By Davut Nhem, M.A. (TESOL), Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Deneme, S. (2011). A lesson model for enhancing motivation in EFL writing classes. 1(7), 785-788.

The role of motivation in learning has been long discussed by researchers in all disciplines of education, especially in relation to language education. What motivates second language learners become successful learners is the primary concern among researchers and teachers in diverse educational settings. Deneme (2011), who has understood the significance of motivation in teaching writing which is the most challenging task in teaching English language, suggests a lesson model for enhancing learners’ motivation in teaching writing by employing a content-based instruction. Although the method of the study seems to be weak, the concept of using content-based instruction to teach a specific group of learners and the lesson model in this study sounds appealing to other researchers and teachers in the field of language teaching.

Deneme (2011) points out her concens about students’ beliefs about writing, authentic goals, reasoning of writing, and classroom atmosphere that could increase students’ motivation to write English well by raising a suggestion of employing content-based instruction. She explains that content-based approach could stimulate learners’ motivation and accelerate their language acquicition proficiently due to the facts that content-based approach relys on four principles such as automaticity, meaningful learning, intrinsic motivaiotn, and communicative competence. The research was conducted over 23 intermediate-level students who were learning English as a foreign language at the department of Tourism at a university in Turkey. The lesson was divided into pre-while-and-post writing stage; students in groups  had a discussion about their favorite holiday resorts, and then relevant words were provided to them, following by an E-mail writing to a customer who was seeking for advice about a summer holiday. The findings released that students were enjoying and engaging in the class, and they considered that the lesson beneficial because it was related to their interest and the field of study (Tourism), and she also suggests the lesson could be used as a lesson model in teaching writing.

Since the purpose of the study aimed to propose a lesson model, the researcher adapted qualitative approach which 13 male and 10 female students studying English in intermediate level took part in the study. This selected group of students should be more convicing as intermediate-level students might have poor English language proficiency and less motivation in learning writing. However, she chose the participated students randomly, and that seemed to ignore nature of qualitivative approach which the participants involving the study must be purposive. The author should have selected those students who were not motivated to write English to involve in her study as the aim of this study is to increase learners’ motivaiton in writing. She should also have explained the reason of choosing participants randomly. Therefore, it is skeptical that among the participated students there might be most students who were already highly motivated with a good language proficiency though they are in intermediate level. 

In addtion, during the process of the study the researcher herslf conducted the lesson because she probably wanted to ensure the effecitveness of the lesson procedures. This could be acceptable in a way that the homeroom teacher might not understand and implement the procedures of the lesson effectively. Although delivery of the lesson could be the researcher’s concern, the teacher could be trained how to teach the lesson well because that teacher also knew the students well. With this regard, it is highly questionable that students’ participation would be unreliable since the students learnt from the other who was not their teacher. In general, the nature of human beings seem to be respectful and careful when they meet unfamilar individauls. Thus, there is no doubt that students could pretend to enjoy the lesson which could lead to the inaccurate findings from observation and their answers in the interview.

In conclusion, Deneme (2011) provides a comprehensive lesson model for increasing students’ motivation in teaching writing, and suggests the content-based instruction to be used in teaching writing because of its underlying priniciples of automaticity, meaningful learning, intrinsic motivaiotn, and communicative competence, all of which could highly arouse learner’ motivation in learning. Certainly, this suggestion could go in line with the 21st century education which learning should take place in a means that learners take control of their learning, and meaningful commnication is sougth. However, the method of conducting the study, especailly in selecting participants and the recruiting instructor of the lesson should be reconsidered.