TESL Motivational Factors Essay

Just like a car that will not function without fuel, the essence of teaching would not be optimized without motivation. Maslow (1954) defined motivation as a constant, never ending, fluctuating, complex and universal characteristic of practically every organismic state of affairs. It is emotional conditioning to specific as well as complex stimuli directed by source of reinforcement. Goal-directed behaviour is expressed by intention, striving and expectation in the context of balance environmental field forces.

Hence, motivation is the effect of two sensory events; a cue or cognitive function guiding behaviour and an arousal or vigilance function which provides the energy of movement. It has three aspects: to attend spontaneously to some things rather than others; to exhibit a characteristic emotion specific to the drive and its action; and an impulse to a course of action which has a particular goal as it ends. Since ages ago, a great deal of debates has been said and written to reconcile interest with effort and effort with interest in order to be motivated.

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The former requires interest before putting in an effort while the latter commands effort in triggering interest. Since both are evidently necessary in a worthwhile education, it is essential that they should not be mutually exclusive. They should fit together as one. John Dewey (1913) stated the subject matter and method are organically the same element; that the person and the action that he takes are one unity. He elaborates when an individual has an end in view, a purpose which is worthwhile in his eyes, when he is interested in an activity, he expends effort to work his way through to succeed in the end.

The individual would surmount every difficulty along the way if he considers the end is extremely meaningful. As the saying goes, at the end of every rainbow, there is a pot of gold. Furthermore, it needs to be recognized that teaching is not just about creating academically excellent students; the ones who pass examinations with flying colours. If this is the sole motivation to teach, it seems the educators are similar to factory manufacturers who assemble and create flawless products.

One of the problems with motivation to teach in order to pass the examinations is the students would be bombarded with a plethora of strategies that might, or might not, works. What is often omitted are the foundations of learning; the learning blocks that can help students to become aware of their own learning preferences and employ the learning strategies effectively in new learning situations (Reid, G. 2007) FIGURE 1. 1 : Adapted from Reid, G. 2007. In 2007, Reid G has stated that there are five factors that contribute to teachers’ motivation to teach.

Based on his detailed studies, the five factors are achievable task, intrinsic motivation, teachers’ or educators’ responsibility, constructive feedback, and positive group dynamics. Firstly, the task that the educators want to perform should be achievable. Since success is an essential factor for motivation, the task should be geared towards the correct path of excellence. The educators should realize their strengths and weaknesses of their performance. Hence, they should capitalize on their strengths to ensure sustained motivation.

To improve their weaknesses, the tasks must accommodate, at least, just a little higher of their capability and ability. In a prolonged period of time, the educators would improve on their motivation. Ideally, motivation should be intrinsic. In order to achieve this, educators need to have a desired goal and some determination to succeed. Self-motivating is liken to an art that only a few could master. It requires a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem. Furthermore, one must believe in oneself so that the motivation would come from within.

The desire to embark on a task stemming from within the educators would make teaching a significant experience. Moreover, educators should realize that it is their prime responsibility to teach. The responsibility lies on their shoulders to educate the students might be demanding. Instead of seeing the glass half-empty, the educators should see the glass half-full. They should not see it as a burden but as a motivation to develop the nation youngsters who would become our leaders of tomorrow.

Since it is their responsibility to educate the future leaders, they would be motivated to teach because they are simultaneously helping to build the nation. Constructive feedback is also another factor that motivates educators to teach. The feedback could be in the form of verbal or non-verbal communication. To illustrate, students who nodded their heads while the educator was teaching are showing a non-verbal sign of their understanding of the educators’ teaching. By doing so, the educators would feel appreciated and their hard work has been paid off. In addition, other colleagues might verbally praise the educators for their hard work.

Such incidents would definitely boost their motivation to teach. It seems motivation to teach is a subject which has chiefly concerned educators. This may have arisen from the fact that educators, in handling the total academical and disciplinary problems of the students, would still need to enlighten the classroom with a smile. In order to be motivated, educators need to be encouraged in developing understanding of the learning process and how they could become effective by tackling problems. Many educators, especially novice, do not possess adequate experience in solving students’ problems.

Therefore, their main strategy is to ask someone, usually an expert educator. Although this phenomenon has been put to successful practice, it is a part of a dependency culture. It might be difficult for the educators to break out of the norms and become independent and motivated without the support of their colleagues. Effort has to be made in order to motivate oneself in teaching students in such situations. Moreover, motivation is extremely significant because it is the driving force of educators’ excellence performance in teaching. It makes them enjoy the art of teaching and always longing to do more to aid their students’ understanding.

