Ahead of this year’s 20th Annual Chinese Teaching Conference taking place on Saturday 14th October 2023, we are pleased to be interviewing Lucy Wicks. Lucy will be presenting the workshop “Motivation to Learn Chinese- strengthen, sustain, repair”.

Hello Lucy, what made you choose the subject of Motivation for this year’s conference?

This year I have been researching student motivation for learning Chinese as part of an MSc in Teaching and Learning.  I initially chose motivation as I felt frustrated that the variance in quantity and quality of homework in Year 9 led to a wide gap in achievement in Key Stage 4.  However, the findings of my study made me reflect deeply on my own teaching practice and I proceeded to learn more about how a teacher’s motivational style can affect student motivation both in and out of the classroom.  I can’t wait to discuss this with colleagues at the conference, which I’ve been attending for at least 15 of its 20 years!!

What are the main factors of student motivation and what is the teacher’s role?

I like to use Self Determination Theory to view student motivation as it emphasizes the human psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness, all of which are relevant to Mandarin teaching, in my opinion.

The teacher’s role is vital, and they can be trained to be “needs supportive” in their approach to strengthen, sustain and repair student motivation to learn Mandarin.

The best thing is that trialling the approaches can have a reciprocal effect on a teacher’s own motivation to teach, as well as improving student retention and well-being.

Last time you delivered a workshop at our conference was last year. How has your thinking in this area developed since then?

Last year I presented about ways to embed phonics across Key Stage 3 and 4.  This is still in my repertoire, but I take care nowadays to not undermine student competence by over correcting pronunciation mistakes.  An increased focus on communicative techniques prioritizes real communication over accuracy, enhancing the motivation and increasing confidence along the way.

Thank you, Lucy!

Anyone who is interested in finding out more in advance of the conference workshop, can check out the below free resources:

Academic papers on Self-Determination Theory in Language Learning

Liam Printer’s podcast and website “The Motivated Classroom”

We look forward to welcoming ticketholders to Lucy’s workshop on Saturday 14th October 2023 at the IOE. Book your tickets here.