even the most dedicated ones, are likely to be affected and become demoralised,” (p. 34).
There are several ways in which teachers can employ this strategy in the formal school environment to show their students that they do care about their learning. Wlodkowski (1999) has argued that teachers and students should outline a shared essential message to imply that instructors and learners are partners in solving their learning problems. Wlodkowski believes that by letting learners know that there is a concrete means of assistance available, teachers offer immediate evidence that they do care about the people who learn with them, and that this will help students reduce their fear to learn.
According to Wlodkowski, some of the situations in which teachers can show their readiness for their students’ needs include announcing their availability during office hours and breaks, arranging tutorial assistance by appointment, or making sure learners who are having difficulty can use special materials or aids. Dörnyei (2001b) has suggested further ways for teachers to express that students’ learning does matter to them. Some of these ways incorporate offering concrete assistance, correcting tests and assignments properly, sending learners copies of relevant scholarly articles, showing concern when learning process is not going well, being accessible to students by allowing them to contact the teacher by phone or email, being available for overtime, responding immediately when help is requested, encouraging extra assignments and offering to assist students with theses assignments.
126.96.36.199.3. Teacher’s Care and Acceptance
The importance of this aspect is well-established in educational psychology literature. For example, Wlodkowski (1999) has stressed that students need to feel safe and respected. He proposes that unless learners know that they can express themselves without fear of threat and humiliation, they will not be forthcoming with their perceptions of their own reality. Burden (2000) has hypothesised that when students see that the teacher has a genuine interest in their well-being, they are more likely to work to improve. He adds that by showing they care, teachers help students to feel the teacher’s interest in their welfare. Teven and McCroskey (1997) have argued that the more that students perceive their teacher cares about them, the more the students will care about the class, and the more likely they will pay attention in class and consequently learn more. They add that when a teacher is able to understand a student’s view, and respect that view, the student is more likely to believe that the teacher cares about him/her. Raffini (1993) has recognised the importance of Glasser’s (1969) suggestion that teachers should attempt to treat all students with kindness, politeness, and respect at all times regardless of how they treat the teacher. Chambers (1999) has advised that the teacher’s relationship with his/her students usually affects the atmosphere at the classroom, arguing that if the relationship is poor, the pupils’, and teacher’s motivation is likely to be poor.
Teven (2007) warns against teachers’ misbehaviour in the classroom stating that if teachers misbehave, they are generally perceived by students as non-caring and that such a perception could result in negative student affect, potential demotivation, and negative teacher evaluations.
It is believed that the teacher’s care of his or her students generates their trustworthiness in him/her (see McCroskey, 1966; Teven & McCroskey, 1997; McCroskey & Teven, 1999; Knight, 2006). In her model of teacher credibility, Knight (2006) refers to trustworthiness as a concept for whether or not the teacher has the best interest of the student at heart. She explains that a teacher who is trustworthy is one who promotes positive teacher/student relationships in which students are made to feel welcome as participants in the class, in which the teacher sincerely cares about the welfare of students, and in which the teacher is sensitive to gender and cultural issues in the classroom. Knight describes the trustworthy teacher as safe, just, kind, friendly, flexible, honest, and as one who follows through on promises and never embarrasses students.
The results of Teven’s (2007) study showed that the teacher’s behaviours in the classroom influenced students’ perceptions of teacher’s competence as a dimension of his/her credibility. They found that the teacher engaging in appropriate classroom behaviours and exhibiting a caring approach was perceived as the most competent and trustworthy. Conversely, the teacher who engaged in misbehaviours was perceived as incompetent and therefore less credible.
Knight characterises the competence dimension in her model as the perceived expertness of the teacher (i.e. his/her knowledge of the subject matter) as well as teaching the course in a way that will truly be of value to students. She describes the competent teacher as informed, experienced, skilled, and qualified.
