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April 2021 - Year 23 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Motivational Strategies in Essay Writing: What Are Students’ Perceptions?

Puspa Dewi is a Ph.D. student at Semarang State University and a lecturer of the English Education Program of Purworejo Muhammadiyah University. She has been teaching English for ten years and has published many articles in national journals. Her main interests are English Language Teaching, technology in language learning, translation, learning methods, learning strategies, and learning media. Email: dewipuspa468@gmail.com.

 

Abstract

This research aims to examine students’ perceptions of the implementation of motivational strategies, which include Creating Basic Motivational Condition (CBMC), Generating Initial Motivation (GIM), Maintaining and Protecting Motivation (MPM), and Encouraging Positive Retrospective Self-Evaluation (EPRS). The research participants were an English lecturer and thirty-eight student volunteers. The researcher used questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to determine the importance of motivational strategies in essay writing. The result showed that the lecturer needs to implement unimplemented strategies to improve students’ writing skills. This study's implications are outside the local context, as they show how the essay writing course is perceived, and it is a part of the Indonesian national program for the university level. The lecturer also needs to set specific learning objectives and use approved methods to improve students' writing skills. The lecturer must focus not only on the structure and content of the essay but also on other writing elements such as grammar, vocabulary, and mechanics. The lecturer must also give a clear explanation of students' mistakes to improve their understanding of grammar to have good proficiency in writing.

 

Introduction

Several factors influence the success of L2 learning, and one of which is motivation. It is an essential element in achieving objectives that have positive elements in the educational learning process. It becomes a crucial factor in achieving success in L2 acquisition and maintaining students' aptitude in language learning (Ruesch et al., 2012). Motivation is an internal controller, encouraging power, wish, or desire (Deniz in Camit et al., 2014). Motivation is the main factor in students' success while learning the language (McEown & Takeuchi, 2014). It influences how a learner learns a second language and determines the success or failure in learning it. The learner learns the language due to desire and satisfaction (Ditual, 2012). Motivation is necessary because it determines the continuity of a learner in a course, the level of interest, the quality of the work, and the performance (Hartnett in Panagiotidis et al., 2018).

Further, it is a goal-directed behavior done by individuals to reach a specific purpose, and it allows them to accomplish long-term goals (Gupta & Woldemariam, 2011). Motivation is the main factor influencing all elements in mastering L2, initiating, and maintaining the language learning process (Ghanizadeh & Rostami, 2015). In the context of learning English as a Foreign Language, it is the combination of objectives, attitudes, and willingness to learn (Crookes & Schmidt, 1991). It has a close relationship to some factors which influence the learning process: e.g., attitudes, attributions, views about language learning, strategy choice, and language use patterns (Ruth Ming Har Wong, 2007). A study conducted by Long, Ming, and Chen has proved that students need the motivation to help them learn English. Teachers should make their students aware that motivation is a factor that presents an incomplete explanation of academic achievement (Kerlin in Amini, 2015). Thus, teaching practitioners should use strategies to motivate students to learn effectively (Long et al., 2013).

 

Literature review

Since motivation is crucial in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning, many EFL teaching practitioners apply motivational strategies in their classes. As introduced by Dörnyei in 2001, this implementation has become the main concern for EFL practitioners and researchers. Motivational strategies deal with techniques to encourage language learners to achieve the goal and always involve motivational factors inside and outside the classroom (Dörnyei in Sugita & Takeuchi, 2010; Ruth M.H. Wong, 2014). L2 teachers sometimes do not apply some important strategies due to a range of culture-specific factors, including frequent assessments, large class sizes, cultural norms, and an overwhelming emphasis on students’ obedience (Cheng & Dörnyei in Lee et al., 2019).

There are four components in motivational strategies; namely, Creating the Basic Motivational Conditions (CBMC); Generating Initial Motivation (GIM); Maintaining and Protecting Motivation (MPM); and Encouraging Positive Retrospective Self-Evaluation (EPRS) (Dörnyei, 2001). Students' motivation is prepared, generated, encouraged, maintained, and protected in these four phases. Those components develop into 35 strategies and  three teaching steps: pre-teaching, whilst-teaching, and post-teaching.

