Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                Pp. 170 183

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Motivational Strategies among English Language Teachers: An Examination in Higher
Education Institutions in the 
Malaysian Context

Suhaida Omar
English Language Department, Centre of Language Studies and Generic Development,
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, 
Bachok, Malaysia

Nik Ahmad Farhan bin Azim @ Nik Azim
English Language Department, Centre of Language Studies and Generic Development,
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, 
Bachok, Malaysia 

Noor Syamimie Mohd Nawi
English Language Department, Centre of Language Studies and Generic Development,
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, 
Bachok, Malaysia 

Noraini Zaini
English Language Department, Centre of Language Studies and Generic Development,
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, 
Bachok, Malaysia


Little attention was given to explore and understand motivational strategies among English language (EL) teachers, particularly at higher education institutions (HEIs), despite the on-going interest on this matter. Identifying which strategies are adaptive and maladaptive could help them to promote student motivation in return. This study aims to identify the degree of importance and implementation of motivational strategies among EL teachers and explore to what extent they implement the strategies that they perceived as important. The online questionnaires were distributed to 49 teachers at 11 public universities in Malaysia, and ten of them were interviewed. The findings of this study suggested the implementation of motivational strategies heavily depended on teachers’ perceived motivation in teaching. The highest-rated strategy was Proper Teacher Behavior, and the least preferred was Promote Learner Autonomy, indicating that teacher behavior as an important element in ensuring effective language learning. Next, despite the findings that most students are not ready for learner autonomy, the teachers appeared to have a more positive outlook on the inclusion of learner autonomy, and this contradicts findings of previous studies in the Asian contexts. It also indicates that motivational strategies are neither cultural nor context-specific. However, some strategies are still regarded as very practical, while some are less practical in different learning situations. Future research may include private universities to contribute to the knowledge gap on the lack of information on this topic and eventually enable academics to engage in motivational strategies research across all HEIs in Malaysia.
Keywords: English Language teachers, Malaysian Higher Education, motivational strategies

Cite as: Omar, S.,  Azim, N. A.F., Nawi, N.S.M., & Zaini, N. (2020). Motivational Strategies among English Language Teachers: An Examination in Higher Education Institutions in the Malaysian Context. Arab World English Journal11 (3) 170 183.


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Suhaida Omar is the Head of English Department at the Centre of Language Studies and Generic
Development, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Malaysia. Graduated from the University of
Warwick, UK in EdD (Applied Linguistics and ELT), and her research interests include Reading
in SL/FL, Sociolinguistics, Eye-tracking, and CLIL.
Nik Ahmad Farhan bin Azim @ Nik Azim As a CELTA certified teacher, he spent 3 years in a
secondary school in Malaysia and currently teaching at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan. His
experiences include curriculum and assessment design for secondary education in state and
national level. His current interests include educational linguistics and remedial instructions.
Noor Syamimie Mohd Nawi teaches at Universiti Malaysia of Kelantan (UMK) in the Centre for
Language Studies and Generic Development. She completed her MA in English Linguistics from
University of Malaya. As an educator, she has special interest in TESL, Discourse Analysis, and
Noraini Zaini is an English Language teacher with over 4 years’ experience teaching
undergraduate students. She currently serves at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, teaching General
English and English Communication subjects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English for
Professional Communication and master’s degree in Mass Communication, both from Universiti
Technology MARA.