188.8.131.52.4. Teacher’s Immediacy
Teacher’s immediacy is another important motivational aspect of teacher behavior affecting students’ motivation. Mehrabian (1969, 1971) have conceptualised immediacy as the extent to which communication behaviours enhance psychological closeness and reduce physical and/or psychological distance between communicators. According to Christophel (1990), immediacy is the degree of perceived physical and/or psychological closeness between people.
Gorham (1988) and Carrell and Menzel (2001) have proposed that the teacher’s immediacy behaviours can be displayed verbally and non-verbally. According to them, verbal immediacy is the relationship one builds with another individual through the linguistic acts of conversation and includes the use of humour, praise, topics of discussion, and willingness to have conversations with students. On the other hand, nonverbal immediacy manifests in the behaviours, other than verbal statements, that decrease the physical and psychological distance between two people. These include gestures, eye contact, head nods, relaxed body position, vocal expressions, facial expressions, smiles, and movement (Andersen & Andersen, 1982).
Several studies (e.g. Richmond, 1990; Christophel, 1990; Chesebro & McCroskey, 2001; Christophel & Gorham, 1995; Frymier, 1993; Frymier & Shulman, 1995; Jaasma & Koper, 1999) have found that teachers’ immediacy plays an important role in increasing students’ motivation. More precisely, non-verbal immediacy has been shown to be positively related to students’ motivation to learn (Christophel, 1990; Frymier, 1994; Richmond, 1990). Pogue and AhYun (2006) have proposed that teachers’ nonverbal immediacy influences students’ state motivation and positively affects learning outcomes. Christophel’s (1990) findings support the theory that immediacy and state motivation are positively correlated. Since some of the students’ state motivational levels were modified by teacher immediacy behaviours, she concluded that state motivation levels are modifiable within the classroom.
Some studies like that of Teven and Hanson (2004) have implied that the teacher immediacy and credibility are related to one another in that highly immediate teachers are usually rated higher on credibility. They found that college instructors who were non-verbally immediate and who also used more explicit, verbally caring messages in communication with their students’ generated positive students’ perceptions of teacher competence and trustworthiness.
184.108.40.206. Creating a Pleasant Classroom Atmosphere
The second strategy for creating the basic motivational conditions in the foreign language classroom is to create a pleasant classroom atmosphere. Dörnyei (2001a) has suggested that any practicing teacher should be aware of the fact that a tense classroom climate is one of the most effective factors that generate students’ anxiety and undermine their learning effectiveness and L2 motivation. Good and Brophy (1994) have proposed that it is important that the teacher be a patient, encouraging, and supportive person to learners to give the learning the chance to occur within a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.
One way that helps in creating a pleasant classroom atmosphere is through bringing in and encouraging humour in the language classroom and this is something that Dörnyei (2001b) recommends. He argues that if students can feel that the teacher allows a healthy degree of self-mockery and does not treat school as the most hallowed of all places, the jokes will come.
Encouraging learners to personalise the classroom environment according to their taste is another way teachers can promote a pleasant atmosphere in their classes. This personalisation could be in the form of decoration, posters, flowers, funny objects, etc. Dörnyei (2001b) argues that this way will promote the students’ notion of their control over their learning environment; the thing that will increase their autonomy feelings and hence enhance their motivation.
220.127.116.11. Promoting Group Cohesiveness and Setting Group Norms
This is the third strategy that can be used to create basic motivational conditions in the language classroom. It has been increasingly well-recognised in literature (e.g. Clément et al., 1994; Dörnyei, 1994; Dörnyei, 2001a; Dörnyei, 2001b; Dörnyei & Murphey, 2003; Dörnyei, 2007a) that learner groups can be a substantial source of motivation to learn an L2. Group-based motives, known also as group dynamics, such as group cohesion, group norm and rewards system, and goal-orientedness, usually influence learners’ motivation considerably.
Group cohesion is one of a set of group components that has been found to influence the language learners’ motivation. Dörnyei (1994, p.279) has defined group cohesion as “the strength of the relationship linking the members to one another and to the group itself.” He (2001a)
even the most dedicated ones, are likely to be affected and become demoralised,” (p. 34).