Ensuring Student Motivation and Engagement in the Classroom
As a teacher myself, I am aware of the importance of ensuring my students are engaged in all their lessons and learning experiences. Students are more likely to participate fully in their learning if they are interested and/or motivated to be there. There are many reasons why students take EFL courses or classes and it is important for the teacher to understand what has brought them there. I believe that by knowing or finding out why students are in the class, we as teachers can gain an incredible insight into how best to engage them in their learning.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Shai S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Personal Teaching Approach
My teaching philosophy explores a strong belief in giving students access to a range of learning styles and opportunities to cater to each student’s individual learning needs. It is with these key ideas that I believe teachers will be able to ensure a high level of engagement in the classroom. We must also realize how important it is to understand that many of these factors are even more vital within an EFL classroom, where students are already typically quite shy and reserved. I am confident in the understanding that creating a safe learning environment where my students feel valued is a key factor in ensuring success in the classroom.
Multiple Intelligences Theory
We must reflect on our knowledge of each student and their specific learning needs to create lessons that are both engaging and effective. It is understood that everyone has a preferred way of learning and this can be determined according to a variety of characteristics. Referring to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (1983), students will each possess a particular set of characteristics that allows us as teachers to understand how they learn best. From these categories of characteristics, we can cater to students' preferred methods which can range from practical, analytical or creative styles. Differentiated instruction requires me to know my students well enough to cater to each of their specific learning needs and is an effective strategy in ensuring that all students get as much as possible out of every single lesson. We know that all students learn differently and at varying paces and we as educators need to ensure our teaching is on par with every single student and their needs. Student work and activities should be catered to individuals depending on the level of students and their abilities on the topic. Teachers should avoid introducing new topics too soon or giving the same set of activities for each lesson or every week so that students won’t be discouraged or unmotivated. As well as getting to know students learning needs, I believe it is just as important to learn about their interests and hobbies.
Ways to Engage
We know that appealing to student’s interests in the classroom can be an effective method in terms of creating engagement and therefore a successful learning environment. Teachers should be creating lessons using a variety of techniques and methods so students can remain focussed and willing to participate. It is important to change lesson structure and to use a variety of activities to keep student engagement high in every lesson. As well as using student’s interests as a way of creating engagement in the classroom, getting to know students on a fairly personal level will also contribute to their motivation and respect towards the teacher and subject. A teacher who has made an effort to get to know students, their lives, motivations, and interests will be better received by the students. It is vital to develop a positive rapport with students from the very beginning of a course or term to create mutual understanding and boundaries that will last throughout the course or year. Positive behavior and participation from students are likely to continue when they have a good relationship and respect for their teacher. Building this rapport can be easily done and will be beneficial for both classroom behavior and engagement in lessons.
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In conclusion, creating engagement in the classroom is dependent on a variety of factors and teachers need to be aware of these before beginning their course or teaching content. If teachers effectively use information from their students in regards to motivations, interests and learning needs alongside the use of appropriate material and resources, they will be able to successfully ensure ultimate engagement in their lessons and motivation from their students.
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