Authors: Samantha Lotnick1
1Soran University, Erbil, Iraq
Abstract: This paper aims to outline the benefits of using competitive games in the language classroom to engage student interest and increase their motivation to learn the language functions presented. As it has been established in the field educational psychology on the topic of motivation, working memory capacity is affected by motivation and in turn retention of information is affected by working memory capacity. It has been speculated that motivation
is influenced by interest, and therefore, if students find the subject matter presented to them interesting, they will be motivated to learn, and their working memory will be activated while they are learning, leading to higher rates of retention of course materials. This paper aims to expand upon this theoretical base by outlining how presenting a topic that students find interesting is not the only way to engage their interest; the classroom activity used to present and practice new material can serve as a way of extrinsically motivating students. If instructors can engage students through their interest in classroom activities, then students will be motivated to complete these activities, activating more of their working memory while they perform the activities and increasing the chances that the information presented to them will be stored in their long-term memory. Drawing on my own classroom observations this paper outlines examples of games that can be adapted effectively to different contexts. While there is a wide range of classroom activities that can be used to capture student interest, the focus of this paper is to demonstrate how competitive games in particular can be used as an effective means of motivating students by capturing their interest.
Keywords: motivation, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, working-memory, attention, noticing, interest, competitive games
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International Journal of Social Sciences & Educational Studies
ISSN 2409-1294 (Print), June 2014, Vol.1, No.4