Research studies

Empowering English Learning: Unleashing Motivation through Active Learning Strategies


Prepared by the researcher : Lama Komayha, Ph.D

Democratic Arabic Center

Journal index of exploratory studies : Tenth Issue – September 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN 2701-9233
Journal index of exploratory studies

:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link


Motivation is a key element in learning a foreign language. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of enhancing intrinsic motivation on students’ overall motivation in learning English as a foreign language. This mixed-method study was conducted in three Lebanese public schools. The instruments included interviews, surveys, and observations. The study included two phases. In phase one, 18 English teachers were interviewed and 355 grade eleven students filled out a survey to measure their motivation level. In phase two, an intervention was conducted in three grade eleven classes in each school. Nine teachers were implementing three active learning strategies on a regular basis for three months: think-pair-share, peer teaching, and goal-setting. Referring to the Self-Determination Theory, using active learning strategies enhances students’ autonomy and affects motivation positively. Observation and survey results showed that the motivation level increased as a result of the intervention which got in line with the SDT recommendations.


To be able to communicate in the vast technological culture we all live in, it has become imperative to learn English as a result of globalization. In many private and public schools in Lebanon, English is taught as a foreign language, and students’ proficiency is formally assessed by the government in the ninth and twelfth grades. However, Lebanese secondary school students exhibit a lack of academic enthusiasm when studying English as a foreign language (EFL). Their poor performance on the official English exam serves as clear evidence of this (CRDP, 2015). Students’ assignments, attitudes, engagement in class, and performance all reflect this lack of motivation (Haywood et al., 2008, p. 18).

According to Dornyei (2014, p. 52), language learning motivation is identified primarily with the “learner’s orientation toward the goal of learning a second language”. The orientation of motivation is related to the underlying attitudes and goals that give rise to action (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Throughout the history of education, the literature assures that the problem of students’ motivation exists (Gardner, 1985; Person, 1990; Okolo and Bahr, 1995; Ingram, 2000, Cook, 2000; Barry 2007; Fewell, 2009; Dornyei, & Ushioda, 2013, Dornyei, 2014).

Teenagers today deal with a variety of outside factors that keep them away from their classrooms. They struggle to focus since there are so many distractions surrounding them. While being intrinsically motivated would increase students’ capacity for resistance, the demotivation in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learning shows that this capacity is inadequate among students. Because it has become a tool for cross-border communication, governments and educational institutions place a high value on the English language in curricula (Sakai & Kikuchi, 2009).

  1. 1. Research Problem

In July 2016, the minister of education stated that there is a problem with foreign language proficiency in the Lebanese setting during one of his conferences. The success rate in both public and private schools was the subject of several statistics that he released. The Life Science branch had a success rate of 51.18%, Humanities had a success rate of 27%, and Economics and Sociology had a success rate of 19.7% in terms of foreign language proficiency. He emphasized the necessity for strategies and solutions to address the issues with learning foreign languages.

Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are all taught in English in Lebanese classrooms. Nevertheless, according to CRDP figures (2015), the English level is still below expectations. Although secondary students in public schools have at least four sessions a day where English is the language of instruction, many still fail in the English official exam. Why is not the curriculum helping secondary students in reaching proficiency? Although cooperative learning is recommended in the Lebanese curriculum, why aren’t students motivated to achieve and excel in language learning? This urges us to research the problem of this study: The low accomplishment of secondary students in Lebanese public schools in learning English as a foreign language is a result of their lack of motivation to learn the language.

  1. Literature Review

Our motivation obstructs everything we do. It also has an impact on how we feel about the tasks we need to complete. Do we carry them out solely out of obligation, or do we carry them out voluntarily? How motivated a student has an impact on how he or she behaves in class, listens to explanations, participates with the teacher, completes assignments, follows instructions, and engages in the learning process.

Dincer (2014) stated that “internal processes which spur us to satisfy some need” are what motivate people. It is “the process by which goal-directed activity is initiated and sustained,” according to Hamada (2010). The two concepts concur that motivation induces specific behaviors in us.

An additional definition of motivation given by Dornyei (2007, p. 6) is “the dynamically changing cumulative arousal in a person that initiates, directs, coordinates, amplifies, terminates, and evaluates the cognitive and motor processes whereby initial wishes and desires are selected, prioritized, operationalized, and (successfully or unsuccessfully) acted out.” According to Dornyei (2007), motivation is not a static emotion; it is linked to a person’s reasons for choosing to take a certain action, the amount of effort they are willing to put into taking that action, and their perseverance in continuing to take that activity. Gardner (2010) discussed how it can be challenging to define motivation in a way that encompasses all of its facets. He said that having a goal, carrying out all the necessary measures to achieve it, being persistent in pursuit of it, finding enjoyment in the process, and foreseeing success or failure in achieving it are all factors of motivation. One gets a sense of “self-efficacy” after they begin to experience achievement, which is when they have faith in their own motivations and talents.

