Language culture is an integral and essential part of human culture in general. Nowadays, globalization and integration of political, cultural and social life leads to establishing and strengthening relations between different countries and day by day Russia is coming to the international level. That is why it’s very important for a modern specialist to read professional and scientific literature regularly, and not only in Russian, but also in foreign languages, to keep abreast of the latest developments and conform to the professional competence. A successful specialist must possess not only reading and translation skills, but also communication skills to participate in international conferences and symposia. Nowadays it is almost impossible to claim success in career, find prestigious and well-paid job without knowing at least one foreign language.
Despite the exigency for specialists who speak foreign languages in different branches of industry, graduates of non-linguistic and technical universities have some difficulties in mastering a foreign language. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but one of the key problems is the low motivation to studying this subject. That is why there is an urgent need to develop the motivation to study a foreign language among students of technical universities.
The aim of this work is to examine psychological and pedagogical conditions of the motivation formation to study a foreign language among students of technical institutes of higher education.
First of all it’s necessary to consider the terms «motive» and «motivation» as a whole. The term «motive» in literal sense of the word means «encouraging”. Motive is a driving force of any activity, forming under the influence of living conditions of the person and determining the direction of his activity. In modern psychology, the term «motive» is used to refer to various events and conditions that cause activity of human being. Moreover, the needs and interests, inclinations and emotions, attitudes and ideals can serve in the role of the motive.
According to the famous Russian psychologist L. I. Bozovic, the motive is the main reason for the activities, «different objects of the external world, views, ideas, feelings and experiences may act as a motive». [Bozovic 1972: 53]. Thus, a conclusion could be made, that the motive is that for which human being undertakes activities. Furthermore, activities are object-related.
The term “motivation” should also be considered. Motivation is interpreted by different scientists from different attitudes: a result of processing of the impacts that a person receives from the family and the social environment; a physiological mechanism of activation in the memory of external objects, which contribute to the satisfaction of human needs (P. V. Simonov); a system of motives, which is as complicated as hierarchy (M. V. Matyukhina); a system of diverse psychological factors that determine a person's behavior to meet his needs (I. A. Zimniaya). As a matter of fact, motivation depends on the significance of the final result the person wants to achieve at the end. Earl W. Stevik defines motivation as a complex phenomenon that involves communication needs of the student and his attitude toward the target language community.
Based on numerous researches, psychologists have found a variety of motivational sphere of human being and its complex structure. Firstly, it may be affected by social motives, which, in turn, are determined by needs of the society. As a whole they constitute the external motivation. Secondly, the person’s motivation — stimulating sphere may be affected by the nature of activities. This is so-called internal motivation and its subspecies is motivation for success. Both external and internal motivation can be positive or negative. It is essential to consider each type of motivation in relation to foreign language learning.
External motivation is caused by a number of external factors. For example, the need to pass the exam in English with good results, the hope of financial reward, the possibility of future travel to different countries, a desire to continue the education in one of the famous universities abroad, the ability to communicate with foreigners and etc. Such motivation may be called personal or individual, because of the fact that students learn the language deliberately to achieve academic success or get a well-paid job in the future. This type of motivation is characterized by stable interest in the subject, a clear understanding of its significance, and also subjective aims in the learning process. The personal motivation is very important, because without it the teacher is unable to induce students to learn the foreign language. A good teacher should be aware of the main condition for the creation of external motivation: he should create a situation of success for the students. A good teacher must show his students that with knowledge of foreign languages they will be able to make a brilliant career in the future and merge into the international sociocultural space. External motivation tends to be distant, aimed to achieve the final result of the foreign language learning. However, its stimulating effect on the learning process can be quite strong. At the very beginning, or even before learning a foreign language, it directs the students to the “most important task”. It is very important for a teacher to build a learning process so that the students may feel progress at each point of achieving their aims. To enhance the impact of social motivation, some proper methodological tools should be used, something like special visual presentations to show the importance of knowing foreign languages for a variety of specialties. It will bring a long-distance target and make it tangible, creating a commitment to the cost of time and effort. However, at this point the external motivation is closely concerned with internal and even supported by it. Moreover, if the external motivation plays a «strategic role», setting the motion of the whole learning period from outside, the internal motivation plays a “tactical role”, as it is influenced by the process of mastering a foreign language. This motivation is close and up to date, because the learning process should be organized so that the students would experience joy and even pride of satisfaction their needs in each class.
