One day, a Canadian graduate student met with his advisor to discuss possible thesis topics. During that meeting, the student remarked that he could not see how one could learn the language of another group if she or he does not like that group.
At this point, the advisor said, “Hey man. There’s your thesis!” The student was Robert Gardner with his supervisor Wallace Lambert at McGill University in 1956. That meeting gave birth to the field of second language (L2) motivation and was the primary instigator of decades of research (Gardner, 2001).
In his 2017 paper, “Sixty Years of Language Motivation Research”, Ali Al-Hoorie takes a look back and a look ahead on studies of motivation and second-language success.
The paper suggests that motivation, emotion and cognition are tied together like meeting rivers.
One finding (Kramsch) recommends that teachers try to detect aspects in the syllabus that can be subject to emotional arousal to encourage more learner investment in the lesson.
You can look for, adapt and level current events and stories for your students but a good source of already levelled text and video content is available at www.booksmarts.biz and on www.planetfrench.com
In the French kit Bienvenue au Carnaval, we relive the true heroic story of the most terrifying ice-canoe race in history.
On Planet French, we cover the news and current events in easy French, and we try to connect the viewer with emotions (laughter, awe, etc) while keeping the level of French comprehensible.
Emile Constantin was told that you can only run a sugar shack 2 months a year. In one chapter, we tell his story in text and in video as we visit his giant sugar shack, now serving 3000 meals a day year-round and meet his great-grandson who runs the place with his grandmother, 3 generations later in the French kit “L’Érablière”.
In just one of the many stories in the “L’histoire et la culture de Montreal” French kit, computer models told engineers that building Expo ’67 in time was totally impossible. But the computers didn’t account for Jean Drapeau and his team!