Motivation and meaningful connection in the changing classroom
The main goal of language learning is undoubtedly social. We all have a strong desire to connect with others in meaningful ways, sharing experiences, exchanging information, or collaborating. Apart from language skills, connecting with others in meaningful ways requires intrinsic motivation, self efficacy, social and emotional intelligence as well as other traits or states that make up interpersonal competence (Spitzberg, 1989; Goleman 2006). This presentation will discuss key issues affecting relationship building and communication in the modern classroom through demonstrating activities and strategies for improving interpersonal skills and meaningful connections in both early and higher education contexts. These include storytelling, collaborative video projects and interactive presentations, all of which can help to provide learners with opportunities to develop empathy, self-awareness, active listening, critical thinking, assertiveness, sensitivity, and tolerance of differences. With the rise of online learning, social media-based interaction, and social distancing norms, making ‘real’ connections with others is becoming increasingly rare and difficult. By using relationship-building strategies to become better communicators, learners can develop multiple competencies and a multilevel awareness needed for making meaningful and interpersonal connections.