Writing is a fundamental language component in language learning, which involves grammatical structures and vocabulary  (Cole & Feng, 2015). Writing is the most complicated skill for L2 learners (Crookes & Schmidt, 1991). Writing is not easy, but writing is tricky because it involves thinking processes to produce good ideas in a well-written text (Franscy et al., 2019). Writing has a crucial role when learners communicate a message to a reader for a purpose. Through writing, the learner can describe things, and as a result, the readers can get information by reading the written messages (Ratnah, 2018). In writing, students need to include all linguistic elements to produce a good composition (Nazri et al., 2018). Students have to arrange sentences grammatically and link them in a well-formed and readable text (Heaton in Limbong, 2018).

There are different types of writing subjects at the university level, one of which is essay writing. An essay consists of a group of paragraphs about one topic and one main idea. It consists of three main parts. They are introduction; body; and conclusion (Oshima & Hogue, 1998). It can discuss a subject directly or indirectly, seriously or humorously. It describes personal opinions or merely reports information. 

The four types of essays based on the organizational level are the chronological order, the cause and effect, the comparison/contrast, and the argumentative essay. Chronological order involves a written essay in which a series of events has occurred. The cause-and-effect essay, usually in block or chain form, describes an occurrence's reasons and results. The block organization discusses and examines results in the form of a block. Meanwhile, in the second organization, the writer presents all the causes and results in a chain. The comparison/contrast essay explains the similarities and differences between the two elements. It compares elements belonging to the same category. In an argumentative essay, the writer expresses opinions and reasons on a particular topic (Oshima & Hogue, 1998).

In L2 writing, motivation plays a crucial role in L2 writing instruction and writing performance (Karaca & Inan, 2020). Teaching practitioners need to motivate students in the classroom context (Johnson, 2012). They can apply a teaching strategy; namely, motivational strategies. In this research, the lecturer uses motivational strategies in teaching four types of essays.

Motivational strategies (MSs) are instructional interventions applied by the teacher to attain and encourage students' motivation, and self-regulating strategies used purposefully by students to maintain their motivation level (McEown & Takeuchi, 2014). Many countries have researched motivational strategies, including Indonesia, and the result showed a gap in students' and teachers' perceptions regarding its implementation (Karaca & Inan, 2020). A study conducted by Astuti (2013) shows that the gap was found in the fourth component, which encouraged Encouraging Positive Retrospective Self-Evaluation (EPRS). Teaching the students to evaluate their learning will be a possible strategy to improve their motivation. English teachers have to build good relationships with the students and decide on appropriate teaching materials (Astuti, 2013).

Many researchers conducted the implementation of motivational strategies in language learning. The research result shows the positive relationship between teachers’ implementation of motivational strategies and students’ motivational behaviors, specifically their attention to class events, their participation, and volunteering to do the tasks. Research also suggests that students’ perceptions of their teachers’ use of motivational strategies have a positive correlation with their motivation level (Bernaus & Gardner in Karimi & Zade, 2018). Many researchers research the implementation of motivational strategies, although no study specifically investigates the implementation of motivational strategies in essay writing teaching in Indonesian universities yet. Hence, there is a need to research this area.

Based on the study's background, this present study aims to answer the following research question: How are students' perceptions of motivational strategies implementation in essay writing?

Then, in line with the research question, this present study's objective is to investigate students' perceptions of motivational strategies implementation in essay writing.

 

Methods

Research design

This research was designed using a qualitative case-study approach. It is an empirical research method used to investigate a contemporary phenomenon, focusing on the case's dynamics within its real-life context (Cohen et al., 2018; Heigham & Croker, 2009). This research investigates students' perceptions of the implementation of motivational strategies in essay writing, so the research describes detailed information about students' perceptions of motivational strategies implementation in essay writing.

 

The subject of the research

The respondents were a lecturer of Essay Writing, and 38 students registered in the essay writing class. The lecturer had nine-years of teaching experience. The students were 25 females and 13 males of various ages. They had learned essay writing as voluntary participants.

 

The place of the research

The research was conducted at Purworejo Muhammadiyah University. Purworejo Muhammadiyah University is one of the private universities in Purworejo, Central Java. It is located on KHA Dahlan Road 3 & 6, Purworejo, Central Java, Indonesia.

 

The instruments of the research

This research's instruments are close-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews focusing on students' perceptions of motivational strategies' importance in essay writing. In the questionnaire, the Likert scale was used with 35 elements of questions taken from Dörnyei (2001) work and open interviews. The researcher then gave some codes to identify various topics analyzed concerning Dörnyei's four phases of motivational teaching strategies. The researcher used close-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to investigate students' perceptions of motivational strategies' implementation.