   According to Dornyei (2014), motivation is a crucial component of language learning. It enables students to start studying and then continue learning. He said that even though a  student may have the necessary aptitude to learn, if he had sufficient motivation, he would begin learning but would soon give up due to the lack of drive. The second language, according to Dornyei (2014, p. 3), is “a communication coding system, an essential  component of the individual’s identity, and the most significant channel of social  organization.” Therefore, when a student learns a second language, he first studies it because it is a requirement of his school’s academic program, after which it influences all of his mental activity and allows him to interact with members of the culture.

2.1 Self-Determination Theory

The self-determination theory (SDT) was developed by Deci and his associates. They believe that “to be self-determining means to experience a sense of choice in initiating and regulating one’s own actions” (Rayan et al., 2009). According to SDT, there are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. The term “intrinsic” refers to motivations that come from within a person, such as delight, pleasure, or the desire to pique their interest. While a person may be extrinsically driven if they engage in an activity in order to receive an extrinsic benefit like praise or good grades.

According to Deci and Ryan (2000), who based their claim on SDT, intrinsic motivation depends on meeting three basic needs: the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Students who are learning to be autonomous are not obliged to complete a certain task; rather, they choose to do it. Students’ requirements for competence are met through opportunities for skill development and open interaction with their surroundings. Regarding the relatedness requirements of students, they require a sense of emotional attachment to their schools, peers, and teachers.

According to Kusurkar et al. (2011), utilizing the SDT framework based on the three needs will increase students’ intrinsic motivation. They offered numerous recommendations for improving the three SDT needs. Think-pair-share is one of these methods, in which students first think for themselves about an issue or activity, then share their thoughts with a companion, and finally discuss their ideas with the class. Another method is goal-setting using the KWLH chart; according to Lee and Reeve (2012), goal-setting in EFL is one of the tactics that boosts learners’ autonomy. By filling out a KWLH chart, students will specify their objectives about a certain subject. Prior to the teacher’s explanation, students fill up a KWLH chart with what they already know and what they still want to learn about the subject. After the teacher is done explaining, they write about what they learnt and how they would learn more. Peer teaching was also advised by Kusurkar et al. (2011) as a way to improve students’ intrinsic motivation. It works well for both students and teachers. Additionally, it supports students’ autonomy and competency (Benson & Ying, 2013).

SDT was connected to numerous subject areas by Rayan et al. (2009). They said that if a learning activity is engaging and fun on its own, it will increase a student’s intrinsic drive. In other situations, a learner may become extrinsically driven to obtain a “tangible” reward or avoid punishment or unpleasant consequence because a learning activity or subject is tedious. Humans have what Rayan et al. (2009, p. 109) called a “spontaneous tendency to act on their environments and to exercise their skills.” This propensity encourages a student to improve and increase his or her talents. Therefore, a learner by nature has the motivation to improve learning and succeed through exploration and self-challenge.

Rayan et al. (2009, p. 110) sought to determine what behaviors undermine intrinsic motivation since they thought that “only activities that satisfy certain basic psychological needs will be experienced as interests and be intrinsically motivating.”  Additionally, a learner’s sense of intrinsic motivation is not constant; it can change depending on the tasks, contexts, and even the time of day (Edmunds et al., 2008). A learner may have intrinsic motivation for one activity, lose it at another time, and then regain it at a different time.

When we discuss autonomy and competence, we do not refer to them as static concepts. They may be favorably or negatively impacted by their social environment. For instance, a learner might select a task because it is enjoyable and fun. In addition, the instructor could be demanding, exert pressure on the students, or even foster a hostile environment in the classroom. In addition to discouraging the student from giving it their all, this could make them feel incapable and incompetent.

As the theoretical basis for our investigation, we drew on the self-determination theory created by Deci and his collaborators utilizing the cognitive approach. Additionally, postpositivism was a useful source of information because it subscribes to the idea that causes determine effects or outcomes (Creswell, 2012).

As mentioned earlier, education researchers have suggested a variety of methods to increase students’ intrinsic motivation (Lee & Reeve, 2012), however for this study, I only used three of them: Goal-setting, peer teaching, and think-pair-share.

