The English language teachers, as well as any other teachers, encounter various professional problems concerning lesson planning, class management, student motivation, coping with unpredicted issues, and numerous other problems. There are many specific problems that usually only foreign language teachers meet, e.g. the usage of the mother tongue during the lessons etc. Student motivation
One of the most important problems the English language teacher faces is student motivation. For learning of any new language motivation is crucial and the teacher must understand its importance. It is especially essential when teaching young students and adolescents. There are two types of motivation: extrinsic (stimulus forms outside the classroom and individual, forced by external influence, e.g. different rewards, social approval etc.) and intrinsic (motivation comes from inside the classroom or personal interests of the student, e.g. method of teaching, activities presented in the classroom). The key problem connected with motivation is its sustaining. The teacher’s main task is to help students to sustain their motivation. (Harmer, 21) The teacher’s professionalism is very important factor for motivation. Teacher’s support and help are also vital for student motivation for learning foreign languages. The encouragement of students and good teacher-student relations are highly important for students’ self-esteem and confidence. Students with normal self-esteem enjoy the learning process and are more likely to acquire the language, e.g.: students are not afraid to participate in class discussions, group work etc. Students with healthy self-esteem are motivated to use foreign language in communication which makes their linguistic skills more developed. (Ebata) To motivate students the teacher must conduct lessons in the way which will interest them and incite their participation. The tasks must be of appropriate level of challenge, i.e. adjusted to students’ level of language competence (neither too complicated nor too easy). The tasks that give practical value in real life, for example students’ presentations on the topics of their interest, class discussions on exciting matters, will benefit in motivating students to learn and to use their language knowledge. For students it is very important to be part of decision making in the class, so they feel responsibility for their learning process, and feel that they have influence on what is happening. (Ebata) To maintain and sustain student motivation teacher should encourage students with adequate feedback, support, guidance, and clarity of expectations. Student motivation gives them higher chances to be successful in the process of learning a new language and, what is very important, to be satisfied with the results of the learning. (Harmer, 22) Learner autonomy
Learner autonomy is a problematic question and it is often confused with self-instruction. The teacher’s role is to create and maintain a learning environment in which students are more autonomous. Learner autonomy is a concept supported by Henry Holec in the European language education. Learner autonomy is a learning strategy and self-regulator for active and mindful learning (Dörnyei, 195). Holec’s first works on learner autonomy date back to the 1980’s and the concept becomes more and more popular nowadays in the language teaching. Some scholars interpret learner autonomy as independent language usage, others as independent language learning. There is also a general connotation of learner autonomy that combines independent language learning and independent language and all the factors that foster autonomous learning. There is a big amount of the notions corresponding a synonymous meaning of learner autonomy: learner independence, self-direction, autonomous learning, independent learning etc. Basically they are almost equal in the meaning and have been used to denote related concepts (Thanasoulas) Autonomy and independency are...
Bibliography: 1. Dörnyei, Zoltán. The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Routledge, 2005.
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3. Harmer, Jeremy. How to teach English. Pearson Education India, 2006
4. Little, David. "LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies." Learner autonomy and second/foreign language learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 June 2014. .
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6. Thanasoulas, Dimitrios. "What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered?." The Internet TESL Journal, 1 Nov. 2000. Web. 31 May 2014. .
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