 

The Techniques of Collecting Data

The Technique of Collecting Close-Ended Questionnaires

The researcher collected close-ended questionnaires with the following steps:

  1. Making a list of statements of questionnaires based on the theory
  2. Asking for permission from the lecturer of essay writing to take the data
  3. Asking for permission from the third-semester students to take the data
  4. Distributing the questionnaires
  5. Explaining to students how to fill in the questionnaires
  6. Asking students to fill in the questionnaires
  7. Asking students to submit the result

 

The Technique of Collecting Semi-Structured Interviews

Interviewing the lecturer

The researcher conducted the semi-structured interview with the lecturer of essay writing with the following steps:

  1. Making a list of statements of interviews based on the theory
  2. Asking for permission from the lecturer of essay writing to take the data
  3. Preparing the mobile phone to record the interview
  4. Asking questions to the lecturer
  5. Recording the interview
  6. Saving the recording of the interview

Interviewing students

The researcher conducted the semi-structured interview with the third-semester students with the following steps:

  1. Making a list of statements of interviews based on the theory
  2. Asking for permission from students to take the data
  3. Preparing the mobile phone to record the interview
  4. Asking questions to the lecturer
  5. Recording the interview
  6. Saving the recording of the interview

 

The Techniques of Analyzing Data

The Technique of Analyzing Close-Ended Questionnaires

The researcher analyzed the result of close-ended questionnaires with the following steps:

  1. Reading the result of questionnaires
  2. Categorizing the result of questionnaires
  3. Explaining the result of questionnaires
  4. Gathering and putting the result into the table
  5. Calculating the percentage for each component
  6. Providing the chart based on the table
  7. Concluding the result

 

The Technique of Analyzing Semi-Structured Interviews

The researcher analyzed the result of semi-structured interviews with the following steps:

    1. Listening to the recording of the interview
    2. Transcribing the recording of the interview
    3. Categorizing the result of the interview based on the theory
    4. Describing the result of the interview
    5. Interpreting the result of the interview

 

Findings and discussion

The CBMC Phase (phase 1)

The students’ questionnaire in this research used Dörnyei’s strategies with some modifications to meet students' course and cultural context. 

  1. Establish and improve students' enthusiasm for the essay writing course material and its benefit (A1).
  2. Address students' learning processes appropriately (A2).
  3. Generate a strong personal relationship with his students in or out of the class (A3).
  4. Establish a mutual relationship with the students’ parents (A4).
  5. Create an enjoyable and supporting classroom's atmosphere (A5).
  6. Establish class cohesiveness (A6)
  7. Formulate and discuss writing class norms with the students to make them understood and explicitly accepted (A7).
  8. Observe the implementation of the class norms consistently (A8).

The importance of those strategies above in creating the basic motivational conditions in essay writing class can be seen in the figure below.

Figure 1. The CBMC Phase

 

Establish and improve students enthusiasm for the essay writing course material and its benefit for the students (A1)

Enthusiasm was the first aspect suggested by Dörnyei to create the basic motivational conditions. A total of 17 students (45%) reported that the strategy was very important, 18 (47%) stated it was quite e researchers concludeimportant, and 3 (8%) reported it was somehow important. Therefore,  the researchers concluded that this strategy is essential in essay writing. The lecturer reported that most of them participated in the course because of their better writing skills, and they prepared their future thesis proposal. Based on the lecturer’ thought, they had other reasons that increased their enthusiasm. Some students took the subject because they liked writing. Most of them could express their ideas in written materials, and they felt enjoyable to do it. Other students joined the essay writing subject because it is a part of the curriculum.

 

Address the students’ learning process appropriately (A2)

The second strategy in the CBMC phase is to address students’ learning processes appropriately. From the obtained figure, 7 students (18%) stated it was very important, 21 (55%) stated it was quite important, 8 (21%) stated it was somehow important, 1 (3%) stated it was not really important, and 1 (3%) stated it was not important at all.

Some students reported that the lecturer addressed the learning process very appropriately by always explaining the lesson clearly and paying attention to students’ progress. Below are their statements.

Student A: “The lecturer explains the lesson again and again until all the students understand it. (Interview, student 04)

Other students: He cares about his students progress, and that is the main point. (Interview, student 05)

 

Generate a firm personal relationship with his students in or out of the class (A3)

The other important aspect is the personal relationship of the lecturer with the students. This strategy is also important from their perspective. From the figure, 9 students (24%) stated it was important, 22 (58%) stated it was quite important, 7 (18%) stated it was somehow important.

