How to Keep Beginner Students Motivated Avoiding Their Native Language?
How to maintain motivation and communicate instructions with beginner students, whilst avoiding their native language is definitely a difficult thing for teachers. First, we’ll discuss how to motivate beginner students of the English language. Second, we’ll see how to communicate instructions in a new or foreign language and the benefits of using the language you are teaching over the students’ native language(s).
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mitchell R.
How to motivate beginner students of the English language
There are a number of strategies that the teacher can use to motivate beginner students of English. Some effective strategies for boosting and maintaining student motivation in additional or foreign language classroom are the use of materials that are at the correct level of student ability, materials that are culturally and age-appropriate, providing regular and genuine positive feedback, not correcting every mistake initially, keeping everything simple, and making classes an enjoyable experience for the students (International TEFL and TESOL Training, n.d.). When deciding upon which strategy to utilize in the classroom, the teacher must consider the students’ needs and reasons for learning English. If the students have brought intrinsic to the classroom because they have a strong desire to learn the language, they will require less motivating from the teacher, however, if the students are learning English due to reasons outside of their control, they may require one or more of these strategies to build their desire to learn.
How to communicate instructions in a new or foreign language
When attempting to communicate instructions with beginner students in a new or foreign language, you must be sure to keep your instructions clear and, more importantly, simple (Brand, 2017). An important thing to remember is that you should be using a few short and simple instructions repeatedly until the students are relatively comfortable in understanding and then acting upon the instructions you have given them. Only at this point should you slowly introduce a higher number of instructions for use within the classroom, or build upon those the students already know to make them slightly more complex. You may also use hand and body gestures or other visual aids to assist you the first few times that you provide a new instruction or command. This should help students to gauge what it is that you require from them. When you believe that the students have a grasp on what each instruction is asking them to do, begin phasing out the visual aids so that the students focus on listening to the language and understanding the word(s) rather than focusing on actions or pictures.
Benefits of using the language you are teaching over the students’ native language(s)
Coming into a new classroom or beginning a language course, sitting down and then hearing the teacher start talking in a language that you know absolutely nothing about would be daunting and potentially off-putting for most people, so what are the benefits to using the language that you are teaching over the students’ native language? Research shows that the more immersed a person is in a language, the quicker they gain knowledge of the language (Fortune, 2012). Using close to one hundred percent of English would force students to learn and use English to be able to participate in the day to day classroom activities. Students will be provided with natural and authentic native English being spoken on a very regular basis, which will allow them to get a feel for the pace, pronunciations, and mannerisms of English directly from a credible source. In contrast, if students are provided with the option of using their native language, they will often, if not always, revert back to their native language whenever it is possible, but particularly when asking questions and when seeking clarity of instruction. This then minimizes exposure, practice, and authentic listening comprehension opportunities for students.
Are you ready to teach English abroad?
A wide range of strategies is necessary for creating and maintaining student motivation, dependent on the individual circumstances of each student. Instructions need to kept simple and repeated often and may be accompanied by visual aids or gesture until students are comfortable with each instruction. Using predominantly the language that you are teaching will be slightly more challenging for both teacher and students initially (in regard to teaching beginner students), however, will ultimately provide greater benefit for students in both the short and long term.
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