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Anxiety is dead ... long live the avatar!

When I was a pupil in the MFL classroom many moons ago I did have issues of self-worth and my sense of self-efficacy was not strong at all.   Not only that my self-perception was probably low.  My need for self-acceptance was high and I undoubtedly then needed some kind of self-protecting excuse to ensure that I could provide some good reason as to why I did not like to contribute orally in the classroom and produce good work on paper. 
"Self-perception can destroy one's motivation"  (Dörnyei 1998)
Indeed, all of these issues (the self-worth, self-acceptance, self-efficacy) impacted negatively on my motivation and certainly influenced my performance.  I was lucky that I had a teacher who somehow was able to motivate me extrinsically through his approach to teaching and made classes more inspiring.  He provided me with the incentive I needed to overcome my anxiety so that my motivation was not purely about grades but about getting to know the target language culture.  My motivation was both instrumental and integrative and these enabled me ultimately to achieve decent grades in my exams and pushed me to go on and study languages at University.
"The prime determining factor [in language learning success] is motivation" (Gardner, 1985)
Nowadays as a MFL teacher I am able to take some of what I experienced as a language learner and blend it with some fantastic new technologies to enable my students to be motivated in other ways to contribute orally in class.  A variety of teaching methods is always good and influences my students' learning strategies.  We do enjoy playing games (battleships is always a favourite) and completing pair work, of course.  In addition, we also have some wonderful tech tools and we can easily make the most of these in class and even for homework.  The choice of tools is fantastic (maybe I need to put a post together on these at some point).  The best thing about these tools is that they are motivating, engaging, easy to use and fun.

Thanks to the avatar.... student anxiety is thus disappearing...

Zolt'n Dörnyei (1998) Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language Teaching, 31, pp 117-135

Gardner, R. (1985) Social Psychological Aspects of Language Learning: the Role of Attitudes and Motivation.


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