TEFL Motivating Students

Motivation ? ?a feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes somebody want to do something that causes such a feeling? Encarta Dictionary: English

Student motivation is required in the classroom for obvious reasons ? they have to feel that they want to learn to help with the learning process.

Different students will be motivated in different ways. Some students are naturally very enthusiastic and have the will to learn and gain information whereas others may need a bit of help from the teacher. Different age groups will quite often have different motivation needs:

-The young learner is not often in an English class from their own choice and therefore is not that willing to learn the language so lacks in motivation.

-The teenage learner once again might not have made the decision to learn the language and would rather be out with friends or doing some other activity. They might on the other hand realize the advantage of learning English so there could be some motivation there. -Adult learners will most likely have made the decision by themselves so should be pretty well motivated and if they have not made the decision for themselves (perhaps a company course they must attend) they will see the advantages of learning English.

No matter what level of motivation a student has before they enter the classroom, it is up to the teacher to increase their levels so that the class works well and all students learn well and willingly.

Motivation can be achieved by:

-Making the class environment a fun and interesting experience. The teacher could incorporate word games, team games, the students bringing in objects to talk about, using different items of equipment (DVD, video recorder etc.)

-The teacher could liven up the classroom itself by hanging posters, pictures, the students own work or ideas on the walls and changing these each week or month.

-The seating arrangements could be changed at the end of each month so students have new partners.

-The teacher must learn a bit about his/her students and what they like and dislike and what their hobbies and interests are and can therefore create activities and worksheets that will interest them. This also shows the students that the teacher cares about what they like/dislike and could cause them to have more respect for their teacher and will want to work hard for him/her.

-Care must be taken with the level of English being taught compared with the level of English the students are at because if the students find it too easy they will get bored or if the work is too difficult it could frustrate them and put them off learning.

-Praise and feedback should be given often to encourage the students in their work.

-The teacher should make sure he/she is enthusiastic with the students, showing a genuine interest in them and has an organized, well structured course prepared.

-The teacher should respect classroom rules also such as by arriving on time as they expect the students to do or by handing back marked work on time as they expect the student to hand their work in on time. This shows respect for the students therefore helping with motivation once again.

High levels of motivation are advantageous to everyone because the classroom atmosphere will be positive and fun. I think that happy, motivated students are able to learn more and easier than unmotivated students. Highly motivated students in the classroom might help motivate others with their enthusiasm. If the teacher has accomplished the art of motivating a class, I think they will also enjoy teaching it more. I think it?s a bit of a vicious circle: unmotivated students = learning problems = unhappy, disappointed teacher = unmotivated students whereas motivated students = ease in learning = happy teacher = motivated students.



- International TEFL Teacher Training course

Author: Nicola Hutchinson

Date of post: 2007-04-11