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As teachers of English we face many challenges, but I believe that one of our hardest challenges is keeping our young learners motivated, and not just during the class but throughout the whole course. Today I am going to look at what motivation is, how it affects learning and some ideas on how to motivate young learners of English. The Cambridge Dictionary describes motivation as “enthusiasm for doing something, the need or reason for doing something and willingness to do something”. Motivation is one of the most important factors that influence the success in language learning. A motivated student has a greater chance of success than a student without motivation. Motivation has several effects on students learning and behavior. Firstly it leads to increased effort and energy, students who are motivated will be hungry to learn the new language, and will put in more effort to do so. Secondly motivation enhances cognitive processing. It actually affects what and how information is processed because motivated students are more likely to pay attention and try to understand the material instead of simply going through the motions of learning in a superficial manner. So how do we motivate young learners of English? Adult learners will usually have made their own decision to attend classes, i.e. travel,career etc, and as such will be quite motivated. Young learners however have rarely made that decision for themselves and maybe somewhat lacking in motivation. Firstly as teachers we need to be motivated. A motivated teacher is more likely to have motivated successful students who will enjoy learning. You need to have passion and enjoy teaching, as passion and enjoyment are great motivators. You need to continue learning yourself - up-skilling, researching new activities and teaching methods. Keep up with the latest teaching trends and refresh your games and activities. If you enjoy the activities and games you play with your students, as their role model they will see your enthusiasm and are more likely to enjoy the activities as well. Young learners have heaps of energy, so what better way to use that energy to your benefit and keep them engaged throughout the lesson than by playing games. Children learn through play. Often they don't even realise they are learning if they are enjoying the game. Children could sit and fill out worksheet after worksheet or they could play an English game and learn the same concept. For example if you are learning clothing vocabulary, you could have two piles of clothes at one end of the classroom and split the class into two teams. Each team is given a flash card with the name of an item of clothing and one person from each team races to the the pile of clothes and finds the correct item of clothing, puts it on and then races back to their team. If they have matched the name on the flash card to the item of clothing they have put on they get a point. When you play games you can use points and competition as a motivator as well. Another great motivator is getting the kids hands dirty, both literally and figuratively. Children like to work with their hands and whatever you can do to get the items they are learning about in their hands is useful and fun for them. This can be anything from having a sensory table filled with sand and beach items when you want to teach them summer vocabulary to having them each bring a piece of fruit when you are teaching fruit vocabulary. Anytime you can get young learners up and doing instead of listening, you are getting their hands dirty in the learning process. Lastly, encouragement. Young learners thrive on praise and positive attention from the adults in their lives. If you want them to like you and be motivated in your class, you often just need to give them a lot of positive attention. Make sure your students know they are doing a great job and continually assure them that you are harboring a safe and positive environment for them to explore the English language. So in conclusion I think that motivating young learners in the classroom is by far one of a teachers most important and challenging roles. As educators we can do many things to create a classroom environment that motivates students to learn and behave in ways that promote their long term success. Remember a motivated teacher is more likely to have motivated and successful students who will enjoy learning.