2.2 Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness

According to the self-determination theory, an individual must endeavor to satisfy three psychological needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness—in order to be motivated. The basic psychological needs theory (BPNT), is a sub-theory deriving from SDT. Learners internally assess competency in light of various behaviors and situations. They can believe they are competent in some areas but incompetent in others. According to the notion, motivation rises in the presence of a sense of competence. Furthermore, this sensation is not just under the learner’s control; it can also be influenced by people in the learner’s social circle, including teachers, friends, and parents.  The feeling of competence will be improved when the social environment offers positive feedback and support to learners, which will in turn raise motivation (Rayan et al., 2009). The student will become discouraged and less motivated to perform, on the other hand, if negative feedback and a lack of support predominate. This will lead to a feeling of ineptitude.

SDT focuses on autonomy’s potency and effectiveness in influencing motivation. “The term “autonomy” alludes to self-control. A person views their activity as self-organized and approved when they are autonomous (Rayan et al., 2009, p. 115). Despite being internal, autonomy is nonetheless impacted by the social environment. For instance, a teacher may increase autonomy in the classroom by utilizing certain methods that engage students in the learning process (Wininger, 2007). Another instructor can be very rigid, forcing teachings and activities upon the class without allowing the students any input into how they will learn. In the first example, students’ personalities will be more autonomous and their motivation will rise as the theory predicts, whereas the opposite will occur in the second example (Rayan et al., 2009).

The third psychological need is the need for relatedness and relatedness support. The “domain of action” needs to feel like it belongs to the learners. They should also sense that people are interested in them and their accomplishments. A learner will lose motivation to succeed if they feel isolated from others or don’t have others’ encouragement. The authors of Rayan et al. (2009) stated that “SDT posits that a sense of connection and belonging is essential to wellness and integrity.”

2.3 Previous Studies

Using SDT as a theoretical framework and relying on it in educational activities, numerous investigations have been carried out in educational environments. Niemiec and Rayan (2009) carried out one study in an elementary school. The experimental study compared a class of students taught by a teacher who supported student autonomy versus a class taught by a teacher who was more in control. The first group had stronger intrinsic motivation, higher self-esteem, and more perceived competence, according to the results. The same researchers also looked at German students’ “experiences of interest” in three different disciplines taught by three different teachers in a different study. The findings showed that students had a strong interest in the lessons on the topics taught by teachers who supported their autonomy, whereas the same students had no interest in the lessons taught by teachers who were controlling and did not foster their autonomy (Niemiec and Rayan, 2009).

According to Snowman et al. (2009), teachers can use a variety of tactics to boost their students’ intrinsic motivation. One is by “maximizing students’ perception of having a voice and choice in academic activities.” To ensure that assignments, projects, and instructions that include vocabulary practice, music, games, reading, and writing… pique the interest of various personalities and instill a sense of competence in various students, another strategy is to diversify them. Introducing difficult learning activities and assisting students in completing them is another concept to support students’ competency.

In his 2010 speech, Bernard stressed the value of feedback in raising students’ motivation. Students who did not receive feedback for their progress had lower motivation and accomplishment than those who did, according to the findings of a survey he performed for students learning Spanish. The value of feedback resides in its crucial function in evaluating students’ proficiency and directing them to further their proficiency in the intended activity. The feedback should be tailored to each student’s development, though, as broad feedback for the success of the entire class would not have the same impact on each student’s competency.

Regarding relatedness, Barry (2007) noted that fostering a cheerful and welcoming environment in the classroom aids in meeting relatedness needs. A sense of belonging and a sense of relatedness to the class, school, or instructor is successfully created when teachers demonstrate to their students that they have time for them even after classes to discuss issues and problems that are unrelated to the curriculum. Additionally, giving students attention and attempting to maintain parity among them makes them believe that the instructor is fair and compassionate. According to research, students are more likely to show motivation for the learning task if they believe that their teachers genuinely like, respect, and cherish their identities (Benson and Ying, 2013).

  1. Methodology

3.1 Method

The study followed the mixed-method design, quantitative qualitative model. Both a survey and an experiment were used for the quantitative portion. A survey is a technique used to get opinions from people on a certain subject (Gay, 2012). For our study, a survey was required to assess students’ motivation level. The experiment served as the second approach in the quantitative section. Creswell (2012) claims that the purpose of the experimental design is to determine whether or not a specific treatment has an impact on a group. The researcher steps in by administering a particular treatment to one group, referred to as the experimental group, while withholding it from a different group, referred to as the control group. In this research, I carried out an intervention and compared the motivation level of the same group before and after. As for the qualitative part, teachers were interviewed before the intervention and class observations took place before and after the intervention. The program of the intervention was as follows:

  1. Giving teachers of the treated classes a recorded PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate the three active learning techniques (think-pair-share, goal-setting, and peer teaching) they had to employ in their instruction to boost students’ motivation.
  2. Observing the teachers’ teaching styles before and during the intervention.
  3. Using surveys to compare the students’ motivation levels before and after the intervention.

