Date of Graduation

Fall 12-17-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


School of Education


Teaching English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Luz Navarrette García, EdD


Current research into motivation in second language acquisition, including Dörnyei (2005, 2009, 2015), offers compelling evidence that adult language learners who develop and habitually strengthen a vision of their future, linguistically capable selves using concrete, sensory imagery are more likely to sustain the necessary motivation to achieve their personal language-learning goals. My thesis proposes that poetry writing can be an effective medium for language learners to build facility in developing concrete, sensory imagery (tactile, visual, kinesthetic, olfactory, and auditory), including creating a motivating vision of their future, linguistically capable selves. Because poetry can directly support and build learner motivation, it offers advantages over specialized motivational training programs that require extra training and stand outside the regular curriculum of the adult ESL classroom. Poetry writing should accordingly be regarded as a valuable instructional resource in adult ESL education. My thesis field project, “The Motivational Writing Project”, is an e-book for instructors of ESL at adult schools and community colleges, especially TESOL instructors with minimal or no background in poetry. The e-book includes a sequence of poetry writing warmups, frames, and prompts for High-Beginning to Advanced adult language learners to write about their present, past, and future using concrete, sensory language. These sequenced exercises gradually build adult language learners’ facility in writing using concrete, sensory imagery, culminating in the creation of a vivid, motivating vision of their future selves as capable communicators in English. The poetry writing exercises are designed to be consistent with current research findings in language learning and motivation, as well as with community college ESL writing standards.