Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

World Languages

Committee Member

Elisabeth Morgan, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Joe Bishop, PhD

Committee Member

James Perren, EdD


Drawing on in-depth qualitative data from fifty-four surveys and five interviews, this study investigated the elements of motivation and demotivation reflected in Sri Lankan ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers. The participants were a convenience sample of English teachers currently employed in Sri Lankan public schools. The results of the study revealed that students themselves, the act of teaching students, and the prestigious social position for English teachers in Sri Lanka are main motivators for teachers. The main demotivators for the participants included limited facilities for teaching and learning in schools, inefficiency of school administration and zonal education offices, difficulties in obtaining teacher transfers, the discrepancy between the English curriculum and students’ English proficiency, and the poor relationship between colleagues. Overall results of the study indicate that teacher demotivation is a significant issue in Sri Lanka which needs the immediate attention of the country’s education policy designers and management.