Motivating large groups: Ways forward

Julian Pigott

It is widely accepted that many students in Japanese compulsory education lack motivation to learn English. Some of the underlying causes may lie beyond the direct influence of the teacher, for example a lack of need for English in everyday life, and the deleterious washback effect of university entrance exams. However, in this paper I argue that an increased awareness of macro-contextual issues such as these, in addition to a practical repertoire of pedagogical techniques, can help teachers to meet the needs of their students better. The ten suggestions I present here are based on L2 motivation research into individuals, the self-concept, and group-dynamics. I recommend that findings from the formal research literature should be approached critically and adapted to local context. I finish by arguing that those attempting to improve compulsory English education in Japan should place more importance on the process, rather than the products of English learning.

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