The role of extrinsic motivation in learning English as a second language among international college students

Motivation is one of the cornerstones closely linked to a college student’s learning ability and academic performance. Cherry (2018) defines extrinsic motivation as one’s psychological behavior that is compelled by external rewards such as grades, praise, money, and fame. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual, as opposed to intrinsic motivation, which originates from inside the individual. From my personal experience and experiences witnessed amongst my international student peers, the English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum we took was no simple walk in the park. With sufficient extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to stimulate our education environment, we have noticed our increased ability to have better comprehension, concentration and understanding of the fundamentals of the English language. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) can also be enhanced through extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to accelerate ESL student’s ability to master new language skills.This thesis provides an extensive review of literature related to the topic of extrinsic motivation and its relationship with educators and international college students. Moreover, the thesis will also explore how extrinsic motivation is a more effective motivator compared to intrinsic motivation and how it has specifically contributed to the success of international students in the learning of English as a second language. Lastly, this thesis discusses various ways educators can leverage extrinsic motivation to improve the effectiveness of how well their students master English as a second language.