3.2 Population and Sample

The sample for this study consisted of three public schools located in the suburbs of Beirut and taking into account both the balance of student enrollment and the aspect of gender.

  1. The first school had 682 students and was exclusively for girls (CDRP, 2018). It is addressed as School G (girls).
  2. The second school had 474 students enrolled, a mixed-gender institution (CDRP, 2018). It is addressed as School M (mixed).
  3. The third school had 674 students and was entirely for boys (CDRP, 2018). It is addressed as School B (boys).

3.3 Research Questions

The study aims to answer the following main question:

To what extent does enhancing intrinsic motivation according to the Self Determination theory framework through the use of the strategies: goal-setting, think- pair-share, and peer teaching affect the motivation level in EFL learning for grade eleven students in public schools?

      3.4 Research Hypotheses

Using the ALS strategies: goal-setting, think-pair-share, and peer teaching to enhance intrinsic motivation has a positive effect on the motivation level in EFL learning for grade eleven students in Lebanese public schools.

  1. Findings

4.1 Theme One: Motivation in EFL Learning

4.1.1 Phase One: Pre-Intervention Interview Findings: The teachers’ responses to the question of whether motivation exists in EFL learning were divided into three groups: Some people thought students were motivated, some thought they weren’t, and others thought it fluctuated depending on the lesson. Out of the 18 teachers that were interviewed in the three schools, 40% of the teachers said that their students were motivated to study English. Teachers four and six in School G believed that the motivation of their students to learn English is generally “due to many factors related to them as learners and to the school context.” According to T1 from SM, “The majority is highly motivated, and the others do not care because of their weakness.” T4 in SM stated that she typically feels like they are eager to collaborate and work with her. T3 in SB thought that most of the time, her students were engaged and motivated to study. Additionally, she noted that she had observed that “students who come from private schools have a higher level of motivation than those who come from other public schools.”

38% of the teachers thought that their students lacked interest in learning English. “They do not realize how important the language is,” T2 in SG stated. T5 in SG added: “I believe that they are more driven to study other topics than English. They consider English to be a less significant topic.” T5 in SM held the opinion that most students lack motivation: “Most of them are not. What I see is this”. T5 in SB stated, “They lack motivation. Because my students disliked English, I suffer”. According to T1 in SB, their “background and previous schools” are the reason they are not motivated”. She said that while there are only secondary levels at this school and the other schools in our sample, students’ prior academic experiences and teachers have an impact on them.

The remaining 22% of teachers thought that different classes have different motivation levels. T1 in SG ascribed the variation in students’ motivation levels between classes to their level: “It differs across classes and between students. Sometimes, struggling students feel that it is too late to improve”. According to T3 in SG, some students are “indifferent to the idea of learning in general and not only English in specific, and others are motivated to learn English to advance for the sake of future use of the language.” T3 in SM thought that motivation varied by grade level: “I believe that motivation is higher in lower grades such as the elementary grades.” Observation Findings

In phase one, I got the opportunity to observe 18 different classrooms. I concentrated on the key themes I wished to investigate throughout our observation. Concerning the first topic, I observed that different classes had varying motivation levels. Different classes had different levels of participation and engagement. For instance, at School G’s class 1, the majority of the students were interacting with the teacher. Working in groups, the students were instructed to discuss the “generation gap” issue. The majority of the students took part in group discussions. In contrast, class 2 in School G had a completely different atmosphere. The vast majority of students were failing to respond to the teacher’s inquiries.  Some were conversing with one another and others were daydreaming. I could notice that just two girls were responding to the teacher’s inquiries. Students in class 2 at School M appeared to like the English lesson. They were incorporated into the teacher’s lecture. The instructor was very well-prepared, and she made extensive use of active learning techniques. I thought the class was enjoyable and that the students were well-engaged. On the other hand, class 1 students at School B appeared to be bored. The bulk of students were not engaged and were being distracted by other things. The teacher seems bored and worn out as well. She continued asking the same student, who was able to provide accurate responses. In summary, I can state that in 6 out of 18 classes, students showed a good degree of engagement and interaction during the English session. Survey Findings

Table 1: The Level of Motivation (Oneway) in Phase One
  N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval for Mean Minimum Maximum
Lower Bound Upper Bound
School G 129 3.3677 0.85272 0.07508 3.2191 3.5162 1.00 4.79
School M 112 3.4668 0.64289 0.06075 3.3465 3.5872 1.71 4.71
School B 114 3.4724 0.66841 0.06260 3.3484 3.5965 1.93 4.64
Total 355 3.4326 0.73317 0.03891 3.3561 3.5091 1.00 4.79

