The Problem of Motivation and Language Learning

in hive-175254 •  last month 

The English language is not native to Nigeria. For most of Nigerians who learn and use the language in Nigeria, it is not a mothertongue. However, by sheer accident of history the language has come to take roots here, having been inherited through our colonial experience.


Of course, English is an international language. Nigeria's educational development owes so much to the use of English as a medium of formal education. You are already familiar with it's various functions particularly in our multi-lingual setting and our link with the outside world.

Because the language is learnt through the school system, learner's are usually faced with a number of problems. Secondly, because it is usually learnt and taught as a second language (after the learner's mothertongue or first language) it also presents a number of problems for both the learner's and the teacher.

You should understand the word PROBLEM in this module, not in terms of difficulty alone but also as what needs to be done or considered in the process of teaching, learning and using the language.

Motivation Defined in Learning

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what makes you want to learn to do certain things? What made you decide to enrol on HIVE, for example? What makes people want to do anything at all?

As you may know, the term motivation is used to describe the conditions or states that account for the human being's (organism's) attempt at knowing certain things, acquiring certain skills, performing certain tasks or achieving certain results.

Motivation may be defined in simple terms as the urge that propels the human being to act in order to obtain some result or reward. "To act" here also includes attempt to learn. Psychologists define motivation in various ways but it includes the operations that energize behaviour toward some goal.

There are two main sources of motivation and they are;

  • intrinsic
  • extrinsic

Intrinsic motivation in the sense that that there are described in terms of natural urge, need, drive, which may be physiological or psychological, that is based within the human organism. Extrinsic motivation relates to the conditions of the external environment which stimulate the human organism to do certain things, to act. It is not easy to separate intrinsic motivation from the extrinsic because when you observe the observe the individual child, you will find the two at work.

Motivation in Language Learning

As we all know, language is a natural gift to the human being. Every normal child at birth is endowed with the capacity for language. That is the reason the child acquires the sounds and the grammar of his native language or mothertongue as he grows up in the environment of the particular language.

However, the child is also prompted or motivated to learn his mothertongue by some environmental needs which he must meet in order to maintain both biological and social existence.

Although language learning is a natural process for any normal child, several factors help to motivate him to want to learn, to learn quickly or fast, to learn efficiently and use language to meet everyday practical needs.

The question you need to examine or po der over is whether or not there could be lack of motivation or absence of any of the motivational factors described above in the situation of a child or adult learning a native language or mothertongue and a second language.

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In the aspect of language learning, it is damn fustrating.

Only high level of motivation will keep one going. For example as a Nigerian, trying to learn Chinese.

That is entering the world of fustration of Language learning but if there is the required motivation to keep going, then....

Very true. It can be really frustrating trying to learn a new language. But when there is some kind of motivation, you will learn