MA Thesis Proposal: Best Practices in Teaching Styles to Motivate ESL Students ENGL 781/881 Introduction to Research in TESOL Dr. Sedef Smith Date Best Practices in Teaching Styles to Motivate ESL Students Introduction A very significant factor in the efficient academic performance of students within the English as Second Language environment is their motivation to learn…
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Diverse research studies have been conducted in various fields of endeavor – from human behavioral courses in organizations to educational modules in traditional and ESL learning settings. There have been motivational theories that have evolved through time and aimed to determine which among the motivational factors facilitate or hinder the process of learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL). From a review of literature developed on the subject, there were studies that specifically aimed to determine the effectiveness of the motivational strategies in enhancing the academic performance and understanding of ESL students (Guilloteaux & Dornyei, 2008; Chen, Warden, & Chang, 2005; Lamb, 2007). After identifying the most effective factors, from the perspectives of students, the role of educators would be to put into practice these strategies that have been proven to be the most effective in facilitating ESL learning, on the premise that the most contemporary factors influencing the learning environment are taken into consideration. Briefly, the motivational factors that were identified to facilitate ESL learning are teachers’ style or methods, in conjunction with use of praise and acknowledgment (Lamb, 2007); instructional interventions applied by teachers (where 25 observational variables measuring the teachers’ motivational practices include: social chat, group work, effective praise, and tangible reward, among others (Guilloteaux & Dornyei, 2008, pp. 63-64); and group dynamics and group cohesiveness (Chang, 2010); among others. The teacher’s instructional approach is therefore crucial; but the ability of the teacher to gauge the students’ motivating drives must be of paramount concern in order for them to effectively apply motivating factors that facilitate, rather than inhibit, ESL learning. The 25 observational variables noted by Guilloteaux & Dornyei (2008) provides the conceptual framework for the current study, which attempts to investigate the best teaching practices applied in an ESL course. These variables measuring the teachers’ motivational practice are enumerated below: 1. Social Chat 13. Pair Work 2. Signposting 14. Tangible Reward 3. Stating the Communicative Purpose or 15. Personalization Utility of the Activity 16. Element of Interest, Creativity, 4. Establishing Relevance Fantasy 5. Promoting Integrative Values 17. Intellectual Challenge 6. Promoting Instrumental Values 18. Tangible Task Product 7. Arousing Curiosity or Attention 19. Individual Competition 8. Scaffolding 20. Team Competition 9. Promoting Cooperation 21. Neutral Feedback 10. Promoting Autonomy 22. Process Feedback 11. Referential Questions 23. Elicitation of Self or Peer Correction 12. Group Work 24. Effective Praise 25. Class Applause Source: Guilloteaux & Dornyei, 2008, pp. 63-64 Research Questions The study would therefore be guided by the following research questions: 1. Which among the 25 variables are deemed most effective to motivate ESL students in contemporary settings? 2. What performance measures would significantly gauge the effectiveness of the best teaching strategies and approaches that motivate
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