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British Council recruiting Student Motivation in English Learning Research Consultant


United Kingdom with visits to Ukraine and Spain, 12 March 2020

About the project

The British Council operates English language courses in many locations overseas. A critical contributor to successful language learning is motivation. Anecdotal feedback from young adult learners of English suggests that the teacher plays an important role in motivating students. However, it is clear to us that there will also be other contributing factors. In fact, it is not always entirely apparent what "motivation" actually means in the learning context for our students, nor what factors contribute to a sense of motivation. We wish to both understand this better, and subsequently to decide on how best to increase motivation among learners.

The study

With this in mind, we wish to commission a two-part pilot study:

  • To develop an operational definition of student motivation, and the factors influencing that.

  • To make recommendations for teacher or institutional intervention to enhance motivation among students and thus enhance their learning success.

We are seeking an understanding of factors influencing student motivation, which are uncluttered by current preconceptions or assumptions about general understandings of good practice. We would nonetheless expect the study to make reference to relevant research, best practice and current thinking in this field. However, we are particularly keen for the study to ascertain directly from the students their own specific feelings, perceptions and experience of being more or less motivated in their learning experience.

The second part of the pilot study will use the conclusions from the first part to make a series of recommendations as to how individual teachers or the whole teaching body might improve classroom practice to enhance the motivation of the students in the scenarios that have been studied.

Format of the study

This pilot study will be carried out in two European countries (Spain & Ukraine). We expect that the successful proposal will engage with British Council adult and/or young adult learners in a number of appropriate ways. The organisation will work with the researchers to ensure that all suggested and agreed methodologies are facilitated.

The primary participant group for the study will be students attending British Councils' teaching centres in Spain and Ukraine. In addition, we will also include students who are studying online with a screen to screen teaching methodology, in order to provide some contrast to traditional face-to-face in the classroom teaching.

The pilot study is to start in April and a written report and PowerPoint summary version report to be presented at the end of May. This report may be published in the public domain, subject to findings and results.

The British Council may decide to broaden the study in a later phase to include a larger representative sample of its global learner population.

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