What Types of Motivation are Key?

External factors such as good teachers and helpful textbooks, studying with other motivated language learners and being surrounded by effective senior colleagues, meeting frequently with friendly & encouraging local people, supportive organizational leadership and being given helpful advice on how to learn Chinese will all help your Internal motivation.

Yet there are two main types of internal motivation that should be fostered: Intrinsic motivation and Integrative motivation:

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is motivation from deep within the student. I read a book for pleasure. Intrinsically motivated students study Chinese because they want to study. The material is interesting, challenging and rewarding, and the student receives a great sense of satisfaction from learning.

Extrinsic motivation is different. I’m extrinsically motivated when I study Chinese in order (e.g.) to prepare for the next exam. Extrinsically motivated students study and learn in order to receive a reward, such as a diploma.

The difference in focus between intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation is that one is on your ever-increasing ability to communicate in Chinese well and the pure delight this brings, while the other is on the external reward (e.g. diploma) and the sense of pride it will give me.

Integrative vs. Instrumental Motivation

Integrative motivation (people-focused) is characterized by the learner’s positive attitudes towards Chinese people and the desire to integrate into the Chinese community.

Instrumental motivation (goal-focused) underlies the goal to gain some social or economic reward through second language achievement (e.g. passing the HSK exam so that I can study in a Chinese university or apply for a job), thus referring to a more functional reason for language learning.

During full-time language learning, you should try to foster Intrinsic  motivation as well as  Integrative  motivation as both these will help you want to continue acquiring Chinese long after full-time language study is over.

Key Types of Motivation:  pdf file