Teach English in Qizhou Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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One of the biggest problems teachers may have in the classroom is the students’ motivation to learn. Even if students are presented with the most interesting books, the most prepared lesson plans or the most elaborate materials, if they are not motivated to learn, they won’t give their best and work hard in the classroom. Well, what is motivation anyway? Oxford dictionary defines motivation as “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” In other words, it is the factor that drives a student to participate and do his best in the classroom with enthusiasm, and the initiative to succeed in a task. There are two kinds of motivation. The first form of motivation is the intrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is the behavior where one does a task because he has an internal desire to succeed or fulfill a task simply because he feels a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. It arises from a sense of internal reward where the individual thinks the task is fun or enjoyable, and that the goals of the individual are merely to satisfy a basic psychological need of feeling competent and having a sense of autonomy. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is the behavior where one fulfills a task because there is the promise of external factors, such as awards, praise or points, and the individual’s goals are mainly focused on reaping these rewards. In the classroom, motivation, whether internal or external, is the key factor in getting the students to succeed in the different phases of learning, and it is the teacher’s task to find ways to motivate the students. But this is easier said than done as the classroom is full of students who are motivated in different ways, and it would take a lot of time and effort to know how to motivate them to become enthusiastic and lively learners who want to excel in their daily tasks. Even the most experienced teacher would find this undertaking quite challenging at times, let alone the inexperienced teachers. So whether you are a new or an experienced teacher, try using one of these useful tips on motivating your students to learn. 1.Be a role-model. You, the teacher, must become the model of enthusiasm and energy in the classroom. Convey your lesson with as much passion and excitement as you would want your students to have. When you deliver your lessons in this manner, you channel the same passion and enthusiasm to your students and motivate them to become as enthusiastic as you are. Be their inspiration not only in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. Students want to listen to and follow a teacher whom they see as successes. These successes may come in the form of receiving a teaching award, being a volunteer at a soup kitchen, or even finishing a 10k marathon. Whatever the success is, you should know that your students will be motivated to be better because of who you are as a teacher. 2. Foster a “can-do” frame of mind in the classroom. A “can-do” frame of mind is the idea that one can develop and achieve the skills and talent to succeed in a task put before him through hard work and dedication. You can foster this way of thinking by praising your students for their efforts and hard work. This form of feedback promotes in the students the idea that they are in control of their success and that if they work hard enough, they have the power to improve academically. 3. Give definite objectives and set high expectations. Students get quite frustrated in the classroom when they don’t have any definite reasons for them to fulfill a task or even behave in class. They need to know what is expected of them in order for them to work to achieve these expectations. Giving definite objectives and setting high expectations while fully supporting your students to work harder pushes the students to strive harder to meet these expectations. Posting daily learning targets that are written in a positive “I can…” statement give the students a reason to learn and achieve something. 4. Create the idea of a sense of control. While you are in charge of managing the classroom and creating the lessons, students should be allowed to feel a sense of freedom where they have the liberty to choose their fate. This motivates them to work harder to achieve their goals and succeed. One way would be to allow them to choose their own topic to present or how they would present it, or to choose the type of assignment they would have to do. You could provide the choices or you could just allow them to choose on their own. Either way, you give them not only a sense of freedom to fulfill their goals, but also the responsibility to fulfill these goals because it was their choice. 5. Offer different kinds of learning experiences. Students have many different kinds of learning styles. Not everybody fits into a box where one type of lesson motivates them to participate and learn. Provide your students with different experiences to touch on each one’s needs and preferences. Mix up your lesson so that it would be a hands on experience at one time, group work at another, quiet reading or even using the arts at other times. By mixing up your lessons and style of teaching, you are providing your students with varied learning experiences that will motivate your students and keep them engaged. Sources: Santos-Longhurst, A 11 February 2019, Intrinsic Motivation: How to Pick Up Healthy Motivation Techniques, Healthline, accessed 12 August 2019, < https://www.healthline.com/health/intrinsic-motivation>. Teach Thought Staff 31 October 2017, 21 Ideas to Improve Student Motivation, Teach Thought, accessed 12 August 2019, < https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/21-simple-ideas-to-improve-student-motivatio/>. Vanderbilt University n.d., Motivating Students, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, accessed 12 August 2019, . Wilcox, L 4 June 2018, Top 5 Strategies for Motivating Students, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, accessed 12 August 2019, .