Development of internal and external motivation of young learners while foreign language teaching

This article deals with the problem of the external and internal motivation in learning a foreign language at primary school. This issue has attracted and attracts not only leading representatives of pedagogy, but also philosophy, sociology, psychology and foreign language teachers. The authors analyzed the work of different trainers, dealing with the problem of learners’ motivation. Concepts of «internal» and «external» motivation were clarified. The authors concluded that the motivation for learning a foreign language should be in itself, without any external circumstances, because as a result it promotes an easier assimilation of theoretical material, success and effectiveness of learning, it also increases respect and self-esteem.

Early learning of foreign languages is becoming one of the priorities of educational policy in Kazakhstan and is officially recognized by the state as well as the early teaching of foreign languages helps not only more durable and practical knowledge of them free, but carries a big intellectual and moral potential. At the modern Kazakh school, learning a foreign language is offered since the first class and it is a recognition of the objectively existing social interest of learning foreign languages, and confirms the importance of the subject for the realization of future tasks making multilingual personalities. The developed country in the twenty-first century is active, educated and healthy citizens. School leavers should know Kazakh, Russian and English [1]. The result of teaching students should be mastering the skills of critical thinking, independent research and in-depth analysis. Thus, one of the most important factors to achieve all these goals is formation of a positive motivation to learning a foreign language.

Modern educators and psychologists are sure that the quality of activity and its results depends on the needs of the individual, his motivation, because it is the motivation of purposeful activity, determined by the choice of means and methods, ordering them to achieve the goal. I.A.Zimnyaya calls the motivation «pushing mechanism» of all human activity [2].

After analyzing the literature on a selected issue, it is clear that meaningful theoretical and pedagogical research on the development of internal and external learning motivation at an early stage of learning a foreign language is not enough.

Motivation in psychology is a wide range of phenomena, encouraging people to work. The word «motive» originates from the Latin. Moveo — «move». The concept of motivation arises when you try to explain, not describe the behavior. This is the search for answers to questions like «Why?», «For what purpose?», «What for?», «What's the point...?».

Let us consider the concept of «motivation» from the point of view of psychology and pedagogy. Motivation in psychology is a wide range of phenomena, encouraging people to work. Currently, many interpretations of motivation often complicate an unambiguous understanding of it. Motivation (in the broad sense) — is all that encourages human activity: his needs, instincts, impulses, emotions, attitudes, ideals and so on.

The term «motivation» is a broader concept than the term a motive. The word «motivation» is used in modern psychology, in a double sense: as denoting a system of factors determining the behavior (this includes, in particular, needs, motives, goals, intentions, aspirations, and many others), and as a characteristic of a process that encourages and supports behavioral activity at a predetermined level.

Motivation in pedagogy is a common name for the processes, methods and means of encouraging students to productive cognitive activity, active development of educational content. So, motivation — is what motivates us.

Many researchers and methodologists believe that motivation is a critical factor that affects the success of mastering a foreign language. The analysis of literature indicates the presence of different points of view with regard to the motivation and learning a foreign language. The peculiar characteristic of the understanding of the motivation of Gestalt psychology. Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist who developed the methodology for the experimental study of the motives, understands them as something independent. He singled out the motive in a separate category. In his understanding, the motives are objects — various areas of «living space» which a person needs or quasi-need — intention. These objects are no longer motivate the environment when the need (or quasi-need) is satisfied.

One of the earliest studies of personal motivation, as you know, was the work of H.Murray. Of the many motivators of behavior, he has identified four basic needs: to achieve, to dominance, to affiliate. M.Argyle considers these requirements more broadly. Here are the requirements for the study of foreign languages:

  • non-social needs, which may cause social interactions (biological needs for water, food, money);
  • need for dependence. For example, decision of aid protection;
  • need for affiliation, which is expressed in the need to communicate, emotional contacts, friendship and love;
  • need for domination, so called decision to take oneself or to be taken by a group as a leader;
  • need for self-esteem, self-identity, the decision to take oneself as

Gordon Willard Allport, a representative of the «personalist» direction, in his book «Personality,» introduced the idea of personal approach to human motivation: «The motives of human activity are independent of the original circumstances of their occurrence. This can be explained through the analogy of a tree, and the ratio of seed: after the tree grew, it no longer depends on the circumstances of his birth. Similarly, a person growing up, he is responsible for his deeds and actions and no longer depends on the vicissitudes of childhood. «

The theory of motivation by Maslow it is noted the desire of the individual to continuous development as the leading motive. Motives are determined by the needs, which have several levels: from the biological needs to the needs of self-actualization. The behavior depends on the needs and abilities and is determined by internal and external influences.

