A Case Study of the Perceptions and Reactions of Spanish-Speaking Students to Motivators and Demotivators in the English Language Classroom.


  • Alejandra Alvarado-Brizuela University of North Alabama



Using a qualitative approach, this study explored and analyzed the experiences of Spanish-speaking students who took English language (EL) classes in grades K-12 as well as the experiences of teachers licensed in EL who teach in public schools in Indiana. Data were collected by conducting individual interviews with four EL teachers and one focus group session with three Spanish-speaking Hispanic students who were English Learners (ELs) for at least four months in Indiana public schools. Analysis demonstrates how motivation is fostered among teachers and students with six emergent themes between the two groups of participants: language learning environment; student-teacher relationship; choice of task or reading material; use of technology; peer scaffolding; and difficulty of the task. Although the emergent themes were present in both sets of data, there were some similarities and dissimilarities in the perception of these themes. While the teachers believed that all six emergent themes played an important role in fostering and promoting motivation in the EL classroom, the students only acknowledged the use of technology, the difficulty of the task, and peer scaffolding as motivators. The interviewed students did not consider the language-learning environment or the student-teacher relationship to be motivators; and the option to choose a task or reading material was not part of their K-12 experience.


Keywords: Spanish speakers, motivation, demotivation, English language

Author Biography

Alejandra Alvarado-Brizuela, University of North Alabama

Alejandra Alvarado-Brizuela, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL. Alejandra is a graduate of the University of Costa Rica-Rodrigo Facio Campus, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in TESOL. She taught EL in K-12 in Costa Rica before pursuing a Master’s degree in Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Media Technology with a specialization in Language Education, both from Indiana State University. She has been a member of INTESOL and TESOL, as well as ACTFL and MLA.
Inquiries may be directed to aalvaradobrizuela@una.edu


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