The level of motivation in each school and among the three schools is displayed in Table 1. We can see that School B has the highest mean and School G has the lowest mean.  We also see how similar the three means are. The total mean across the three institutions is 3.4326. Because the 95% confidence interval for the mean is 3.3561–3.5091, the mean for all individuals falls within that range. This indicates that if samples were taken repeatedly, the population mean would be present in 95% of the intervals (Lane, 2017). When we look at the minimum and maximum cases in each school, we notice that the lowest case was in School G where the mean = 1, and the highest motivated student is also in School G where the mean = 4.79. As for School M, the least motivated student had a mean = 1.71, and the highest motivated had a mean of 4.71. In School B, the least motivated student had a mean = 1.93, and the motivated had a mean of 4.64.

4.1.2 Phase Two: Post-Intervention Observation Findings

I was able to compare a variety of factors, including student motivation and demotivation, teaching methods, and the use of active learning before and after the intervention thanks to the three post-intervention observations I conducted in each school. In terms of motivation, I saw that participation was higher than usual in the classes where the active learning tactics were properly implemented. Most students participated in the discussions and showed enthusiasm in completing the assigned assignment when think-pair-share was used. Additionally, peer teaching was successful in Schools G and M, while School B had some challenges. One of the challenges was brought on by choosing the partners at random. Some pairs needed someone with a higher level to explain the necessary work to them because they were so weak. The nature of the students at this school presented another challenge. Boys were making fun of each other more than they were trying to help. Regarding the KWLH chart, it seems that all of the students in the three schools found it intriguing. Even without being asked, they began to read one other’s responses. Survey Findings

Table 2: Motivation Mean In Phases One and Two
  Mean N Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
Pair 1 motivation_average 3.6079 154 0.64638 0.05209
Motivation_average_POST 3.8071 154 0.60562 0.04880

Prior to the intervention, the mean level of motivation in three schools was 3.6076; following the intervention, it rose to 3.8071. Six questionnaires could not be matched between the pre- and post-tests. It is important to note that the surveys were coded such that the responses from the same students before and after the intervention could be compared. Additionally, the paired T-test in this case compares data from the same subject before and after the intervention.

Table 3: Paired Samples Test
  Paired Differences t df Sig. (2-tailed)
Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
Pair 1 motivation_average – Motivation_average_POST -0.19929 0.87572 0.07057 -0.33870 -0.05987 -2.824 153 0.005

Table 3 indicates that the motivation has increased significantly by 0.19929 and the P-value is 0.005 < 0.05.

4.2 Theme Two: The effect of active learning strategies on students’ motivation

4.2.1 Phase One: Pre-Intervention Interview Findings

When I first questioned teachers about how frequently they employed group and pair work, 44% of them responded that they seldom ever did so. T5 in SM replied, “Rarely because of the nature of my students.” She clarified that group work would be ineffective for students who struggle academically or have behavioral issues. T3 in SB stated: “In reality, everything depends on the student body. If we have a large student body and they are not disciplined, you feel that it is pointless because they are squandering their time. I prefer working alone or in pairs because I want to make sure the objective is met. I only use it once or twice a month because of these factors”. In the same school, T6 added: “Rarely because I feel that students would be more serious when they work alone.” The majority of the time, according to 28% of the teachers, is spent doing group and peer work. T1 in SG stated: “So often, in launching a theme and solving exercises, in previewing and writing.” “Most of the time,” T6 in SG remarked, “especially in reading comprehension.” T1 in SB stated: “Most of the class activities are done in groups or pairs.” One or two times per week, according to 16% of the teachers, students work in groups or pairs. “Whenever possible, students like pair and group work, which lessens classroom boredom, at least once a week,” T6 in SB said. 12% of the teachers claimed they never assign students to work in groups or pairs. T3 in SG, for instance, stated: “I have not used group work or pair work this year.”

Then, three distinct active learning strategies—peer teaching, think-pair-share, and KWLH charts—were discussed with the teachers. Peer teaching was practiced by all teachers. It is a learning approach that is very effective, according to 61% of the teachers. It is “very important, we follow it with low achievers to be helped by high achievers,” according to T1 in SG. “Sometimes it’s good because students might be reluctant to ask,” T2 stated “They find competition interesting, but not every class benefits from it.”

