The article discusses the issues of teaching a foreign language through the prism of the complex motivation principle. The motives of students at the initial stage of training in mastering a foreign language are analyzed. Some possibilities of using the complex motivation principle are given. Observations of students’ activities as well as their survey are presented. A classification of students’ motives based on their answers is proposed. Based on the results of observations of students’ educational activities, as well as their motives, recommendations on the organization of educational activities of teachers using the complex motivation principle are put forward. For the optimal use of the complex motivation principle, the teacher’s actions are described. Among them: to find out the goals, motives and needs of students, to form their intellectual need for knowledge, to take into account the degree of interest and responsibility of students and to correlate the possibilities of various linguodidactic means with the motivational sphere of students. A number of games aimed at the formation of lexical skills and the development of speaking skills, bearing in mind the various motives laid down in the essence of these games, assuming that the game is the leading type of activity are proposed. Method of research. The research is based on methods of collecting information, namely, monitoring the pedagogical process, analysis of scientific literature on the topic, the method of expert judges, a survey. The results of the study were subjected to qualitative analysis and experimental verification. The results of the study proved the effectiveness of the proposed classification of motives for optimizing the educational process of teaching English. After using motivational tasks, the overall level of students' learning, interest and motivation to learn, and the ease and accuracy of performing speech actions increased.