Motivating students Motivating students is an essential

Motivating students is an essential matter when teaching: a skilled learner cannot progress without motivation whereas a strong motivation will compensate a student’s weak skills. Indeed, motivation is what justifies learners’ efforts to convert their skills into full attention, work production and skills’ improvement.


a)Attention and active participation

Entertainment is the basic way to generate motivation. Hence, students should enjoy the lessons:

-To motivate their attention, the course should be very lively and materials and topics should stimulate learners’ curiosity, centres of interest, feelings or opinions.

-To motivate their active participation, the teacher must create or maintain fun and creative interactions and communication with and between students.


Motivation is also a personal purpose that encourages students. It may be suggested by the teacher:

-Students may improve their school results or pass some particular exams thanks to English.

-English would enable some to obtain a contract or a promotion, find a job in international business, tourism, IT ...

-Others may have to travel or relocate abroad, which makes English speaking compulsory.

-Some may be interested in Anglophone culture and could to get a more in-depth and direct knowledge.

-Students may have to speak with English speaking people, whether at work or with friends.

-While surfing the web, a good command of English is useful as many web sites are Anglophone or only translated in English. Besides, a lot of Internet forums are English speaking. Some learners may even want to create their own international sites.

c)Keep it up

Whatever the motivation is, the teacher must always keep it up by backing up students’ self-confidence. Indeed, they will disengage themselves if they think they are not skilled enough, and they might lose their motivation if they think they won’t progress. Then, the teacher must encourage them and congratulate them for their efforts and progress.

To avoid disengagement, the course level should also be convenient to that of the class and relevant topics would refer to students’ purposes.


The previous considerations are balanced differently, depending on students, and especially on their age:


They learn very easily and have much energy to express. It has to be canalised by any activity. Even though they don’t especially need any particular purpose, the sinequanon condition is that they enjoy the activity, unless they’ll quickly disengage themselves.

As a result, the matter of the English teacher is to make the course lively and entertaining so that children are motivated by the lesson itself.

b)Young learners

At puberty, learners’ social identity is emerging. They start to build and express their own opinions. This expression often results in excessive reactions: they invest all their energy in their centres of interest and completely ban the rest, especially when it is imposed upon them.

The matter is to avoid the latter happening with English learning so the teacher must justify their efforts by showing them what they can do with English. Thus, the teacher will suggest purposes, hence instigating motivations. It would be clever to make a good use of their personal construction by choosing topics and materials relating to their centres of interest (music, movies, sport…).

c)Adult learners

In most of the cases, adult learners have chosen to study English. They are already motivated by a firm purpose, especially individual learners. They also want to be efficient fast.

The task of the teacher is to keep their motivation up then the lesson’s topics and materials should especially illustrate the purpose. Notably, authentic materials will be greatly appreciated. The progress of the lesson and regular feedbacks should also show that the learner is heading for the objective.

In conclusion, motivating students is a complex matter, which involves various means, depending on learners.