Motivating Students We both strongly believe that
We both strongly believe that motivating EFL students is one of the most important ingredients to successfully teaching English to foreign language students. The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines motivation as factors within a human being or other animal which arouse & direct goal orientated behaviour. Our research article is presented from an EFL teacher's standpoint.
We believe all humans have the same ability to achieve success, but the one big difference that affects the degree of success is an individuals belief in themselves. This is the first key to motivation. The subconscious mind is one of the most powerful instruments in the universe. It can not tell the difference between fact & fiction. It will believe anything you or anyone else tells it. Your brain is designed to learn & will search for answers when a question is asked. The quality of the questions you ask your students is therefore, very important. You must ask students positive questions for which your students will use their brain to seek positive answers. The teacher 's number one motive should be to help every student to feel good about him /herself. This should include affirmations, acknowledgement of success, praise, positive feedback, & the use of teamwork. To quote Nelson Mandela ' Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.'
The second key to motivation is to recognize the factors that will motivate our students. A class discussion with our students about their motivation for learning English can be most enlightening. .Some motives are as follows; academic advancement leading to better career prospects, wanting to learn English so they can work & live in an English speaking country, a need to learn social English to better communicate with friends or perhaps they could be motivated by a desire to learn. Some students may be in your class because they had no option or their parents are making them, whatever their motives, knowing & understanding them will help the teacher.
The third key aspect in keeping students motivated is for the teacher & students to understand the role of mistakes in learning. Rather than being discouraged by errors, students should be taught to learn from their mistakes. To quote R. Buckminster Fuller ' The reason I know so much is because, I have made so many mistakes. ' It's not what you know that is important ,it's what you don't know. Only when you find out something you don't know, will you gain knowledge. Learning is a simple process of making mistakes, finding out what you don't know & correcting it. In the classroom mistakes should be discussed with your students & pointed out they are useful to learning. We prefer to think of mistakes as 'learning experiences.' To quote George Bernard Shaw, ' A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.'
The fourth key to motivation is to help your students set goals. Students require clear, well defined, meaningful goals that they set & strive towards, as well as a positive belief about themselves. The latter is crucial for motivation & success. The goals we help our students set need to be 'SMARTER, ' i.e specific, measureable, achieveable, realistic, have a timeframe, exciting & recordable. Within these goals we would have smaller sub goals which would be stepping stones to the main goals. These help maintain motivation as small success leads to big success. If we are able to do this correctly, we will keep our students motivated & develop a real desire to learn.
The fifth key to motivation is that of rewards. Teachers understanding of motivation has changed. Stickers, stamps, stars' may no longer make sense compared with the alternatives. Neuroscientists have found that the brain makes its own rewards. They are called opiates, which are used to regulate stress & pain. The reward center is based in the brain center. The pleasure producing system lets you enjoy behaviour like affection, sex, entertainment or achievement. The brain says 'that was good' lets remember that & do it again. Students who succeed usually feel good & that's reward enough for most of them. The teacher should reinforce things the students have done well & help motivate them to achieve further successes.
Motivation has an extremely important role to play in the classroom, especially when teaching foreign students to learn English. Resources- 1 www.braineythoughts.com 2 www.davesslcafe.com 3 TEFL course units 4 Creating an Effective Learning Environment by Karen Boyes 5 The Encyclopaedia Britannica.