A Teacher’s Role in The Development of Student Motivation
Although it is important that a teacher maintains the students' motivation throughout the course, the initial stages are particularly important because they lay the foundation for the course. For example, if a strong motivational atmosphere is not initially established then he/she will have more difficulty motivating them when correction is needed in the later stages. If a strong motivational foundation is laid then the students' will understand that the teacher has their best interests at heart and is trying to help them as best as he/she can.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ann R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
A teacher's ability to motivate his/her students' is one of the key, foundational elements of being a successful teacher. Motivation is such an integral, core component of teaching because it is what the foundation of teaching is laid upon because the teacher is the one who sets the stage, therefore the first aspect of proper motivation is establishing a good rapport with the students'.
Even if they have already learned some English, my classroom will still be a new experience for them, therefore they do not know what to expect and if a strong rapport is established it will reduce or expel the anxiety that they may be experiencing. This is essential because a fearful student cannot possibly be properly motivated.
Teacher’s Interest and Love
Next, the teacher, herself has to be motivated to optimally motivate her students'. By this, I mean that two of the characteristics of a good teacher are kindness and patience. If the teacher is not motivated to perform his/her job then these other qualities will also not be able to be demonstrated. For example, if he/she does not love his/her teacher role then the students' will be able to quickly ascertain this by his/her body language and that they are just going through the motions because they can sense that they are not happy.
The videos in Units 10 and 11 eleven clearly demonstrate this because the teacher's happy, positive attitude coupled with his proper preparation made a world of difference in how he was perceived by his students, and as a result, their expressions in the first video were changed from confused to happy and receptive in the second video. Also, to add insult to injury, they could not possibly have been motivated in the first video because he did not engage them, but instead went right into the lesson.
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Therefore, successful engagement is the next aspect of properly motivating the students'. It is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that he/she has chosen a material that will interest them, which in turn, will motivate them. The level of the material is important because if the material is too difficult that will discourage them and squelch their motivation and if it is far below their level then it will serve to insult them and will be a distraction instead of a motivator too. For example, I will use business students as an example, keeping it simple with non-authentic material that they will need to know for their jobs will hold their interest because it serves to inform them and that is why they are seeking to learn English. As far as specific examples are concerned, using visuals such as office equipment and business tools that are familiar to them. This will make them feel at ease because they are familiar things to them and needful to know and will therefore easily spark discussion because the teacher elicits how they use them and why they are important.
Unfortunately, some business learners must attend class to maintain their employment, so their stress level will be very high, therefore the teacher must make them feel at ease by properly motivating them. Although reinforcing that they will be able to successfully learn the language by practicing holds true for all learners', this will be especially critical for them. Also, being kind and encouraging are key motivational teacher attributes. This is why over correcting will not serve to motivate any student group especially those who are under great pressure to perform well in the course.
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All in all, from the initial meeting of the student, are to the last class, motivation is key at every level, but establishing it upfront will serve to maintain high motivation throughout the course.
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