Teach English in JinshAn Zhen - Lianyungang Shi

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Jenn Cashman ITTT Course Topic 47: Motivation in the classroom February 10, 2020 How to Motivate Students in the Classroom While many students will anticipate the excitement of a new class with foreign English teachers, the excitement and newness will wear off over time, and it is the teacher’s responsibility to keep their minds active and engaged. In any kind of classroom, no matter how skilled, gifted, or trained the teacher, the students can only learn as much as they are willing. This is no different in an ESL class. There are also multiple factors to consider in the classroom as far as holding their attention. While young learners will need to be entertained, adult learners will bring their own motivation when coming to class. This paper will discuss the various ways to motivate both older and younger learners as well as examples and barriers in the classroom. When teaching students, there are multiple factors to consider. The first being culture. Different cultures have different teaching techniques and styles. A classroom in South east Asia will have a different setup than that of a Western realm. To capture student’s interest, it could be important to consider the religion or political status of the nation to avoid inappropriate study topics or techniques. Observing a classroom in their specific cultural setting and adjusting the material and lesson in a way that learning English can fit into, will inspire them that English can help them in their everyday life. Establishing a respectful authoritative position is also important to motivate the students. It is difficult to motivate and inspire students to learn after losing their respect. With this in mind, it is important for teachers to learn ways to build rapport with the students. After earning students respect, it takes the teacher down from simply being an authoritative figure, to being an actual person, that wants to engage with them relationally. When the teacher seeks to build relationship with the students and thoroughly is passionate and enjoys teaching in the classroom, that passion is contagious that the students will find themselves learning and engaged without obvious effort. It also ‘breaks the ice’ so to speak, allowing the students to feel more comfortable. When the students are comfortable, they will ask frequent questions and volunteer more, enabling deeper and more activated learning to take place. There are various aspects to consider with different age groups. When teaching young learners, they are often there not out of their own will, but their parents or caretakers. The positive side is that young age groups are easily fascinated and entertained. Like anything to learn, the younger the age, the more excited they are to learn. Their brains are growing and developing at rapid paces, making it easier and for them to absorb new information that they will readily ask for. Children’s bodies are also continuing to grow with their brains, and with that requires movement. This movement could vary depending on age. For children around five to seven years, this could include changing teaching technique every twenty to thirty minutes. The course put the lessons into various ESA guides. This stands for: Engage, Study, Activate. An example of an ESA lesson plan for a young learners class could be the following: Engage: Students enter the classroom to find various pictures of items and places drawn on the board. They are told to match places with the items that would belong there and then come to carpet area and sit in a circle to discuss which is which. This gets the children thinking and speaking in English. For a first day of class, it might be helpful for the teacher to begin class at the carpet and play some sort of ‘toss the ball’ game to let students get familiar with their teacher and learn about him or her. This also establishes rapport. Study: After the engage phase, students will then return to their seats while the teacher will write and speak vocabulary to them. The students could go over flashcards with the teacher and there could then be a worksheet they will go over to test if they’ve mastered that area. Activate: The teacher will then lead them into an activity where they can test their speaking ability. This could be a game, a ‘find a partner’ activity, or a skit they have to act out. As long as it increases student talk time, it will help. Precautions with younger age groups is for the teacher to give them freedom to speak, but also maintain control and classroom management. Children should enjoy the lesson, but also learn. Teaching in chaos is challenging and disrupts the education of the entire class. As children are younger, they are more likely to have outbursts of behavior that can be corrected depending on age. When children know their boundaries and what to expect, as well as being able to engage in a fun lesson, it will produce a motivational atmosphere. Though children tend to need extra motivation to learn, they are also easily enthused. While adults may have their own motivation powered by their own career plans to be in the classroom, they can easily check out, prohibiting their education as well. The best way for any student to learn is a passionate teacher and an engaging lesson plan. Adults want to know that what they’re learning, they can use in real-life circumstances and also want to track and apply their progress. An ESA lesson for adult learners could include: Engage: Students enter classroom to a short video play, where the teacher will ask follow-up questions. Study: Teacher will write specific vocabulary and give conversational English examples for students to follow, that could be followed by a worksheet. Activate: Students will pair up, teacher involved, in asking questions and conversing in the subject taught completely in English. In conclusion, there are various factors to consider when teaching English to keep students engaged. Teachers should be aware of culture, how to establish rapport, but one of the keys to notice is age group. This will dictate the manner of the lesson plan as well as how often to switch up the lesson and material. Whether old or young, the fundamental aspect of motivating students to learn is an engaged lesson plan and a passionate teacher. The teacher can create games based off their level of learning as well as engage him/herself in the activate phase to inspire students. Whatever the method, is the teachers responsibility to ensure their learning progresses.