A University Course of Intercultural Communication: Fostering Students' Skills and Competence

Motivation as a concept, motivating factors and the role of the teacher in the motivation mix have received considerable attention lately. Tertiary students seem to be the ones who have potent intrinsic motivation simply because completing a degree is not compulsory. Nevertheless, motivation is seen to be directly related to learners' performance and achievement. Thus, the study attempted to explore motivating factors for tertiary students in a specific educational setting – in a college where they are supposed to take up two foreign languages and study them both from scratch (or at best to continue one from of them from an intermediary level) simultaneously, the task made more challenging by the fact that the major language is an Oriental or an African one. Therefore, the aim of the study was to question the students about their perception of the motivating factors, including the importance of the figure of a teacher and the teacher type related to authoritarianism versus a more democratic management style; gender-related differences, if any, were of particular interest, as well as those concerning particular languages, namely European languages vs oriental ones. For this purpose, a questionnaire was devised, printed out and distributed among the students. The responses, which were given in the teachers' absence, were subsequently collected and analysed. The results of the survey suggest that intrinsic motivation is indeed the prevalent form of motivation for tertiary students in both Oriental/African and West European language, though the role of the teacher and relevant interesting materials and topics for discussion help foster the intrinsic motivation. A more democratic style of class management is seen by the students as preferable and more conducive to language learning.

Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies
  • 1 Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University)
  • 2 Peoples Friendship University of Russia
motivation; educational process; tertiary education; Oriental/West European languages
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