I recently asked myself what new language or framework I should be studying, revisiting, expanding my knowledge in, in order to grow and use it to work on different types of projects.
I like some coding languages better than others, and when I was thinking of what could convince me to dedicate time to improve on languages I don’t enjoy as much, I remembered the relationship between motivation and goal of learning a foreign language, published by the two scholars Gardner and Lambert in 1972, then in my Italian books also expanded by the scholar Balboni.
I would like to add links here, but they are so many I would not know where to start and mostly stop.
We can observe 4 types of motivation:
Intrinsic motivation, it comes from inside the learner, and it’s linked to emotions and desires.
Extrinsic motivation, linked to external factors, like school.
Integrative intrinsic when the learner wants or integrative extrinsic when the learner must find integration in the other culture.
Instrumental motivation when it can help with work and professional status.
Then Balboni (in “Le Sfide di Babele”) analyses motivation under 3 categories:
- the obligation to learn, like in school for example, that if it is not backed by interest in the learner, it becomes apprendimento (roughly translated as “learning”) but not acquisizione (roughly translated as “acquisition”). The information is stored in the short-term memory and quickly forgotten.
- the need to learn, linked to the left-hand side of the brain (more about reasoning in super-short), where the learner need to develop specific knowledge to reach a goal.
- the enjoyment to learn, linked to the right-hand side of the brain (super simplifying, the side dedicated to emotions), but can also involve the left-hand side, and therefore become more powerful.