39% of the teachers indicated that they rarely employ the think-pair-share technique. “I use it if time permits,” T6 in SG stated. “However, we frequently run out of time. Not more than once every month”, T5 in SM stated. “Such tactics, in my opinion, would offer them a chance to act inappropriately. However, I apply these techniques to grade 10. Since Individual work is more effective” in her classes, T2 in SG claimed that she hardly ever uses it. Only 28% of the teachers claimed to be familiar with it.  “Do you mean the KWL chart?”, T2 in SG asked. “I don’t know about it. I have not previously utilized it”. 17%, stated that they never use it. “It is not one of my usual strategies,” T4 in SB stated. T6 in SB said, “In fact, I employ other methods.” The percentage of teachers that employ this strategy on a regular basis is 16%. T3 in SG stated, “I use it constantly. The students enjoy it. With their responses, they aim to impress the teacher. I sometimes have to move around to handle the class when it makes noise.”

44% of the teachers who responded to the question said they use the KWLH chart frequently. Of the teachers, 44% admitted to using it occasionally. T2 in SM stated: “I use it with my students occasionally. The amount of time I have varies”. Only 12% of teachers stated they never utilize it with their students. Observation Findings

Although I had the opportunity to observe a variety of teaching methods, the traditional method—where the teacher talked for most of the class period—was the most prevalent one. Many classrooms, including classes 2 in School G and 6 in School B, had teachers who would ask questions and then provide their own answers. The students were not given any time to reflect or respond. Other teachers were more approachable and encouraged student participation and discussion. Here is a description of the 18 classes I observed in the three schools with an emphasis on applicable teaching methods.

Table 4: Observation Checklist Item Percentage of checked items
Organization: The teacher  
presented an overview of the lesson. 72.2 %
paced the lesson appropriately. 66.7%
presented topics in a logical sequence. 61.1%
related today’s lesson to previous/future lessons. 55.6%
summarized the major points of the lesson. 61.1%
      Average 61.13%
Presentation: The teacher  
explained major points with clarity. 77.8%
explained minor points with clarity. 33.3%
defined unfamiliar terms, concepts, and principles. 38.9%
used good examples to clarify points. 50.0%
varied explanations for complex or difficult material. 33.3%
emphasized important points. 55.6%
used active, collaborative, and cooperative learning. 16.7%
used PowerPoint presentations. 11.1%
used visuals in explanation. 16.7%
wrote the important ideas on the board. 77.8%
made sure students understood the lesson. 38.9%
      Average 40.92%
The teacher actively encouraged students’ questions. 50.0%
Students asked relevant questions. 33.3%
The teacher listened carefully to students’ questions. 83.3%
Students abided by the class instructions. 66.7%
Students worked in groups. 38.9%
The teacher used think-pair-share strategy. 0.0%
Students filled a KWLH chart. 0.0%
The teacher encouraged peer teaching. 11.1%
Students participated in group discussions. 44.4%
Students showed interest in doing the required tasks. 27.8%
The teacher gave students positive feedback for their participation. 61.1%
The atmosphere in class is friendly. 33.3%
      Average 37.49%
Content Knowledge and Relevance  
The teacher is fluent in English. 66.7%
The teacher uses English all the time. 83.3%
The teacher follows his/her lesson plan. 72.2%
      Average 74.07% Survey Findings

Table 5: Model Summary: Active Learning Strategies & Students’ Motivation
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
5 .359a 0.129 0.126 0.68532

The simple correlation is represented by the R-value, which is 0.359 and denotes a moderate level of correlation. This indicates that the active learning practices and students’ motivation are positively correlated in a significant manner. 12.9% of the variation in motivation, according to the R square, can be accounted for by active learning techniques

4.2.2 Phase Two: Post-Intervention Observation Findings

Table 6: Observation Checklist Item Pre Post Difference
Organization: The teacher      
presented an overview of the lesson. 72.2 % 88.9% 16.7%
paced the lesson appropriately. 66.7% 88.9% 22.2%
presented topics in a logical sequence. 61.1% 100% 38.9%
related today’s lesson to previous/future lessons. 55.6% 55.6% 0.00%
summarized the major points of the lesson. 61.1% 55.6% -5.5%
Average 61.13% 77.80% 16.67%
Presentation: The teacher      
explained major points with clarity. 77.8% 55.6% -22.2%
explained minor points with clarity. 33.3% 22.2% -11.1%
defined unfamiliar terms, concepts, and principles. 38.9% 44.4% 5.5%
used good examples to clarify points. 50.0% 33.3% -16.7%
varied explanations for complex or difficult material. 33.3% 22.2% -11.1%
emphasized important points. 55.6% 66.7% 11.1%
used active, collaborative, and cooperative learning. 16.7% 88.9% 72.2%
used powerpoint presentations. 11.1% 22.2% 11.1%
used visuals in explanation. 16.7% 22.2% 5.5%
wrote the important ideas on the board. 77.8% 66.7% -11.1%
made sure students understood the lesson. 38.9% 33.3% -5.6%
Average 40.92% 43.43% 2.51%
The teacher actively encouraged student questions. 50.0% 22.2% -27.8%
Students asked relevant questions. 33.3% 44.4% 11.1%
The teacher listened carefully to students’ questions. 83.3 77.8% -5.5%
Students abided by the class instructions. 66.7% 66.7% 0.0%
Students worked in groups. 38.9% 88.9% 50.0%
The teacher used think-pair-share strategy. 0.0% 88.9% 88.9%
Students filled a KWLH chart. 0.0% 100% 100%
The teacher encouraged peer teaching. 11.1% 88.9% 77.8%
Students participated in group discussions. 44.4% 77.8% 33.4%
Students showed interest in doing the required tasks. 27.8% 66.7% 38.9%
The teacher gave students positive feedback for their participation. 61.1%