As for the internal motivation, in contrast to the external, it is “inside” the students. It means that the students learn the foreign language for personal growth and cultural development. A student may be motivated by the pleasure of the learning process itself, the desire of communicating with native –speakers of a target language. It is believed that these students are more active in the classroom in comparison with the «instrumental» motivated students. In this case it is very important for a teacher to encourage these students for their achievements and success.
Why is motivation concerned with the foreign language teaching? Motivation is the psychological base of the whole process of teaching a foreign language. Motivation is considered as the «internal energy» (micro strategy) of the student, which allows him to begin living actives in a situation in which he is normally slow and inactive. Motivation is associated with emotions and emotional states. Emotions usually cause human desire or aversion to any activity. The internal motives eventually reveal in the emotions, and they are a trigger for action. In terms of emotions motivation can be divided into positive and negative (but it shouldn’t be confused with antimotivation). Positive motivation is accumulating positive emotions, and when their intensity is high (an individual threshold for each person), people move to action.
In this case, a specific example: must be considered: “I see myself attending refresher courses in Britain, speaking fluent English, experiencing positive emotions, telling myself that it's great and it's time to start learning English, it's time to attend lessons of English, it's time to make efforts to have English in my finger tips”. And on the contrary, when a person faces with negative motivation, in his mind he often draws the negative images of future events which, without a doubt, are going to upset him as long as he can’t stand them anymore. In this case, the following example is quite appropriate: “How ridiculous and stupid do I look on a training course in the U. S. A. without knowing English, I tell myself that it's terrible, I feel that it upsets me even more, and I can’t stand it, I will regularly attend all lessons of English, I will study hard”.
Great attention is paid to the problem of formation, maintenance and development of motivation in students to the subject “foreign language” both in psychology and methodology. Many methodologists emphasize the complexity and diversity of this issue, and in accordance with it they offer different approaches to solving this problem. The main ways of solving it are associated with:
creation of a specially developed system of exercises and students, doing these tasks, would feel the good results of their activities (the condition for internal motivation);
involving emotions in the learning process (the condition for internal motivation);
nature of the teacher's pedagogical influences, in particular, the use of stimuli and reinforcements (the condition for the formation of external motivation);
use of authentic materials in the foreign language lessons (creating a foreign language atmosphere in the class as a condition for the development of internal motivation);
use of personal individuation (the condition for the formation of both external and internal motivation);
cooperation with foreign experts (native speakers);
use of modern Internet — technologies.
The motivation formation for the study of foreign language in non-linguistic universities is closely associated with relationships between the students and a teacher. The sound pedagogical skills of teachers can generate strong interest in the students to the subject. Also, the teacher’s diminished requirements do not allow students to develop abilities, independence, responsibility and initiative. In contrast, the positive attitude of teachers to students as mature individuals creates the social conditions not only for the motivation formation to study a foreign language, but also for the realization of new opportunities in education.
According to psychological studies of motivation, in teaching a foreign language the teacher’s efforts should be focused on the development of students' internal motivation which comes from the activity itself, and has the greatest motivating force.
Internal motivation determines the students’ attitude to the subject and provides a stable progress in learning a foreign language. If a student is stimulated to learn a foreign language by the activity itself, when he likes to speak, read, take a foreign language by listening, learning new things, then it should be said without a doubt that he has an interest in the subject of «foreign language»; the conditions for achieving success are provided.
Considering the problem of motivation for studying foreign languages as a whole, many researchers come from the fact that the learning process cooperates with the following components:
the student and how he masters a foreign-language, his skills and abilities: what motivates him to learn;
the teacher and how he teaches: what methodological principles, methods, approaches, tools, and forms of education he uses;
the very subject of «foreign language» — that is, language and speech units that must be entered into the students’ memory.
In conclusion it should be mentioned that the motivation formation in teaching foreign languages to non-linguistic students is closely associated with the following factors: the people who are taught, how to teach them and what to teach. All these factors must be taken into account by all the foreign language teachers, if they want to make a learning process effective to their students.
Божович Л. И., «Изучение мотивации детей и подростков», Москва, 1972
Васильев Л. И., «Роль интеллектуальных эмоций в регуляции мыслительной деятельности». Психологический журнал № 4, 1998
Зимняя И. А., «Педагогическая психология», Санкт-Петербург, 2000
Ильин Е. П., «Мотивация и мотивы», Санкт-Петербург, 2000
Маслоу А. Г., «Мотивация и личность», Санкт-Петербург, 1999