What Demotivates English Learners in the Classroom?

By Hsuan-Yau Tony Lai.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Motivation has long been considered a key element of English and foreign language teaching, learning, and has been the subject of extensive academic research. Demotivation, on the other hand, has not been as extensively researched and discussed due to its negative orientation, though it also plays a crucial role in the language learning process. This study aims to explore this dark side (Dörnyei, 2001) of the issue of the motivation - demotivation continuum. It investigates Taiwanese university students’ perceptions of demotivating factors in the English language classroom through the use of an open-ended questionnaire and follow-up interviews. In total, there were 61 participants, all English majors in the English department of a business college in Taipei City, Taiwan. According to the findings, ten demotivating factors were noted by the participants. They were: 1)the Teacher, 2)Course content/design, 3)Classroom environment, 4)Peer influence, 5)Lack of interaction between the teacher and students, 6)Material, 7)Inadequate facilities, 8)Assignment pressure, 9)Classroom atmosphere, and 10)Individual’s lack of focus in the classroom. The majority of these factors come from external influences (external factors). Only one factor comes from within the participants (internal factor). Some factors, for example the teacher’s English pronunciation and the lack of interaction between the teacher and students, were particularly emphasised in the study. These findings provide useful information and implications for English language teaching professionals.

Keywords: Demotivation, External, Factor, English Classroom

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 341.965KB).

Dr. Hsuan-Yau Tony Lai

Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Foreign Languages, National Taipei College of Business, Taipei City, Taiwan

Hsuan-Yau Tony Lai has an EdD (Doctor of Education) in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics from the University of Warwick, UK. His research interests include language learning motivation, English as an International Language, language teaching methodology and cultural issues. He is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Applied Foreign Languages at National Taipei College of Business.