The students, who are the educators’ clients, come from different cultural and socioeconomical background. A motivated educator will take into account all of the differing elements in her classroom to ensure a successful teaching and learning process. 1. 2 BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM There have been an ever increase in the demand and interest in recruiting English teachers. In Malaysia, the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science has been made compulsory in English since it is decided in “Mesyuarat Khas Jemaah Menteri” on 19 July 2002 (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2009).

Some Malaysians support this move such as Malaysia former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad. In his blog entry dated July 2009, Tun Mahathir wrote: “I am not surprised over the disappointment and even anger towards the Government’s decision on the teaching of Maths and Science. Seems to me like the Government is not listening to the voice of the people. Perhaps a blog poll might enlighten the Government as to the opinions of the people. The question to be answered is whether visitors to my blog support or oppose the decision to teach Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia. If you support just say Yes. If you don’t please say No.

I will then try to let the Government know your opinion. ” Tun Mahathir even asked his blog readers to vote for “Do you support the government’s decision to teach mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia? ” 100204 Malaysia voted in the poll. The result was 86% or 86360 Malaysians disagree to revert the teaching of mathematics and science in Bahasa Malaysia. Only a handful of 14% or 13844 Malaysians agree to the move (Mahathir, 2009). Unfortunately, the move has made a deep impact on Malaysians. They are against the move as it was associated with the declining usage and mastery of Bahasa Malaysia among students.

To make it worse, GAPENA and GMP (Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI, 2009) claim that the move is a shame because it overshadows Bahasa Malaysia and an infringement of Fasal 152 of Malaysia Law that stated Bahasa Malaysia as the national language and main medium for education. Prominent Malaysians who stand with GAPENA and GMP are Dato’ A. Samad Said, Dato’ Dr Hassan Ahmad, Dr Shaharil Mohamad Zain, Prof Emeritus Abdullah Hasaan, Prof Emeritus Dato’ Nik Safiah Karim, Y. B Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Y. B Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Hj. Abdul Hadi Awang and Y. B Lim Kit Siang.

After Malaysia parliament has reached a decision on the issue of the status of English, the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Science would be reverted to Bahasa Malaysia beginning in 2012. In order to improve the teaching and learning of English, other initiatives would be taken such as employment of extra English teachers, known as TESL trainees. Supposingly, the extra English teachers would be able to uphold the standard of English language in the Malaysia educational system. Nevertheless, are these future teachers motivated to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools? 1. 3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Lately, the issue of teaching and learning Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia has triggered the employment of thousands of new English teachers (News Straits Times, 2009). The newly appointed English teachers would help to improve students’ understanding of English language. They would have to undergo intensive training and courses. Just like the emancipation of a butterfly, they are allowed to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools once their preparation and learning process to become English teachers are completed. In reality, theory and practical do not necessarily have asynchronous relationship.

What the TESL trainees have learnt in the course might not be practical in the real classroom. For example, the TESL trainees in Malaysia National Universities have learnt “Educational Psychology” as one of their compulsory courses. In the course, they were taught to handle problematic students using psychology such as token economy and giving rewards for good behaviour. However, in reality, would the future English teachers still be motivated to employ psychological approach in deterring stubborn students’ wild behaviour such as running around the classroom while the future English teachers are teaching?

In such helpless situation, the future English teachers might feel demotivated. Essentially, the motivation factor would determine the future English teachers’ action. If she or he is still motivated to approach the problematic students, she or he would not give up teaching the students. As a result, the students would learn and love English due to the encouragement of the motivated teacher. On the other side of the coin, a different scenario would occur if the future English teachers are demotivated to teach the problematic students.

Instead of trying to approach the students, the future teachers might view them as a burden on his or her shoulders and silently refusing to enter the problematic students’ classroom. Consequently, the students would not only be problematic but also be left behind in their English studies. 1. 4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The purpose of the study is to investigate Malaysian trainees’ motivation to teach English in Malaysia secondary schools. Specifically, the objective of this study is as follows: (a) To investigate the factors that motivate students to become English language teachers 1. 5 RESEARCH QUESTION The researcher used the question listed below as a guide throughout the study: (a) What are the factors that motivate students to become English language teachers? 1. 6 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY The framework is built upon the focus of investigating the factors of TESL trainees’ motivation to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools. Firstly, this research attempts to look into the extrinsic factors that that lead TESL trainees to be motivated to become English teachers. Then, it would further investigate the trainees’ intrinsic motivation to become English language teachers.