According to the classification of motives by Maslow, a person from birth consistently appearing and his adulthood the following seven classes of needs:

  • physiological needs (organic);
  • the need for security;
  • the need for belonging and love;
  • the requirements of respect (reverence);
  • cognitive needs;
  • aesthetic needs;
  • the need for self-actualization [3].

As you can see, this classification is similar to the ideas of M.Argyle.

The most comprehensive study of the problem was conducted by R.Gardner and W.Lambert. They identified two groups of motivation: instrumental and integrative [4].

Instrumental motivation suggests a desire to learn a foreign language for any practical purposes, such as getting a job, reading the foreign press and literature, exam or getting enhance the career ladder.

Integrative motivation, it can also be called internal motivation — a desire to learn the language, to understand, to communicate with people of the country where they speak the target language. According to R.Gardner, that it is crucial. Initially it was thought that the trainees with integrative motivation more successfully master the language than learners with instrumental motivation.

Thus, the ability is not the only characteristic of the language learner, the more important role plays an affective aspect, i. e. the motivation and attitudes towards foreign language that mean something more than just a desire to learn the language.

R.Gardner and his group paid much attention to the source of respect to the language. Interest in the affective (motivation) aspect of the learning process is reflected in some experimental approaches that attempt to reduce the negative attitude of the students at the meeting with the new language.

In the modern pedagogical and psychological literature, there are two types of motivation — external and internal.

External motivation is dependent on human interaction with its environment. It is based on incentives, penalties and other types of stimulation that are either direct or inhibit the behavior. External motivation during activity causes excitement, emotional stress, and sometimes the desire to resist. Emotional tension disorganizing activity leads to a decrease in attention, weakening control over errors, poor memory and reduce overall health. 

Internal motivation is a construct that describes this type of behavior determination when initiating and adjusting factors arise from inside his personal self and is completely inside of the behavior. Internal motivation is associated with the process of activity and is not dependent on external circumstances, i.e., a system of initiative and internal control problems and the search voltage, followed by interest and enthusiasm. The basis of internal motivation are factors emanating from the innermost sense of identity of their conduct, they do not depend on the incentives, but its own activity. «The people are involved in the activity for its own sake, rather than to achieve any external rewards. This activity is an end in itself rather than a means to achieve other goals. « Internal motivation contributes to obtaining the pleasure of teaching, it is an interest, excitement, enhances self-esteem of the individual. It helps in the absorption of light by a more theoretical material success and learning efficiency, increases self-esteem and respect for the individual. An example of internal motivation.

The student comes home and says with delight that at school there was an interesting lesson, and he wants to read the encyclopedia for tomorrow to participate in the discussion, it shows an example internally motivated behavior. In this case, the focus is on the implementation of the lesson comes from the content of the lesson and is associated with interest and pleasure that accompany the process of learning and discovery. When all friends are fleeing recorded in karate because it has become fashionable (example of external motivation), and our student is sent to the athletics section, because he is only interested, he again demonstrates internally motivated behavior.

It follows that the penetration into the essence of the behavior of the teacher and student motivation is very important. Meanwhile, practical observations and literature data indicate that teachers find it difficult in some cases to determine the true motivation of the student, the specific features of the motivation inherent in a particular age group of schoolchildren. Sometimes the teacher so focused on the issue of the transfer of knowledge that he had «not reached» to the analysis of motivation, but doing it is very necessary.

The meaning of the learning — it is an internal biased attitude of student to teaching, schoolboy exercises attachment to ourselves, to his experience and to his life. Psychological observations indicate that the presence of the meaning of the teaching of schoolchildren growing success of educational activities (such as its results — the stock and quality of knowledge and the methods, techniques, knowledge acquisition), easier to digest, and it becomes more affordable educational material, better is its storage above becomes awareness of the learning process, the attention of students is better focused, their efficiency increases.

The meaning of the learning, its relevance to the student forms the basis of the motivational sphere. The motives of the student depends on student orientation from the meaning of the teaching.

Motivational stage is the message, why and for what students need to know this part of the program, what is the main objective of the training operation. At the lesson, the teacher tells and shows the students all of this information which for some children is not significant: they listen and do not hear, look and do not see, they are very busy with other activities: dreaming, thinking about their personal things. In order to make these children involved in training activities, it is necessary to create an incentive for strengthening the process of thinking.

