Three Tales of Language Teacher Identity and Student Motivation

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Neil Cowie, Okayama University; Keiko Saku,i Kobe Shoin Women’s University


In this study we investigated how EFL teachers perceive student motivation and how their teacher identities influence their strategies to motivate students. The results of in-depth interviews with three Japan-based EFL teachers suggest that they have a complex understanding of learner motivation, which they formulate by amalgamating accepted motivation theories and their own experiences and observations about their students. The teachers recognize their own impact on influencing learner motivation but they also acknowledge their limitations. The strategies that the teachers use to motivate their students vary according to their experience, beliefs, and local contextual factors. We discuss implications for further motivation research as well as classroom practice.