Teach English in Chenliang Zhen - Yancheng Shi

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Motivation is a variable that stimulates students to maintain their passion and keep working towards their goal. According to Richard Ryan and Deci in "Self- Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being": “People are moved to act by very different types of factors, with highly varied experiences and consequences” (69). These factors are classified into two main categories: internal and external sources of motivation. This paper argues that teachers could control the factors that belong to both the internal and external sources of motivation, and they have the ability to employ both sources to boost students' motivation by defeating disinterest, boosting self-confidence, and adjusting the evaluation system to the purpose of learning. Internal sources of motivation stem from the student and his/her curiosity and interest to learn. Thus, this source of motivation is mostly controlled by the student. This paper discusses three examples of internal sources. Firstly, A student may not have an interest in languages but is obliged to take a TEFL course to apply for college or get a promotion at work. Secondly, the student is a lazy person who does not like to do work or participate in class. Thirdly, a student comes to the classroom with a shaped personality that is formed from a young age by the family, genetics, other reasons: a shy student, for instance, with low self-confidence that causes him/her to feel left out in the classroom. Although not as much as internal sources, some external sources of motivation are controlled by students, such as grades and achievements. Students’ reaction to grades is linked with their self-confidence. Students with high self-confidence care less about grades, and they do not attribute their unsatisfactory grades to their lack of learning ability. They would attribute their grade to external factors such as lack of concentration or difficulty of the test. These students would not let failure in exams prevent them from achieving their goal of learning as opposed to students with low self-confidence who attribute failure to their disability of learning. However, repeated failure could have a negative impact and shake students’ confidence regardless of their confidence level. This would lead them to lose the motivation to keep practicing and progressing. Some internal factors could be uncontrollable such as shyness which could be caused by genetics, students’ environment, or student’s reason for learning a specific topic. However, teachers could use these factors for students' advantage. This can be done by researching these internal factors and creating a lesson plan while considering the factors rather than overlooking them. Students could be shy: this causes them to avoid talking during the lesson. This could delay learning progress for these students, thus, teachers should follow a strategy to encourage shy students to participate and be comfortable when talking in class without calling them out or pressuring them. If students are lazy because of loss of interest, teachers can find a fun way to challenge these students and encourage curiosity by a competitive and challenging activity or competition. Teachers could collect information about students and design activities that could be intriguing for them. Also, a teacher's personality affects the classroom atmosphere. To encourage students to participate, enjoy and be interested, the teacher needs to be energetic, and bubbly. This is demonstrated by the voice, the tone, body language, etc.. Students could notice teachers' passion for their job or their misery. This affects students' passion and interest which is linked with motivation. As well as internal sources, external sources could be used for students’ advantage. Students’ evaluation system should be modified to agree with the teacher's morals. Teachers should set class morals that focus on the outcome or the goal which is to speak English in the case of beginners in an EFL course. The example mentioned above demonstrates the substantial effect of unsatisfactory grades on the motivation of students. Therefore, teachers should adopt a grading system that focuses more on measuring students’ progress and less on grades. This could be done by choosing to circle or underlining mistakes without giving grades, and teachers can ask students to meet them to discuss these mistakes and correct them together. If teachers correct mistakes on exams, the students will overlook them, but if the teacher chooses to highlight the mistakes without correcting them, the teacher will challenge students and increase their curiosity to try and correct their mistakes by themselves. This is an effective way for students to benefit from exams: they can learn from their mistakes instead of worrying about their grades. Getting rid of the pressure and anxiety over grades may increase students' motivation for learning. They may, as well, conclude that exams are a tool to help them make progress. In short, motivation is a changeable factor that is dependent on factors that could be controlled and used for teacher and student’s favor. This could be done if the teacher designs lessons while considering the internal factors that are dependent on his/her students, and the external factors that are mostly stable. Word Count: 839 Work Cited: Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci. "Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being." American psychologist 55.1 (2000): 68.