Establishment of a problematic situation leading into the content of the upcoming themes. Before you start teaching, the student must learn (to understand, accept for himself, put himself) learning task. This is achieved by using the following techniques: productions to students tasks that can be solved only by studying the subject; the story about the teacher of theoretical and practical significance of the proposed topic; the story of how the problem was solved in the history of science;

  • Formulation of the main learning task as a result of the discussion of the problematic The task for students is the goal of their activities for this lesson.
  • Consideration of self-control and self-assessment opportunities for the study of the After the formulation of the problem plans for future work are planned and discussed, it turns out that you need to know and be able to study topics that students are not able to solve the problems. After the main learning task became clear that the students plan and discuss plans for future work.

It is necessary to tell the time allotted for the study of the topic, and they need to know and be able to study it. This creates the need for installation on the study material.

Operational and educational stage is these actions when a teacher makes a student get busy. To do this, he create situations of different nature: intellectual (subject, search engine, discussion, conflict, strife); game (cognitive games, competitions); emotional (success, passion theme).

Establishment of a problem situation, which introduces students to the subject matter of the upcoming topics of the program. It can be created in different ways: formulation of the problem to students whose solution can only be based on the study of the topic, the conversation (story) teachers or students about the theoretical importance of the upcoming topics (section) of the program; the story of the teacher on how to solve problems in the history of science; execution of practical work, which ends with staging problematic issue.

The statement of the main learning task, which is usually done as a result of the discussion of the problem situation.

Reflective-evaluation stage. At this stage, students learn to analyze their own learning activities, evaluate them by comparing the results with the set learning objectives. It is associated with the analysis done, error analysis, and the provision of necessary assistance, make a comparison with the task and the evaluation of the work. So, the useful task such as «Make a question or a task for which you can check the level of assimilation of studying the topic.» For stronger students this assignment: «Write the main issues we have passed in the subject, and a number of ticks, as you have learned the material: good or not so good, or slightly learned.» For the less able students there can be part of the questions to, and their task is to note the level of mastery of the material.

It is important that monitoring and evaluation not only set the level of assimilation of the program material for each student, but also be used to encourage him to continue working.

It is important to pay attention to summing up so that students are pleased with the work done, by overcoming the difficulties encountered, and the new knowledge that will lead to the formation of expectations of the same emotional experiences in the future. Therefore, this step has to serve as a reinforcement learning motivation that leads to the formation of its stability.

In pedagogical literature three main sources of formation of positive motivation of cognitive activity are identified:

  • content of educational material;
  • nature and level of educational and informative activities;
  • relationships of a teacher to students [5].

Thus, in the formation of learning motivation educational material plays an important role. It should be understood that the content of each lesson, each topic can be motivated only under the following conditions:

  • taking into account the nature of the needs of students;
  • being accessible, but also very complicated and difficult;
  • based on previous knowledge to bring new information;
  • addressed to the problems of cognition of phenomena and objects of the world, the mastery of the methods of

Another source of formation of motivation lies in the attitude of teachers to students. The main activity of the teacher in this case is to create an atmosphere of emotional comfort during the exercises, ensuring friendly relations in the team, in the manifestation against the students of pedagogical optimism, which is what the teacher expects of each student high performance, holds the students hope and believe in their abilities.

Primary school teacher in his activity must not only take into account the basic ways of formation of motivation of learning, but also actively use a variety of techniques and methods to stimulate students. The results of observations should be recorded in the diaries, it will keep track of their momentum and to plan future work.

From the all above we can draw the following conclusions:

  • Learning motivation is defined as a special kind of motivation included in the activity of teaching. In the context of the general psychological motivation is a collection, the system of psychologically diverse factors that determine the behavior and human activities;
  • The motivation in teaching is the common name for the processes, methods and means of encouraging students to productive cognitive activity, active development of educational content. In modern psychological and pedagogical literature two types of motivation are identified — internal and external. The motivation of student learning should be in himself, without any external circumstances, because it promotes results in an easier assimilation of theoretical material success and effectiveness of learning, respect and self-esteem increases. It is necessary that the child have a desire to do something and do Therefore the focus in the learning process should not be attached to the outside things such as — tips, hints, requirements, guidelines, prodding or coercion, but the inner motivating forces. Internal motivation is aimed at qualitative performance of the job, while the external to the number.



  1. Message from the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to people of January 17th, 2014, [ER]. Access mode:
  2. Zimnyaya I.A. Pedagogical psychology, Rostov on Don: Phoenix, 1997, 199
  3. Abraham H.Maslow. Motivation and Personality (2nd ed.), 2009, 139
  4. Gardner R.S., Lambert W.E. Аttitudеs аnd Mоtivаtiоn in Sесоnd Lаnguаgе, Lеаrning, 2004, p.
  5. Zaitsev M.V. Motivation and some ways to improve it, Moscow: First of September, 2003, 236
Name of author: I. Sokolova, E.Akkerman, M.Strama
Year: 2016
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy