Task motivation

Judit Kormos, JAMES WILBY

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Motivation is key to the long-term success of language learning. Although some stable motivational characteristics of language learners, such as their long-term goals and future visions of themselves account for achievement (for a review see Dornyei & Ryan, 2015), it is also important to examine the factors that influence how students learn and perform on language learning tasks. During the lengthy process leading to a required level of language proficiency, language learners engage in a large number of tasks both in and outside of the classroom. These tasks which are "goal-oriented activities that people undertake and that involve meaningful use of language" (Van den Branden, 2016, p. 240), can promote learning and offer useful opportunities for practice and consolidation. Yet, learners differ in how they participate in tasks and consequently in how much they can potentially learn from a task. One significant factor that can explain this individual variation is level of motivation to complete language learning tasks. This chapter discusses the construct of task motivation and how it has been hitherto applied and researched in the field of educational psychology and second language acquisition (SLA). The chapter starts with a definition of the concept of task motivation, which is followed by a review of the most important theoretical constructs relating to task motivation in educational psychology. In the second half of the chapter we give an overview of task motivation research as it relates to language learning. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the importance of task motivation in language teaching pedagogy and suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Macmillan handbook of motivation for language learning
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)978-3030283797
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2020


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