University English Teachers’ Challenges in Handling Unmotivated Learners: A Case Study

Adaninggar Septi Subekti


This exploratory case study investigated three university teachers’ views about their students’ unmotivation, the combination of amotivation and demotivation, in General English (GE) classes and explored challenges these teachers faced as written in their reflections during six semesters, from the second semester of the 2016/2017 academic year to the first semester of 2019/2020. The study used secondary document analysis with the teachers’ reflections analyzed using thematic analysis per the purposes of the study. The study found that teachers generally perceived many of their students to be unmotivated. It could be seen from their passive, reticent, and not attentive behaviours in class. They also reported the widespread phenomenon of absenteeism among learners. These teachers faced complex challenges in dealing with unmotivated students. These challenges were attributed to various intertwining factors within the instruction such as unreliable assessment, fun, yet not very meaningful class activities, and learners’ low proficiency level, as well as GE programme's position that seemed to be second-prioritized in learners' respective departments' curriculum. Though this case study may be unique in its context, a certain extent of replication in other contexts is possible. Suggested future studies include a more thorough investigation about the quality of assessment in English for non-English department’s students’ classes as well as a large-scale survey about absenteeism phenomenon in GE classes among non-English major students.


Amotivation; demotivation; thematic analysis; unmotivated

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