Language teacher motivation

Mark Wyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although empirical research is lacking, it has been argued that “if a teacher is motivated to teach, there is a good chance [the] students will be motivated to learn” (Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2011, p. 158). If this assumption is correct, motivated teachers are obviously needed. However, within the field of language teacher cognition, teacher motivation is under-researched (Kubanyiova, 2006). Indeed, on 27 April 2014 I conducted a small-scale survey (with the help of Google Advanced Scholar), investigating the number of times the term “teacher motivation” has appeared in four leading journals in the twenty-first century. The results are as follows: ELT Journal (3), Language Teaching Research (3), System (5), and TESOL Quarterly (0). The 11 hits, however, include those from book reviews and a conference announcement. Only one article (Gao & Xu, 2013) refers to teacher motivation in its title; the article itself focuses on what motivates teachers to join the profession. Another of these recent studies (Guilloteaux, 2013) focuses on the motivational strategies that teachers could be modelling to help their learners but (in a Korean context) do not seem to be. This may be “because [these teachers] are themselves experiencing ebbs and flows in their job motivation” (p. 12). None of these articles directly addresses the question: what exactly is a ‘motivated’ teacher?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-9
JournalThe Teacher Trainer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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