The lecturer has built a close and firm personal relationship by respectfully listening to their ideas. Here is their statement:

“The lecturer listens to the students’ questions and always give good response to them. The students do not hesitate to ask any questions.(Interview, student 02)

 

Establish a mutual relationship between the lecturer’s and students’ parents (A4)

Many research works have shown the importance of positive (mutual) relationships between the teacher and the students' parents for successful learning. In order to build it, Dörnyei (2001) suggested that the lecturer regularly inform them about their children's progress and ask for help in performing specific support assignments at home. In line with the previous researches, the figure shows that 4 students (11%) stated the strategy was very important, 18 (47%) stated it was quite important, 10 (26%) stated it was somehow important, and 6 (16%) stated it was not really important. Furthermore, they reported that the lecturer gave the assignment to compose a paragraph about a specific topic at home in every meeting, which they usually submit in the next meeting. In such situations, this strategy would be very beneficial. Unfortunately, the lecturer did not implement it. 

 

Create an enjoyable and supporting classroom's atmosphere (A5)

The next one is creating an enjoyable and supportive atmosphere in the classroom. The illustration shows that 15 students (39%) stated it was very important, 19 (50%) stated it was quite significant, and 4 (11%) stated it was somehow important. They said that the humor the lecturer brought to class makes it fun and increases their motivation to learn. However, some felt that humor was too important, which made teaching less focused on them.

Humour is important, but sometimes it is too much. The class becomes very noisy. The students laugh so loud, and that is disturbing me much. (Interview, student 24)

 

Establish class cohesiveness (A6)

Class cohesiveness is another important condition in motivational strategies. It is needed to encourage students to use the target language. The figure shows that 6 students (16%) stated that this strategy was very important, 19 students (50%) stated that it was quite important, and 13 students (34%) stated that it was somehow important. To promote group cohesiveness, Dörnyei (2001) suggests some techniques as follows: 1) promoting and fostering cooperative interaction and the sharing of genuine personal information among the learner; 2) using ice-breaking to open a course; 3) using small-group activities where students can mix; 4) encouraging and organizing extracurricular activities and outings; 5) modifying students’ seating patterns; 6) administering a whole group task successful completion activities or small-group competition games, and 7) promoting the emergence of a group legend. 

The class was divided into three main stages: the discussion, the writing task, and the explanation. During the discussion stage, the lecturer allowed students to review their friends’ work. These stages promoted their cooperative interactions. Students reported that each stage motivates them in the class. However, other students indicated otherwise. Therefore, the lecturer slowed down the learning process.

 

Formulate and discuss writing class norms with the students to make them understood and explicitly accepted by the students (A7) and observe the implementation of the class norms consistently (A8)

Class norms are important to keep the class run well. In formulating class norms, Dörnyei (2001) suggests some techniques as follows: 1) proposing a specific class rules at the early class meetings to inform the norm explicitly; 2) elaborating the importance of those rules and their role in fostering learning, and ask for the students’ agreement; 3) provoking suggestions for additional rules from the students and discuss these “students’ rules” in the same way as “your rules”; 4) displaying the group rules (and the qonsequences for violating them) on a proper place. In observing the group norms, Dörnyei (2001) suggests that the teacher himself consistently observes the implementation of the norms and never let any violation unnoticed. 

The figure shows students' interest in these two strategies. However, there was no discussion on class or group norms in the essay writing class. The rules were from the lecturer, and the students had no chance to decide any. When they did something that the lecturer said was inconsistent with the achievement of the learning goal process, they would directly disagree. One of them stated that making jokes with friends eventually decreased motivation. Others have suggested that everybody should be responsible when such cases occur in the classroom, instead of the person involved.

 

The GIM Phase

There were some strategies to generate initial motivation used in this research. Those strategies are:

  1. Present peer models in writing to promote learning and strengthen the learners’ writing values (B9).
  2. Spark the students’ intrinsic interest in learning Essay Writing (B10).
  3. Establish supporting principles by establishing a positive and broad-minded attitude towards Essay Writing (B11).
  4. Increase the students’ goal-orientated by setting a clear goal in the Essay Writing course (B14).
  5. Develop the teaching curriculum and materials based on the students’ needs (B15).
  6. Help the students to develop realistic views towards their writing ability (B16).

The students’ perspective on those strategies can be seen in the figure below.

Figure 2. The GIM Phase

It is seen from the figure that the students perceive all those strategies above are important.

