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Talking in Order to Learn: Insights and Practical Strategies on Learner Anxiety and Motivation


Peter MacIntyre and Tammy Gregersen


Wednesday, 4 December 2013
10:30 am–12:00 pm ET
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Cost: Free for members; US$45 for nonmembers
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Registration Deadline: 30 November 2013
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Who Should Attend?

English language teachers, administrators, and teacher trainers at all levels.

More About This Seminar

Language teaching recognizes the value of talking in order to learn. Yet students will often hold back, reluctant to speak even though they might want to do so. This is a challenging situation for teachers and learners alike, one that draws the psychology of the learner into focus.

In this webinar we examine hesitant students from the perspective of a collision between motivation and anxiety. Key concepts are reviewed to provide insights into both motivation and anxiety, as well as the ways in which they interact to affect learning and communication. Practical strategies and classroom exercises are offered that promote authentic communication, increase motivation, and manage anxiety.

What Will I Learn?

Participants will 
  • increase their understanding of anxiety and motivation
  • understand the dynamic system in which anxiety and motivation converge
  • learn new methods and activities for promoting “talking in order to learn” among students

Discussion Questions

  • Have you yourself ever wanted to say something in another language but held yourself back? If so, why?
  • For your students, which is the bigger problem, too much anxiety or too little?
  • Do you think students lack motivation? What are your expectations for student motivation?
  • In modern language teaching is there too much, or not enough, emphasis on students talking?
  • Generally, should a teacher try to reduce anxiety or increase motivation among hesitant students?

About the Presenters

Peter MacIntyre and Tammy Gregersen are researchers in the field of second language acquisition. Peter is a psychologist at Cape Breton University who specializes in studying motivation and emotion involved in communication. Tammy is a teacher trainer in TESOL at the University of Northern Iowa who specializes in studying language anxiety and teacher immediacy. Each has published numerous articles and chapters, many of which emphasize applications of theory. Together, they are authors of a forthcoming book called Capitalizing on Language Learners' Individuality:  From Premise to Practice (published by Multilingual Matters).