A look at motivation in language acquisition

languageAn article in the Guardian posed the question: What motivates us to learn language? I was curious to see if the same motivators that exist in the workplace are present in language acquisition. John Schumann, a professor at UCLA, specializes in how people learn languages and the associated neurobiology. “Integrative motivation is the motivation to learn a language in order to get to know, to be with, to interact with and perhaps become like the speakers of the target language,” Schumann says, according to the article. “Children have integrative motivation in acquiring their first language. ” “Instrumental motivation is language learning for more pragmatic or practical purposes,” he explains. “Such as fulfilling a school requirement, getting a job, getting a promotion in that job, or being able to deal with customers.” I see some strong parallels between integrative and instrumental motivation and the principles of Motivation 3.0 that Dan Pink outlines in his book, “Drive.” The social aspect of integrative motivation echoes the first component of Motivation 3.0, which is a sense of purpose—the social good that gives work meaning. Purpose is about creating social value—doing something for others, something that goes well beyond you as an individual. The factors that characterize instrumental motivation (learning for practical purposes) are in line with the second component of Motivation 3.0, which is mastery. Most people want to be really good at their jobs, particularly when they have a compelling purpose. No matter what we’re trying to learn or achieve, it seems the basics of motivation don’t change. When a person is motivated, he or she feels a social connection—and a purpose in that connection—as well as a strong need to improve or succeed in order to achieve mastery. Read the full article at Guardian.com.]]>

Share this...

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.