 

Present peer models in writing to promote learning and strengthen the learners’ writing values (B9)

The figure shows that this strategy is important on students' point of view. 12 (32%) students stated that it was very important, 16 (42%) stated it was quite important, 7 (18%) stated it was somehow important, 2 (5%) stated it was not really important, 1 (3%) stated it was not important at all. In the classroom, the teacher used the students' work as writing models and administered discussions on the chosen work one by one. The lecturer invited them to take part. It was mainly conducted to examine whether the model fits the essay on writing theories or not.

 

Spark the students’ intrinsic interest in learning Essay Writing (B10)

The figure clearly shows that the students think their interest is important in learning essay writing. The figure shows that 29% of students stated that this strategy was very important, 53% of students stated that this strategy was quite important, and 18% stated that this strategy was somehow important. To improve students’ interest, the lecturer used interesting subjects in the writing task. The topics were traditional food, online games, and the latest gadgets, and the lecturer determined them. These topics were popular among the students as they drew their intrinsic interest. However, Intan, one of the students, explained it would have been better when they were allowed to choose the topics without the lecturer's intervention, as it would give them the chance to develop personal ideas.

 

Establish supporting principles by establishing a positive and broad-minded attitude towards Essay Writing (B11)

The figure shows that 13 (34%) students considered this strategy was very important, 19 (50%) stated it was very important, and 6 (16%) stated it was important. Therefore, it is clear that it was important for the students. The choice of traditional food as a task subject also included the socio-cultural component of language learning. Giving supportive values ​​in the curriculum was part of the lecturer's strategy. According to Dörnyei (2001), other methods that can be used are the exchange of positive ideas about language learning from important public figures to promote student contact with L2 speakers and cultural products. Unfortunately, the lecturer only used the socio-cultural components of language teaching to implement the strategy.

 

 

Increase the students’ goal-orientedness by setting a clear goal in the Essay Writing course (B14)

The figure shows that students consider this strategy important. From 38 students, 13 (34%) said it was very important, 17 (47%) said it was quite important, and 7 (18%) said it was important in some way. Goal is an important source of motivation. Therefore, setting goals is essential for achieving the success of learning. Besides, it helps students set the best standards for learning a teaching material. This will encourage them to continue their education despite all the difficulties and obstacles that may arise. Unfortunately, the lecturer did not have time to set a goal, nor did the students set a clear one for writing an essay. Therefore, the lecturer did not implement this important strategy  in the classroom. Here are some methods used to set learning goals, 1) asking students to write down their individual goals and discuss it with their friends to help them achieve it, 2) directing their attention to class goals and the possible ways to achieve it, and 3) ensuring that class goals take precedence, if necessary.

 

Develop the curriculum and the teaching materials based on the students’ needs (B15)

The figure shows that this strategy is important when students write essays. 14 out of 38 students said it was very important, 17 said it was quite important, and 7 said it was quite important in some way. The lecturer made the teaching materials relevant to the students. As a result, they reported that the teaching content was relevant to their learning essay writing needs. Intan reported that the teaching material would be beneficial for academic writing, especially for a dissertation.

The students also indicated that their writing showed good progression, especially in terms of text structure and vocabulary, and they reported that the lecturer patiently explained the generic structure of the text until they understood it before asking to build their writing on the topic. Furthermore, the weekly writing assignments developed their vocabularies, and Asma, a student, explained she and her friends could write longer now with less help from Google or a dictionary.

However,  some students said they missed the class's grammar because the lecturer paid much attention to the essay writing structure. Inayati, a student, further described that despite the significant progress on their knowledge about the generic structure of essay writing and their vocabulary, they made a poor improvement in the grammar.

“When explaining, the lecturer explained only the structure of the text. And when he discussed students' works, he did not give any comment on the grammar." (Interview, student 10)

 

Help the students to develop realistic views towards their writing ability (B16)

This strategy is also considered important. The figure shows that 14 students (37%) stated it was very important, 18 (47%) stated it was quite important, 5 (13%) stated it was somehow important, and 1 (3%) stated it was not really important. However, this strategy was not implemented in the lesson.