Afterwards, TESL trainees’ perception on the factors that motivate them to become English language teachers would be formed. FIGURE 1. 2 tries to establish the relationship in a conceptual manner. FIGURE 1. 2 : Research Conceptual Framework 1. 7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The finding from this study can provide some insight into TESL trainees’ motivation in teaching English. It is intriguing to find out the causes of their motivation to teach English. Is it due to materialistic factors or the sole perception that has been ingrained in them; teaching, by virtue, is a noble perception?

This study strives to answer such interesting questions. Furthermore, the study aims to discover the effects of the TESL trainees’ motivation to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools. Depending on the TESL trainees, it is noted that the effects could be either negative or positive. If they are motivated, definitely the effects would be constructive. On the other hand, demotivation would construct negative results of the TESL trainees’ teaching English in Malaysian secondary schools. Hence, the study attempts to establish both positive and negative effects.

Moreover, the relationship between the causes and effects would be established too. Referring to the result of the study, the relationship would be known as binary or unilateral. The established relationship could be taken into account when further studies involving the TESL trainees would be carried out. 1. 8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS There are some prominent terms that would be used regularly research. To aid understanding of the study, the recurring terms are defined as follows. 1. 8. 1 Motivation Hamilton (1983) stated some definitions of motivation.

It is defined by the regulatory and directive determinants which arouse and sustain patterns of activities. It is also a specific state of endogenous activity in the brain which, under the modifying influence of internal conditions and sensory input, leads to behaviour resulting in sensory feedback, which then causes a change in the initial endogenous activity. In addition, motivational functions depend on rule-governed relationships defined by the contingencies between occasions, behaviour and consequences such as action and behaviour which are determined by the reinforcing effects of an action. 1. 8. Factor Factor refers to any entity that causes events to happen. It is series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end. A justification for something existing or happening could also be referring to causes. Events that provide the generative force that is the origin are also considered as causes. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. 2003) 1. 8. 3. Perception Perception is becoming aware of something via senses. The senses that are being referred to are sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. It could also refer to the process of or knowledge gained by perceiving.

A way of conceiving something is also known as perception. In addition, the representation of what is perceived and basic component in the formation of a concept is perception. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. 2003) 1. 8. 4 Malaysian secondary schools Malaysia secondary school is education for students in a duration of 5 to 7 years. In other words, secondary school is a period of education in which, in most educational systems of the world, follows directly after primary education. It might be followed by tertiary, post secondary, or higher education such as colleges and universities.

In Malaysian context, secondary school is a period of education from Form 1 to Form 5, which typically begins at the age of 13 until 17. However, Malaysian students may opt to continue their secondary schools until Lower and Upper Form 6. The Form 6 would be completed in 2 years; which would make the students leave secondary schools at the age of 19. 1. 9 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY In the survey research, TESL trainees from National University of Malaysia (UKM) are chosen as respondents. The researcher has decided to choose only two groups of UKM TESL trainees; namely UKM TESL and UKM-IPBL TESL trainees.

The total number of respondents is 47. According to Creswell (2006), a researcher needs approximately 30 participants to conduct a thorough study. Therefore, the 47 TESL trainees are sufficient to conduct a comprehensive study. Nevertheless, the number reflects just a small proportion compared to the whole community of TESL trainees throughout entire Malaysia. The study does not mirror the overall TESL trainees’ motivation to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools. The other TESL trainees might have a different view on the motivational matter from the chosen respondents.

Secondly, the researcher was only provided with a short length of time to complete the study. A period of 8 weeks was the timeframe that has been given to the researcher. In such a short period of time, it was difficult to conduct an inclusive study. The time constraint made it difficult to involve more respondents. As a result, the perspectives or result of the study is limited. Broader standpoints could be achieved if more time is offered to the researcher to conduct the study. 1. 10 SUMMARY In conclusion, developing motivation is like building a house. A house consists of individual bricks and requires solid foundations.

Otherwise, it will collapse under strain. Motivation requires the same element of strength. If the foundations of motivation are not in place and intact, the educators would have difficulty when coming across new and challenging learning tasks. Therefore, the research attempts to examine the motivational factors of TESL trainees to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools. The researcher attempted to establish whether the TESL trainees are indeed motivated to teach English in Malaysian secondary schools. The following chapters would present details of the research that has been carried out.


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