55.6% -5.5%
The atmosphere in class is friendly. 33.3% 77.8% 44.5%
Average 37.1% 71.31% 34.21%
Content Knowledge and Relevance      
The teacher is fluent in English. 66.7% 66.7% 0.0%
The teacher uses English all the time. 83.3% 88.9% 5.6%
The teacher follows his/her lesson plan. 72.2% 77.8% 5.6%
Average 74.07% 77.80% 3.73%

The average level of instructors’ organization increased by 16.7 as seen in the table above following the intervention. Regarding the presentation, the use of active, collaborative, and cooperative learning had the biggest improvement. In addition, the typical proportion rose by 2.51%. The percentage of students employing the three active learning strategies had the largest increase in interaction, with a 34.21% overall average increase. It improved by 3.73% in terms of topic knowledge and relevance. Survey Findings

Table 7: Model Summary: Active Learning Strategies & Students’ Motivation
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .455a 0.207 0.202 0.53510
a. Predictors: (Constant), Active_Learning_Strategies

The active learning practices and the students’ motivation following the intervention have a moderately positive significant correlation (R = 0.455). The R2 number is the percentage of the dependent variable’s total variation that the independent variable can account for. In this instance, the fitted regression line is closely approximated by the independent variable, which accounts for 20.7% of the dependent variable.

  1. Discussion

According to the Self-Determination Theory, students may be motivated to study in one of two ways: intrinsically or extrinsically. In contrast to extrinsic drive, Rayan et al. (2009) found that intrinsic motivation had a longer-lasting impact on learning. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness are the three demands that must be met in order to obtain this intrinsic motivation. I concentrated on the requirement for autonomy in our study. According to Benson & Ying (2013, p. 40), “the key idea that autonomy in language learning has borrowed from constructivism is the idea that effective learning is active learning.”

To encourage students’ autonomy in the classroom, Benson & Ying (2013), Kusurkar et al. (2011), Lamb (2009), Niemiec & Rayan (2009), Black & Deci (2000), and numerous other studies advocated utilizing active learning methodologies. Involving students in activities while having them reflect on what they are doing is a common feature of ALS.

 There are many active learning techniques, for the sake of this research, I concentrated on three of them: peer teaching, think-pair-share, and goal-setting using a KWLH chart.

According to Nguyen (2013), peer teaching is “an instructional method that uses pairings of high-performing students to tutor lower-performing students in a class-wide setting or in a common venue outside of school under the supervision of a teacher” (p. 2). Peer teaching was regarded as a very effective active learning approach by 61% of the teachers. The others agreed that it is ineffective, particularly in secondary schools where students may make fun of one another and become disengaged. Peer teaching “leads to academic benefits and social benefits in both higher-performing mentors and low-performing mentees in an individual and positive way,” according to Nguyen (2013, p. 2).

Peer teaching was claimed to be frequently used by teachers in our study, according to the teachers of SG and SM, however, some teachers in SB did not believe it was helpful in a boys’ school. Only two teachers in SG and SM employed peer teaching during our observations. According to the students’ responses, their teachers occasionally ask them to teach one another. Peer teaching, according to Grubbs & Boes (2009), has many advantages, including bettering students’ self-efficacy, fostering critical thinking, cultivating a positive attitude toward learning, giving them more control over their education, and strengthening relationships between classmates.

Think-pair-share is another ALS strategy that instructors were expected to implement. “It is a collaborative learning strategy that is effective in very large classes; it encourages students to be reflective about course content, allows students to formulate their thoughts privately before sharing them with others, and can foster higher-order thinking skills” (Eison, 2010, p. 7). The researchers also noted that TPS encourages student participation and gives them the freedom to speak freely both in front of the class as a whole and to one another. Due to the opportunity for collaboration and shared accountability for their responses, students prefer TPS over individual work. TPS teaches students to value and respect one another’s viewpoints. Only 16% of the teachers in our study indicated that they regularly employed the think-pair-share method. The others either seldom ever used it or had never heard of it. Surprisingly, none of my 18 class observations witnessed the use of TPS. Despite this, students stated in questionnaires that they mostly used TPS.

