In 2018, for my master’s dissertation in applied linguistics, I conducted action research that obtained quantitative data demonstrating Korean elementary students who learn English from native speaking English teachers (NETs) are more successful language learners than those who do not. My research was based on the hypothesis that NETs, as members of English-speaking language communities, strongly influence their students’ interest in English and are a significant source of extrinsic motivation for them. Through meaningful communication and positive engagement, NETs are able to connect their students with the world outside of the classroom and inspire them to learn English for integrative purposes. This in turn leads to improved English acquisition. To test my hypothesis, I designed a survey (based in part on Robert Gardner’s Attitude Motivation Test Battery, or AMTB) that evaluates students on their English language abilities, attitudes, and motivations. I administered my survey to two groups of 6th grade elementary students: the first group had been studying with a NET for five years, and the second for five months. Survey results indicated that the students in the first group were more proficient in English than those in the second, and an analysis attributed this to the impact of the NET. In my talk, I will briefly review my research methodologies, present the findings of my study, discuss their implications, and offer suggestions for how NETs can be utilized as sources of extrinsic motivation.
Andrew Lerner is an ESL educator with close to a decade of experience working in South Korea. As a teacher for South Korea’s EPIK program, he taught English to elementary school students in Gyeonggi province for 7 years. He is currently an English lecturer at Kyungnam University in the city of Changwon.