Teachers' and students' perceptions of teacher motivational behavior
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The objective of this study was to investigate teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the motivational behaviors that English teachers in general perform in the classroom. Additionally, the study attempted to explore the relation between students’ and teachers’ perceptions, as well as their relations to what has been pointed out in the literature. The participants were seven teachers who taught at two different levels, preintermediate and upper-intermediate, and their 138 students from seven classes, during the spring term of the 2006-2007 academic year in Erciyes University School of Foreign Languages (EU SFL). Three classes of each teacher were observed to gather data on their observed motivational behaviors in the classroom, with the guidance of a checklist of motivational behaviors compiled from the literature. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to gather more in-depth information about the teachers’ perceptions of their own behaviors, and which of their behaviors they identify as motivating. Then, they were given a questionnaire in which they rated 56 motivational behaviors from the literature on a 5-point Likert scale. The questionnaire was also administered to the participant students. The student questionnaire consisted of four parts, reflecting the first research question, regarding what teacher behaviors the students find motivating in the classroom. The aim of the questionnaire was to gather a picture of the perceptions of the students towards teacher motivational behaviors derived from the literature, as well as their own ideas regarding teachers’ behaviors that motivate and demotivate them. The analysis of the data revealed that the teachers’ and the students’ perceptions of motivational behaviors are similar, although there are some mis-matches. Both the teachers and the students think that a good teacher-student relationship and teachers’ being friendly and supportive are the most motivating behaviors. On the other hand, although the teachers find encouraging students to try harder and asking them to work toward a pre-determined goal motivating, the students do not find these behaviors as motivating as the teachers do. Furthermore, despite the emphasis given on the effect of learner autonomy on motivation in the literature, the students do not find the items concerning autonomy very motivating, and the teachers did not emphasize the effect of learner autonomy on language learning during the interviews. The findings of the study might be beneficial for teachers as they will gain an insight into their students’ beliefs about the motivational behavior of teachers. Teachers’ awareness of how their students perceive teacher motivational behavior may help them in considering the effects of their actions in the classroom.