Teachers were also questioned regarding the KWLH chart goal-setting technique.  Setting goals was advised by Boekaerts (2002) as a way to increase students’ motivation and performance. However, 85% of the participants in a research done by Bishop (2003) stated that they weren’t asked or instructed to set their own learning goals in school. In our survey, 44% of the teachers claimed to regularly employ goal-setting techniques, while 44% claimed to do so occasionally. However, based on our observations, none of the instructors used it. Students said that they occasionally filled out a KWLH chart during the English period. Bishop (2003) noted that employing this strategy by itself might not raise students’ achievement. To develop an autonomous learner, it should be used in conjunction with other ALS. Additionally, not all objectives could be fulfilled. Students should learn from teachers how to create learning objectives that are “SMART” (Moeller et al., 2015, p. 155): specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

According to the results of our study, I noticed that although teachers were aware of the beneficial effects of employing ALS on students’ motivation, they rarely used them. Most instructors continue to impart knowledge in the same manner they did in the past: by explaining concepts and giving students clear directives to follow.

Phase Two validated what was discovered in phase one. For three months, nine teachers were expected to conduct lessons utilizing ALS. When I conducted the post-intervention observations, I observed that students were interacting with the teacher and one another more frequently.  Because they observed their students cooperating and working together, the majority of teachers also appeared to be more at ease while instructing. In several classes, the situation shifted from demotivated passive students to eager students interacting and engaging in discussions for the majority of the class session.  But not all instructors used the ALS correctly and frequently. In SB, a teacher delivered hazy instructions regarding TPS. She didn’t seem to have mentioned anything before to my observation. Students were disinterested in their assignments and were lost in directions as a result. Additionally, the Chi-square results showed that there was a substantial shift in the use of peer teaching and the KWLH chart following the intervention, while the change in the application of TPS was minor. This suggests that either students weren’t receiving clear instructions regarding TPS or teachers weren’t regularly using it to familiarize it with students.

On the other hand, the motivation mean rose significantly from 3.6 to 3.8 across the three schools. The T-test revealed that following the intervention, there was a considerable rise in overall motivation. Hansen (2001, p. 3) referenced Deci & Rayan (1985) in support of his claim that cooperative learning environments foster students’ intrinsic motivation. Therefore, students are more likely to become invested in and driven to complete the assignment when they collaborate to learn and broaden their knowledge. Oginsky (2003) discovered as well that environments that foster autonomy experience higher levels of intrinsic motivation. According to the findings of his research, some students preferred working in pairs to complete assignments that they picked, while others put off finishing them when the teacher assigned them.

According to survey data analysis, there is a moderately good correlation between the use of ALS and students’ motivation. R was equal to 0.359 and R square was equal to 0.129 prior to the intervention, but they rose to 0.455 and 0.207 following the intervention, indicating a stronger correlation.

  1. Conclusion

“Quite possibly the source of the motivation is very important in a practical sense to teachers who want to stimulate students’ motivation. Without knowing where the roots of motivation lie, how can teachers water those roots?” (Comfort, Agnello, & Santos, 2009, p. 800)

    One of the most important missions EFL teachers aim to do is to motivate their students. However, this objective is frequently not met. According to the literature (Gardner, 1985; Person, 1990; Glasser, 1990; Okolo and Bahr, 1995; Ingram, 2000; Cook, 2000; Brewer and Burgess, 2005; Dornyei, 2014; Barry; Fewell; and Dornyei, & Ushioda, 2013), EFL students lack the proper desire to persevere in learning the language. Why do some students work harder than others in their studies? Why do some students persist in trying until they succeed? Why don’t other students try to do better during English classes and instead choose to remain passive? Motivation is the solution. Students’ persistence to learn and succeed is determined by their level of motivation (Komayha et al., 2018).

    After our intervention, students were given the same questionnaire to complete. This was done three months after they had used three active learning strategies. Based on the examination of the post-survey data, the intervention enhanced the overall motivation mean. Additionally, I noticed that students were more engaged and involved when they worked in pairs or established their own objectives. When using ALS, teachers consistently mentioned that their students are more motivated. After the intervention, it also improved in terms of achievement.

   Based on the findings of this research, the following set of advice for all educators appears to increase students’ motivation and engagement.

– Stressing the idea of autonomy from the very beginning of education.

– Incorporating active learning techniques into each day’s lesson planning.

– Including engaging assignments and topics in the curriculum to make it more enjoyable.

– Encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning.

– Giving underachievers the opportunity to gain from working alongside high achievers.

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