Showcase: Michi Saki

It wasn’t until recently when I finished writing a paper on L2 motivation that my research on the topic opened my eyes to the number of key factors that motivate someone to learn a foreign language, and the many ways that we as educators can improve our students’ levels of motivation to help them succeed in L2 learning.

Motivation is something that never fails to challenge both students and teachers in the L2 classroom. No matter how many years we have been teaching a second language, we find ourselves repeatedly having to face the issue of how to motivate our students to learn. I feel that motivation is something quite complex and is a phenomenon which needs to be explored more deeply. We can no longer suppose that the most intelligent or capable students in our classrooms are the ones who are the most motivated to learn a foreign language. We as educators need to research the influences and sources that generate and maintain motivation. We must be aware of the main factors that make our students motivated or demotivated in learning a foreign language. Although we may be unableto improve all of our students’ motivation levels as much as we would like to, we can only try our best to first understand what lies behind their initial levels of motivation, and then try to work on helping them achieve their individual L2 learning goals through quality teaching and effective facilitation in the classroom.

Michi Saki is a university lecturer based in Kyoto, Program Chair of JALT Kyoto chapter, TLT Chapter Events column editor, and a new Mommy of a baby girl! Her interests include motivational strategies in the L2 classroom, Task-Based Language Teaching, and Gender and Language Education.

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