group، learning، language

دسامبر 29, 2018 0 By mitra7--javid
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has also defined the term using other words stating that group cohesiveness refers to the strength of inter-member relations, or the magnetism or glue that holds the group together and maintains it as a system. Dörnyei (2007a) has given a simple conceptualisation for this term describing group cohesiveness as the closeness and we feeling of a group, that is, the internal gelling force that keeps the group together.
Clément and associates (1994) have proposed that group cohesion is usually associated with a positive evaluation of the learning environment. In their empirical investigation for the relationship between motivation, self-confidence, and group cohesion in the foreign language classroom, they found that perceived group cohesiveness significantly contributed to the learners’ overall motivation construct and substantially correlated with a diversity of language criterion measures (Dörnyei, 2001a). Dörnyei (2001b) has proposed that student motivation tends to increase in cohesive class groups because students in such groups share an increased responsibility for achieving the group goals and the positive relations among them make the learning goes more enjoyable. Further, Dörnyei and Murphey (2003) maintain that a cohesive group has a more pleasant atmosphere than a non-cohesive class. Furthermore, Evans and Dion (1991) present a meta-analysis of studies that investigated the relationship between group cohesion and group performance. They found a significant positive relationship between these two variables, indicating that cohesive groups, on average, tend to be more productive than non-cohesive groups. Dörnyei and Malderez (1997) have confirmed the assumption revealed by Levine and Moreland (1990) that group cohesiveness has a positive effect on classroom interaction in the way that the members of a cohesive group are more likely than others to participate actively in conversations, and engage in self-disclosure orcollaborative narration. Among the strategies that have come out of previous studies to address the importance of group cohesiveness are those relating to encouraging cooperative learning by dividing students into small groups and letting them work towards the same goal, encouraging students to interact and share personal experiences and thoughts, and encouraging extracurricular activities and outings that increase the cohesiveness of students in the language class.
Group norms are another group-specific motivational component. Dörnyei and Murphey (2003) have referred to group norms as “the implicit and explicit dos and don’ts that regulate the life of communities,” (p.35), and Dörnyei and Malderez (1997) have defined group norms as “the rules or standards that describe behaviour that is essential for the efficient functioning of the group,” (p.69). Dörnyei and Malderez have referred to the norms imposed in educational contexts by the group leader (i.e. the teacher) or the school management as institutional norms. According to them, it is important, however, to realise that institutional norms do not become real group norms unless they are accepted as right or proper by the majority of the members (e.g. students) and emphasise the importance of the teacher’s attitude towards the group norms. They have hypothesized that if the students feel that the teacher does not pay enough attention to having the established norms observed and regularly reviewed, they are quick to take the message that the teacher did not mean what he/she said, and consequently tend to ignore these norms.
Dörnyei and Murphey (2003) have emphasised the need for developing norm system that governs the learner group behaviour. They argue that cohesiveness alone does not guarantee heightened productivity but only in cases when existing group norms are supportive of production. For Dörnyei (2001b), adopting effective learning norms is considered a major contributor to the learner group motivation. Dörnyei (2001a) shows that norms can be seen as the group-level equivalents of individual-level motives. Dörnyei (2007a) points out those group norms, in addition to group cohesion and group leadership, play an important role in determining the behaviour of the learner group, and therefore they can be seen as valid motivational antecedents.
Among the strategies that can help in establishing group norms is explaining clearly to the group members the class rules and the consequences of violating these rules. This should take place at the beginning of the group life (e.g. at the beginning of the term). Another way for setting group norms is through allowing students to suggest other class rules and discussing the suggested rules with them.
2.7.2. Generating Initial Motivation
This dimension focuses on generating students’ motivation by enhancing their positive values toward the language course and the language learning, increasing the learners’ expectancy of success, enhancing their goal-orientedness, making the teaching materials relevant to their needs, and helping learners to create realistic beliefs for learning the foreign language.
2.7.2.1. Familiarising Learners with L2 Culture and L2 Related Values
Familiarising learners with the values associated with the foreign language learning is one of the important strategies for generating their initial motivation. Dörnyei (2001a) has argued that the individual’s value system is a more or less organised collection of internalised perceptions, beliefs and feelings related to one’s position in the social world that have been developed during the past as a reaction to past experiences (p.124). Basedon Eccles and Wigfield’s (1995) L2 learning-specific value typology, Dörnyei (2001b) has distinguished three value dimensions associated with learning an L2: intrinsic value (i.e. the interest and enjoyment associated with the process of learning the target language), integrative value (i.e. the positive disposition towards the target language itself, its culture, and its speaking group), and instrumental value (i.e. the perceived pragmatic benefits of learning the target language). Increasing the amount of English the teacher uses in the language classroom has been found to uncover many L2 latent intrinsic values for learners. Reminding students of the importance of English as a global language and the usefulness of mastering this language as well as encouraging them to use English in their daily life activities outside the classroom are two strategies that can be used to familiarise students with the instrumental values of the foreign language. Encouraging students to discover interesting information about the foreign language and the foreign community via the internet and bringing various L2 cultural products like magazines and video recordings to the classroom to familiarise students with the cultural background of the target language can be two helpful techniques to make learners familiar with the integrative aspects of the target language and the target language community.
2.7.2.2. Increasing Learners’ Expectancy of Success
Increasing learners’ expectancy of success is another important strategy for generating their initial motivation. The importance of this strategy has been recognised in the literature. Burden (2000) has stressed that students’ motivation is enhanced when they maintain expectations for success. Burden proposes that when students experience success, they will develop feelings of self-worth and confidence toward new activities. Brophy (1998) argues that the simplest way to ensure that students expect success is to make sure that they achieve it consistently.
An important technique for increasing learners’ expectancy of success is by providing them with clear instructions while teaching. Wlodkowski (1999) has categorized instructional clarity as a trait of a motivating instructor and a necessity for motivating teaching. He explains that people seldom learn what they cannot understand. It is worse yet, according to him, to be in the presence of someone who seems to k
now and care about something but cannot convey what that something is. Pintrich and Schucnk (2002) have proposed that giving clear and detailed instructions and explanations ensure that students understand the content of the subject and do not engage in complex mental processing to find out what the teacher has said. Cheng and Dörnyei (2007) have emphasised the fact that no matter how capable a teacher is, it is unreasonable to anticipate that students will be motivated if the teaching lacks instructional clarity.
Another important strategy for increasing learners’ expectancy of success is through guiding and assisting them to succeed in performing learning tasks. Brophy (1998) has emphasised that teachers’ help and support is crucial for students, especially when they are engaged in difficult learning activities. Dörnyei (2001b) validates this, arguing that if students know that they can count on their teachers’ ongoing guidance and help, this will naturally increase their expectation of success. Wlodkowski (1999) stresses that sometimes a learner might be momentarily confused or do not know what to do next when lifted off or even moved with just a little help by the teacher. He suggests that some forms of teachers’ early scaffolding, physical proximity, and minimal assistance can be just enough for the learners to find the right path, continue involvement, and gain the initial confidence to proceed with learning.
Explaining the goals of learning tasks to students can be also of help in increasing their expectancy of success. Brophy (2004) has hypothesised that clarity about learning goals helps students focus on key ideas and applications and thus learn with a sense of purpose Ames (1992) has shed some light on the fact that students are more likely to approach and engage in learning in a manner consistent with the learning tasks’ goal when they perceive meaningful reasons for