Motivation in the Classroom. As a TEFL educator, I have been faced


As a TEFL educator, I have been faced with various challenges in the classroom. Of those that I have encountered, fostering motivation and interest in my students has been the most demanding. As Melissa Kelly states in her recent article on motivating students, '['] motivation is probably the most significant factor educators can target in order to improve learning.' During the time I have spent teaching English, I have realized this. Without motivation, a classroom is dead.

According to research findings, there are three significant factors that play into classromm

According to research findings, there are three significant factors that play into classroom and student motivation: control, competence and connection (Kelly). Kelly refers to these as 'students' needs', and emphasizes the importance of the teacher utilizing and creating of such an atmosphere. In fact, recent teaching methodologies focus on the teacher's role of facilitator (rather than dictator) as essential to student motivation in the classroom. Educational researcher, Barbara L. McCombs, places emphasis on this in her piece on classroom motivation: 'This understanding helps teachers realize that almost everything they do in the classroom has a motivational influence on students--either positive or negative. This includes the way information is presented, the kinds of activities teachers use, the ways teachers interact with students, the amount of choice and control given to students, and the opportunities for students to work alone or in groups. Students react to who teachers are, what they do, and how comfortable they feel in the classroom.' Although not original in idea, taking on the role of motivator is an often neglected, but essential, step for a teacher to foster engagement in the classroom.

As a facilitator of motivation, the teacher must both understand and respect his/her students' personal challenges. McCombs touches on this when she suggests that an educator should encourage 'students to challenge their beliefs, actions, and imagination by having them investigate and respond to issues relating to survival, quality of life, problem solving, and/or real products.' When a student enters a classroom, there are a variety of outside factors that play into his/her ability to become motivated in the classroom. If a teacher takes these influences into consideration and works with or around them, he/she can reach the student on a more raw and personal level. In doing so, negative issues of motivation will begin to subside, and will, in turn, play a more positive role in classroom activities or lessons.

Kelly, Melissa. The Art and Craft of Motivating Students. http://712educators.about.com/cs/motivation/a/motivation_p.htm McCombs, Barbara L. Understanding the Keys to Motivation to Learn. http://www.mcrel.org/PDFConversion/Noteworthy/Learners_Learning_School ing/barbaram.asp