs lyrics, (ii) the role of choice and autonomy and (iii) the role of creativity. The results of the study indicated the all three factors had contributed to student motivation. It was found that the requirement for creativity in a task was especially motivating. However, for a small minority of students both autonomy and creativity decreased motivation.
The dissertation goes on to examine other task-defined factors that may have contributed to the motivation of students including: (i) the potential pleasure derived from hard work, (ii) the influence of the expectation of a grade (iii) the perception of the learner that the activity is or is not beneficial to acquiring the language and (iv) the influence of working with a partner. The first factor was not found to be relevant to motivation of the students. The second, the role of a grade was found to be very important in motivation. No direct relation was found between the third factor and motivation. The fourth factor – working with a partner, was found to have increased motivation for most students but lowered motivation for others. The study also revealed that tasks requiring meta-cognitive reflection were, by and large, less motivating.
The results of the study are used to suggest how EFL tasks might be designed by teachers and material writers in the future to encourage student motivation.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Introduction page 1
Chapter 2 – Relevant Theory page 4
Chapter 3 – Method page 17
Chapter 4 – Results page 25
Chapter 5 – Discussion page 40
Chapter 6 – Conclusion page 48
Chapter 7 – References page 53
Appendix A – The Lyrics Project page 54
Appendix B – The Questionnaire for Teachers page 56
Appendix C – The Questionnaire for Students page 59
Appendix D – List of Tables page 62
I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to the staff of the Applied English Language Studies Unit – Department of English Languages and Literature, University of Liverpool for the professional, insightful and organized instruction I have received while studying for my M.A. in Applied Linguistics: English Language Teaching and Learning.
I would especially like to thank Dr. Mike Scott, my dissertation tutor, for keeping me on the right track whenever I seemed to wonder off in the wrong direction.
Finally, I would like to thank both teachers and students who took the time to fill out the questionnaires and answer my questions.
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