3 Things That Motivate Students and How You Can Apply Them To Your Teaching
As with any subject, a student’s motivation can affect their interest in the subject matter. English is no different, in fact, I believe that motivation is the key difference in students who continue to progress and improve in English and those who don’t and discontinue English in their future. Now, this is not to say that all students with low motivation do not pick up any English through their learning, nor does it mean that a student with motivation will find English learning to be easy. However, I believe that motivation plays a key role in ensuring that a student remains engaged with the English language and eventually progresses into fluency. I wouldd like to present ideas that can add to student’s motivation and improve their English learning experience.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Penniel H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
1. Understanding Learning Goals
First and foremost, I believe that to really ensure a student develops and maintains motivation with English they must be given a reason to as why they are learning English. In some cases, reasons for learning English can be tied down to wanting to better communicate with the people around you, and learn how to read and write to make life easier for oneself. However, in other situations, particularly in the case of English being taught as a foreign language, students might be coerced into learning English by their school, city, or government. In those situations, English learning is treated as a subject matter in which students with a lack of motivation show no interest in wanting to learn English and have no interest in participating in activities. They may feel that there is no need for English to be used since they don’t plan on traveling or being in a situation where they must learn English. In these cases, teaching English will come with problems and could also affect the learning of other students. For this reason, I believe that students must be given a reason as to why they are learning English. For young students, you can accomplish this by showing how fun English can be or how English can be or having them interact with children their age who speak English. Giving them a perspective of learning language as a form of fun playful engagement can build motivation since they will associate the learning of English to being able to play games and communicate with children near their age. For slightly older students, motivation can be derived showing movies, games, books, or youtube videos, memes, and etc. in English. In addition to seeing people of their age speaking English, showing that English gives one access to a larger world of entertainment may help build some motivation in students. This will also give them perspective on how English is used.
2. Understanding the Opportunities
Another key way to motivate the students is through showing the many different ways in which English can be used to benefit. For younger kids, they need a sense of accomplishment, so being able to play and easy game, sing songs, learn about animals or plants and read and understand basic stories in English can keep young learners of English engaged and entertained. Being able to use English in fun and creative ways to describe animals, to talk about food, or play games, and learn about people and places can be very engaging for kids who want to know more about the world around them. For students slightly older, while songs and games can be fun, they might need a more personal reason to be using English. In this case, showing video games, movies, YouTube videos, comic books, or other forms of entertainment can be more engaging to these students learning English. Older students need to know that English can be used to appeal to their desire to be entertained.
3. Learning With Pleasure
In addition to these points, Students need to be taught English in relevance to their interests. This is especially true of older students who can become easily bored and uninterested in English if they find the lessons to be pointless or not relevant to what they would like to learn. While younger kids can be entertained through songs, chants, and fun games. Older students might find these types of activities to be condescending or cringe-worthy. However, making use of multimedia entertainment showing things like, English pop idols, video games in English, movies, comics, and YouTube videos that maintain relevance to a topic they are learning, can ensure that they remain motivated while learning English. The activities must also allow them to be seriously engaged and allow creative freedom in how they want to use the language. Skits, making a group video or finding songs that they like in English are all ways that can effectively engage the students and allow them to feel comfortable and in control how their learning process. In other words, older young learners of English, need to know that English can fit within their own personal interests.
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While motivation in kids is not an easy task, it should be always taking into consideration. There are times where no matter what one does, a few students will still feel unmotivated to learn English. This can derive from the students own personal experience with the language or a matter of not having found their purpose for learning English yet. In any case, one must always try to ensure that students know why they are learning English, what English can be used for, and how it fits within their own desires. By doing so, one can effectively engage students with English and help ensure their process of learning English either as a second language or as a foreign language remains interesting.
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