An Exploration of Motivational Strategies and Factors That Affect Strategies: A Case of Chinese EFL Teachers

  •  Xiaosu Chen    
  •  Jutarat Vibulphol    


Based on Self-determination theory, learners’ motivation can be enhanced when the psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness—are satisfied (Ryan & Deci, 2017). In English as a second language classrooms, teachers can play an important role in this; however, their motivational strategies may be influenced by their beliefs and contextual factors (Hornstra, Mansfield, van der Veen, Peetsma, & Volman, 2015). In this case study, six EFL classrooms in a public school in Northwest China were observed over the period of five weeks. The teachers were interviewed after each observation and at the end of the observation period to explore the relationships among factors that may affect the teachers’ use of motivational strategies, namely teacher beliefs and pressure from “above” and from “below”. The data were analyzed qualitatively using the coding method. The findings revealed a discrepancy between teacher beliefs and motivational practices. All of the teachers regularly exercised controlling strategies regardless of their beliefs in the value of motivation. Nevertheless, relationships between motivational practices and contextual factors were found. These findings suggest the needs for effective teacher professional development on the use of motivational strategies to enhance intrinsic motivation.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.