L2 Motivational Strategies that Do not Work: Students’ Evaluations and Suggestions

  • Tim S.O. Lee
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Motivation has received a high priority in discussion of second language (L2) teaching and learning, as successful L2 learners are often observed to have motivation (Ushioda, 2008). Connected to this, L2 teachers in various educational contexts are expected to employ motivational strategies to promote students’ goal-related behaviour and bring about enduring positive effects. Prior research on L2 motivational strategies tends to be primarily quantitative and teacher-oriented, so little has been done to explain why some students’ L2 motivation stays stagnant and their learning remains less than successful, despite their teachers’ regular motivational interventions. There also appears to be limited research which gathers students’ suggestions for better strategy implementation. To address these research gaps, this chapter reports on a qualitative study on students’ negative reactions to some L2 motivational strategies and their suggested remedies. Throughout a semester in a Hong Kong tertiary institution, 32 regularly adopted L2 motivational strategies were recorded in nine English classes, and 26 students’ feedback on the strategies was collected with reflective journals and individual interviews. About a quarter of the student comments were unfavourable, whereas boredom and inappropriate materials emerged as the most frequent complaints. Some students did not appear to be motivated by strategies which aroused interest or ensured better future L2 performance, which contradicts the common conceptualization of motivation as an intrinsic-extrinsic dichotomy. The students also provided insightful suggestions related to teacher intervention, workload for learners, frequency of strategy use, difficulty level, and variety.


L2 motivational strategies L2 motivation Hong Kong 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong KongHong Kong

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