Barbara Gesicka is in the early stages of her PhD. In this blog she talks about her research: Motivating Polish Matura students to write in English.

A few years ago I graduated from Leeds Met, having completed an MA in Professional Development for Language Education. It was a very motivating experience that influenced my career a lot. So after several years I decided to apply again and continue studying. The beginning has been really challenging with deciding what topic to research, but the people I have met at the University have been extremely helpful and restored my confidence.

Leeds Metropolitan offers very good library services. The academic atmosphere is highly motivating and the supervisors are helpful and respectful.

Polish students learning English find it particularly troublesome when trying to put their thoughts and ideas into English due to the fact that there is always a challenge to choose appropriate vocabulary and grammar to get the intended meaning across. In such a situation motivation is necessary to encourage the students to push through their limits.

Even with a high level of motivation the students may not always be able to overcome their difficulties. For foreign language students, grammar and vocabulary issues will always be of significant importance and such an attitude is encouraged by teachers’ feedback, which is often given in an exam-like system. Nevertheless, such feedback does not offer many opportunities for improving writing because the students are so concentrated on writing correctly to please the teacher and neglect the meaning they want to pass to the reader.

My advice to other research students is to feel confident, read widely, keep in touch with the supervisors and colleagues and share your experience.

I would like to publish the results of my research and incorporate my findings in a teaching programme officially approved by the Ministry of Education in Poland.