 

The MPM Phase

Strategies in this phase are:

  1. Avoid monotonous events to make Essay Writing class more exciting and interesting (C17).
  2. Increase the attractiveness of writing tasks to make Essay Writing class exciting and interesting (C18).
  3. Get the students involved actively in the writing task to make the Essay Writing class exciting and interesting (C19).
  4. Provide and manage writing tasks in a motivating way (C20).
  5. Build specific goals in the Essay Writing class (C21).
  6. Use the approved methods to highlight the commitment to achieve students’ goals in learning Essay Writing (C22).
  7. Present experiences of success in writing regularly (C23).
  8. Encourage the students to learn Essay Writing regularly to build their confidence (C24).
  9. Help the students to reduce their anxiety in learning Essay Writing (C25).
  10. Give the students the chance to keep their positive personal image while involved in writing tasks (C27).
  11. Promote cooperation among the students to strengthen their motivation to learn Essay Writing (C28).
  12. Promote learner autonomy to increase their motivation in learning Essay Writing (C29).
Figure 3.1 The MPM Phase

                                                      

Figure 3.2 The MPM Phase

 

Avoid monotonous events to make Essay Writing class more exciting and interesting (C17)

The figure shows that 17 students (45%) confirmed that this category was very important, 18 (47%) confirmed it was quite important, and 3 (8%) confirmed it was somehow important. Thus, this strategy is important. Unfortunately, the lecturer could not break the monotony in the lessons, and the steps and assignments in all meetings were applied. The students reported that although, in general, the lecturer explained the lesson well, he was not able to evoke the class. Mulia, a student, added that the lecturer's voice is too weak to cover all students in the classroom, and the back rows did not get serious attention. This made the students less motivated. Mulia, said,

 “The lecturer explained the lesson very clearly, but he was unable to evoke the class. Many students got bored and sleepy.” (interview, student 16)

 

Increase the attractiveness of writing tasks to make Essay Writing class more exciting and interesting (C18)

Students also perceived that this strategy was important, where 16 (42%) reported it was important while the rest stated otherwise. Despite the monotonous tasks, as stated in the previous strategy discussion, they said that the writing assignments were attractive. They enjoyed the lesson, especially the writing models' discussion, and they appreciated the opportunity to review their friends' writing. The lecturer added that the lessons' theme was a starting point for making the lesson fun and stimulating the students' participation.

 

Get the students involved actively in the writing tasks to make Essay Writing class more exciting and interesting (C19) 

Out of all the students, 14 (37%) said this strategy was very important, 18 (47%) said it was quite important, and 6 (16%) said it was important in some ways. Therefore, the researchers concluded that this strategy is important from the students' point of view. They were asked to actively participate in home works, discuss writing forms, along with their review, to produce a theoretically acceptable essay composition. However, some students suggested that the lecturer changed the writing task, as it was important for the lecturer to design their writing with a more natural learning process.

 

Provide and manage writing tasks in a motivating way (C20)

The figure shows that the students consider this strategy is important. 15 of them (39%) reported it was very important, 16 (42%) said it was quite important, while 6 (18%) stated it was somehow important. As noted in the previous strategies, the lecturer's writing tasks can motivate students to write essays. One of them showed increased motivation after the lecturer selected and evaluated the essay during the discussion. The review pinpointed the errors and the measures that allow students to revise their works. Therefore, learning was a meaningful one.

 

Builds specific goals in an Essay Writing class (C21)

The figure shows that the construction of a specific goal is important, from the student's point of view to maintain and protect motivation. However, they are limited to short term. Besides, this strategy was not implemented in the class, as long-term goals were first given consideration. The lecturer can use the following steps, 1) asking the students to select specific short-term goals during personal studies; 2) focusing on the timelines to achieve the specific goals, 3) providing feedback to build up their motivation.

 

Use the approved methods to highlight the commitment to achieve students’ goals in learning Essay Writing (C22)

The figure shows that 13 students stated that this strategy was very important, 13 said it was quite important, 11 stated it was somehow important, and 1 reported was not really important. This means that they generally believed it was important. Unfortunately, it was not implemented in the classroom, because the course introduction was poor at the start of the semester. Furthermore, there was no discussion on the goals of the class, and how to achieve them. In determining goals' achievement, the lecturer can refer to the following steps: 1) drawing up detailed written agreement on what they will study and the learning procedure to adopt, and 2) constantly monitoring class's progress to sure that they have respected the details of the contract.

 

Present experiences of success in writing regularly (C23)

The figure shows that the respond toward the implementation of this strategy is that 11 students (29%) stated ‘very important’, 19 (50%) stated ‘quite important’, and 8 (21%) stated ‘somehow important’. Therefore, it can be reported that this strategy was important from the perspective of students. All research lessons were conducted in the same steps as mentioned previously. All the assignments were taken home. However, during the interview, they reported that their writing skills had increased, and the numbers of the words they use improved significantly. Furthermore, they also reported that after participating in the class, they knew the theory of essay and were able to produce writings in accordance with the theory.

