Motivating Students Keeping students involved and


Keeping students involved and interested with class activities is an essential skill that EFL teachers need to work on continuously improving. The task of motivating students can become a tedious amongst new and even seasoned teachers alike. Thus, some questions can be assessed in order to uncover and resolve motivational shortcomings. First, how long has the student been studying the language' Second, is the teacher consistently changing the lesson structure'' Third, 'what can I do, as a teacher to extrinsically or intrinsically motivate the students to participate'' Granted, there are many more areas to discuss when it comes to motivation. However, for word limit purposes, I will only focus on these three areas.

Consider the first question, 'how long has the student been studying the language'' If the student has been studying for many years, he or she may hit a motivational plateau Once a student gets to a certain level of their studies, they need challenging material, which is stimulating and does not follow the same lesson structure as their previous studies. The problem arises when a student feels that he or she already knows everything they need to know. They are already 'basic' effective communicators, yet they lack some grammatical writing skills and cannot talk about in depth topics, which involve critical thinking. These students do not fully understand the purpose of divulging themselves deeper into these realms in depth communication skills. Because of this, it is important for the teacher to bring these students material, which is of interest to them. Find out their hobbies, what they enjoy talking about in their native language, etc. in order to create topics that can bring these motivationally challenged students back to the learning board.

Now, consider the second question, 'is the teacher constantly changing the lesson structure'' If the teacher structures every class in the same manner, uses the same games, and similar supplementary materials for every lesson, the students are going to become bored! Keeping students inclined to learn and interested in the subject matter cannot occur when the lessons are monotonous. How do we, as teachers, avoid this' By using each of the ESA teaching methods periodically, of course! If the teacher uses a different lesson structures with different types of class activities for each successive lesson, the students are likely to not feel they are participating in a boring routine. Thus, the teacher should strive to vary their lessons and keep from teaching in the same manner every class.

Lastly, let us discuss the last question, 'what can I do, as a teacher to extrinsically or intrinsically motivate the students to participate'' One approach to this is a rewards system. For young learners a good method is to use a monthly point system. This method might entail giving the student a sticker for participating in class, not speaking their native language where not appropriate, and not having any disciplinary problems. This is done for every lesson. At the end of the month, the students count their stickers and if the student has met the teacher's benchmark, they are rewarded a special price. This could be ice cream, candy, a special game day, or anything that the teacher deems to be appropriate. Another method that can be used with any age learner is to use praise. When students do well, the teacher should compliment the student for a job well done. These words of encouragement go a long way and can help the student feel accomplished and strive to do better. However, it is important to note that praise should not be handed out carelessly. Only give praise where it is deserved because if it is not, the praise will lose its value.

Motivating students does not have to be a difficult task if the teacher pays attention to the student's needs. By being sensitive to the students, understanding where they are in their language studies, and monitoring our own methods of teaching we, as EFL teachers can effectively keep our students motivated and guide them into the many joys and benefits of speaking English.