An activity to help us talk about our reasons for learning English.
Read what other learners say about their motivation. Tick any that have similar reasons to you. How are your reasons different?
1 “I’m learning English because it will be useful for my job.”
2 “It’s the language of science and research. I need to pass English to succeed in my studies”
3 “We’re going on holiday to New York in October.”
4 “I always wanted to learn English again but until now I haven’t tried. English will help me develop personally and professionally. I’d really like to be able to express myself in English.”
5 “I wasn’t very good at English at school, we had a terrible teacher and it was just another subject, another obligation. But now it’s my hobby and I’m learning it because I want to, not because I have to.”
6 “I tried English classes three times before but they never lasted more than a few months. Then, two years ago a good friend said that she wanted to do the same, and now I never miss a class. Knowing that she’ll be there means I don’t want to stop.”
7 “The world is such a small place these days: travelling, on the internet, films and TV and so on, and it’s all English, English, English. I want to be part of the global community.”
8 “I remember the first time I went to Dublin, I couldn’t say anything. I felt like Tarzan! I just pointed to things that I wanted and smiled. But the last time I went to Ireland was much better. I could order food in a restaurant and ask questions politely. My boyfriend was so impressed. A good feeling!
9 “I don’t know, I’ve always enjoyed it, ever since I was at school. I was good at it so I carried on. It’s a part of my life that I’m really happy with.”
Did you tick more than one of these reasons? That’s good because it means your motivation is strong enough to help you keep learning even if things change.
Now read the text below about the different types of motivation that these 9 learners illustrate
Learners 1,2 and 3 have clear, practical reasons for learning English. English is necessary in their lives, jobs, hobbies and interests. We can call these ‘extrinsic‘ motivations or goals and they can be very important because they help us decide our long-term objectives.
Learners 4 and 5 are motivated because they can make their own decisions about how, when, who with and for how long they do it. If they are in control, they take responsibility for learning. Their motivation comes from ‘autonomy‘.
Learners 6 and 7 enjoy sharing the learning experience with other people. It is important to be part of a community and to speak to people with similar interests… to have friends! We can call this motivation ‘relatedness‘.
Learners 8 and 9 want to keep learning because they are good at it. They enjoy making progress and it makes them feel good about themselves. We can call this motivation ‘competence‘.
Think about your motivation. How much of it comes from competence, relatedness, autonomy or some extrinsic reason?
Write about your motivations. You may sometimes want to look at them so write them in an important place in your notebook or on a piece of paper in your wallet. You can write them like this:
“I’m learning English because…
“I’m learning English so I can…
“I think the most important reason why I’m learning English is…
“But I also…
“Maybe in the future I will…