 

Encourage the students to learn Essay Writing regularly to build their confidence (C24)

According to this strategy, the figure shows that 10 students (26%) stated ‘very important’, 20 (53%) stated ‘quite important’, 7 (18%) stated ‘somehow important’, and 1 (3%) stated ‘not at all important’. Therefore, it can be reported that this strategy was important from the perspective of students. The lecturer claimed to have increased their writing confidence by asking them to write an essay at least once a week. According to the lecturer's statement, the students reported that motivation was their drive to keep writing. During lecture hours, they were given the opportunity to practice what they have learnt from the previous classes.

 

Help the students to reduce their anxiety in learning Essay Writing (C25)

Anxiety is one of the biggest problems that reduce students’ motivation to learn. The figure shows that in response to the implementation of this strategy, 17 students (45%) stated that it was very important’, 17 (45%) stated that it was quite important, and 4 of them (11%) stated that it was somehow important. They reported that discussions reduced their anxiety. According to research, this was achieved for two main reasons. First, discussions gave students the chance to express their ideas and ask questions. Second, the lecturer gave appropriate answers to questions during the discussion. Aryani, a student, reported that the lecturer always listened and respected their thoughts and ideas. Therefore, they didn't hesitate to speak.

 

Give the students the chance to keep their positive personal image while involved in writing tasks (C27)

The figure shows that in response to the implementation of the C27 strategy, 14 students (37%) stated it was very important, 18 (47%) stated it was quite important, and 6 (16%) stated it was somehow important. Therefore, it can be reported that this strategy was important from students' perspective, as class discussions enhanced their self-esteem. Also, the lecturer assisted them to find and accept the errors in their various works. On the contrary, the students reported that they were happy with the discussion, because it helped them improve their essay writing. 

 

Promote cooperation among the students to strengthen their motivation in learning Essay Writing (C28)

The figure shows that the students thought this strategy was important to maintain and protect motivation. Out of 38 students, 12 (32%) stated that this strategy was very important, 22 (58%) stated it was quite important, and 4 (11%) stated that it was somehow important. The lecturer indeed promoted cooperation among his students. It was confirmed in the learning process. After giving detail explanation, the lecturer asked each student to compose a paragraph at home. The next meeting, the lecturer administered discussion or reviewed the students’ paragraphs one by one in the class. The lecturer gave the chance to students to review their friends’ paragraph. Later on, students worked together to make their paragraphs better.

 

Promote learner autonomy to increase their motivation to learn Essay Writing (C29)

The figure shows that out of 38 students, 17 (45%) stated that this strategy was very important, 16 (42%) stated that it was quite important, and 5 others (13%) stated that it was somehow important. It was found in the research that the discussion of students’ model writings was good to generate learners’ autonomy. Students reported that the discussions helped them find and understand the errors and mistakes in their writings.

 

The EPRS Phase

The strategies in this phase are:

  1. Highlight the importance of maximum effort in learning Essay Writing (D31).
  2. Give positive information feedback to the students (D32).
  3. Increase students learning satisfaction (D33).
  4. Provide rewards for students’ writing achievement in a motivational manner (D34).

The students’ perspective on the above strategies is shown in figure 4 below.

Figure 4. The EPRS Phase

 

Highlight the importance of maximum effort in learning Essay Writing (D31)

The figure above shows that 9 students believe that the importance of maximum effort and the right strategy for writing an essay was very important, 22 stated this was very important, 6 stated it was important in some ways, and 1 doesn't really care. Therefore, it can be reported that this strategy was important from the perspective of students. To lay emphasis on maximum effort, Dòrnyei (2001) proposes two techniques as follows, 1) investigating students' mistakes and guiding them to realize that they were caused by lack of effort rather than inadequate skills, and 2) underlining that the curriculum is within their range. In addition, the research reported that the discussions on the students’ model writings could find mistakes and made necessary revisions to make their writings acceptable. Thereafter, the lecturer appreciated their opinions and active participation. The lecturer and students found mistakes while undergoing the class discussion, and they revised all of the mistakes. However, the lecturer did not give explanation why the sentences belonged to mistakes. Therefore, the researchers concluded that this strategy was not implemented.

