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Student Motivation In The Classroom ?You can do whatever you want as long
'You can do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it,' how many times have you heard this in your life' I am a strong believer in this statement, but find it to hold more truth stated as, 'you can do whatever you want, if you really want to do it.' Here, I am referring to motivation. And, as a teacher, this is an essential building block to your students' education. If your students do not want to learn, then they won't. As a teacher it is your duty to show students the importance of their education, and to keep them striving to do better. In the following pages I will discuss some methodologies I discovered for helping students find their motivation.
First of all, motivation is the key to all learning. And, lack of motivation is perhaps the biggest obstacle faced by teachers. The main idea of motivation is to capture the student's attention and curiosity and channel their energy towards learning. In my reading I have found that there are two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic(Lile). An intrinsically motivated student studies because they want to learn, they have interest in the material they are studying and it is rewarding for them. Unfortunately, this is not everyone. Extrinsically motivated students have other reasons. These students strive to succeed for rewards or to avoid punishment. They are doing it because they have to, not because they want to. A good teacher wants to help students find their reasons for learning, and show the students its importance. Secondly, I have found several approaches to helping students become intrinsically motivated. Proper instruction is necessary, especially in the ESL classroom. Your delivery and explanations should be clear and concise. Students may have difficulty even understanding directions, being that they are given in a foreign language. So, it is important that you explain directions as clearly and simple as possible. The lessons must be very simple, yet fun and interesting, with a lot of changes from a writing exercise, to a speaking, a listening, back to writing, and so on, all in the same class. This variety will keep students on their toes, you don't want to give them a chance to get bored. It is important to use material relevant to the students. Try to use vocabulary that the students can relate to and material they would find interesting(Lile). If you are having trouble finding what the students are interested, it may be a good idea to start off your classes with a questionnaire to learn more about your students. Furthermore, showing that you care about the students' education, and that their improvement is of primary importance to you, will help with student motivation(Harris). If a student sees that you care about their learning, they should reciprocate in caring about their learning as well. A teacher can be open with students and share personal feelings, ideas or experiences. This will create a relationship with the student, where you are approachable. You will not be looked at as solely an authority figure. All this contributes to creating a relaxing and comfortable working environment. Most importantly, I believe that the teachers' attitude is the best tool in motivating students. If your teacher does not seem excited about the subject matter, why should the students be. The teachers' attitude sets the tone for the class. A good teacher should be energetic in the classroom and create an environment, where their energy rubs off on the students. Have fun when you are teaching, and in return your students will have fun learning.
In conclusion, if a student does not see how something relates to their goals, they will not care about that thing (Motivation'). As a teacher, helping a student see the connection between their goals and their learning, can be a great motivator for students. There are all different types of students, and they all have different reasons for their motivation. But, the students motivation is as much the teachers responsibility as it is the students. As teachers, we need to be organized, clear, concise, and energetic. The main idea of motivation is to capture the student´s attention and curiosity, and in return this will channel their energy towards learning.
*MOTIVATION IN THE CLASSROOM http://www.engines4ed.org/hyperbook/nodes/NODE-62-pg.htm
*Some Ideas for Motivating Students Robert Harris Version Date: March 2, 1991 http://www.virtualsalt.com/motivate.htm
*Motivation in the ESL Classroom William T. Lile billylile [at] yahoo.com