 

Give positive information feedback to the students (D32)

The figure shows that 12 students stated that this strategy was very important, 17 students stated that it was quite important, and the 9 other students stated that it was somehow important. Students’ responses told us that based on their perspective, this strategy is important. The strategy could be found in the discussion of the students’ model writings. In the discussion, students were given chance to review their friends works. Using this strategies, the feedback of the students’ work did not only come from the lecturer but also from other students. Risang, a student, reported that the lecturer gave feedbacks to the students’ work and asked them to revise their works. The other students said that when mistakes or errors were found during the discussion, the student whose work was being discussed had to revise the work until it was accepted.

 

Increase students learning satisfaction (D33)

Learning satisfaction improves students’ motivation. Responding to the application of this strategy, 13 students (34%) said it was very important, 20 (53%) said it was quite important and another 5 (13%) said it was somehow important. The lecturer can implement this strategy with the following steps: 1) tracking progress and celebrating all successes, 2) taking visual recordings and arranging regular events to show student progress, and 3) administering tasks that comprise the public display of their competence. Although less sufficient, the lecturer implemented it in the essay writing class, and he monitored students’ progress and accomplishments. However, the lecturer did not celebrate their success in writing an essay. The lecturer gave assignments that allowed them to demonstrate their writing skills.

 

Provide rewards for students’ writing achievement in a motivational manner (D34)

The figure shows that 11 students (29%) considered this strategy was very important, 15  (39%) stated it was quite important, 7 (18%) stated that it was somehow important, 3 (8%) stated it was not really important, and 2 (5%) stated it was not at all important. Therefore, the researchers concluded that this strategy was important from the students’ perspective. However, this research reported that the strategy was not implemented, since there was no provided reward.

 

Conclusions and suggestions

This current study reveals the difference between students’ and the lecturer’s perceptions on motivational strategies in essay writing class. It could be seen from 35 strategies, 25 from them were implemented in which 18 were sufficiently implemented and 7 were less sufficiently implemented. The other 7 strategies were missed by the lecturer. The gap exists when in the CBMC phase, 4 strategies implemented sufficiently and 3 others were not. This phase was included into pre-teaching where the students perceived that their lecturer would formulate and discuss writing class norms with the students to make them understood and explicitly accepted by the students and observe the implementation of the class norms consistently, but their lecturer missed them. This was in line with Guilloteaux’s study that Korean teachers attached very little importance and hardly ever use strategies related to generating a positive classroom climate and adaptive group dynamics. However, both students and lecturer agreed that establishing collaborative relationship with the students’ parents was not important to practice (Guilloteaux, 2013). It is in contradiction with Mereious, Abercrombie, and Murray’s research which indicated the importance of constructive collaboration among teachers, students, and parents in determining the students’ learning motivation and academic achievement (Mereoiu et al., 2016). GIM and MPM phases belong to whilst teaching or main teaching. In the GIM phase, of the 6 strategies, 4 strategies were implemented in the lesson, and two other strategies were not. In MPM Phase, 9 strategies were implemented. Meanwhile, 3 other strategies were not implemented. In EPRS phase was at the post teaching. There was one strategy implemented sufficiently. However, some strategies were missed to be implemented. From the interview with students, the unimplemented strategies were actually considered as important and significant to practice by the lecturer. A study conducted by Moskovsky et al. (2012) about the effects of teachers’ use of motivational strategies on learners’ motivation showed that there was a significant rise in learners’ motivation due to teachers’ use of motivational strategies (Karimi & Zade, 2018).

This research findings give suggestions that the lecturer should consider two urgent issues: to setting the specific learning goals (Mckimm, 2009; Moeller et al., 2012) and to using approved (contracting) methods (Krashen, 1982); (Ismail & Yusof, 2012). All of which is done through conducting need analysis to reach the goals as well as to lead students to better writing achievements through sufficient motivation (Ampa & Quraisy, 2018).

Dörnyei and Csizér (1998) and Cheng and Dörnyei (2007), indicate that language teachers should focus on setting a positive example (Teacher), makig a solid rapport with students (Rapport), creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere in the classroom (Climate), and making sure that students understand the tasks in which they are interested in (Task). When teachers concerned about teaching practices dealing with these macro-strategies, students will be more motivated in the foreign language classroom (Ruesch et al., 2012).

The lecturer should also implement some unimplemented strategies to improve students’ skills in writing an essay, so they can write an essay in a good composition, in which their essays include all linguistics element, and their content are understandable. The lecturer must not only focus on the structure and the content of essay, but he must also focus on other writing elements such as grammar, vocabulary, and mechanic. The lecturer must also give clear explanation on students’ mistakes to improve their understanding about grammar, so they can have good proficiency in writing.

 

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Please check the Creating a Motivating Environment course at Pilgrims website.

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