Motivation as Energy for the Class
A simple definition of motivation can be, the reason why someone is doing something, for example, the reason to be in the class. Why are they taking this class? An adult student can be taking the class because her or his job requires. A young student can be taking the class because their parents are asking for or because it is a subject in school. If this is the case the young student will be not motivated to be in there and learn, this is when the teachers will look for the best way to motivate the student to learn and be present.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Micaela V. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is Motivation?
Giving a specific definition of motivation, I’ll quote Piaget, a Swedish psychologist, “motivation is the willingness to learn, understood as an interest of the person to absorb and learn everything related to their environment.”
Motivation is the key to a student's school success and is the driving force behind successful learning. For a student to be motivated, they need to have a positive attitude towards learning. Many factors affect a student's motivation to learn: their interest in the subject, their fear of failure, why the information is useful to them, a general desire to achieve, and self-confidence.
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Types of Motivation
When we talk about how to motivate the students, we need to think about 2 different motivations, intrinsic and extrinsic.
The main idea of motivation is to capture the person’s attention and curiosity to channel their energy towards learning. Intrinsic motivation is motivation from within the student. Intrinsically motivated student studies because he/she wants to study. The material is interesting, challenging, rewarding, and the student receives satisfaction from learning.
An extrinsically motivated student studies and learns for other reasons. The student performs to receive a reward; graduating, passing a test, getting a new shirt from mom, or to avoid a penalty like a failing grade.
When intrinsic motivation is low, or absent, extrinsic motivation must be used. Although extrinsic motivation can, and should, be used with intrinsically motivated students, too. If students aren't given a reward or credit for their efforts, and no feedback is given to the student, then most students' intrinsic motivation would begin to decrease.
How to Motivate?
There are many ways teachers can help their students to become intrinsically motivated. Know the students and their interests is helpful when the teacher prepares the lessons with the activities and the material, this must also be relevant to the students. Try to use vocabulary the student can relate to and material they find interesting.
Pair work or group work helps to motivate the students to participate, language is best learned through close collaboration among students. This type of collaboration results in benefits for all. Learners can help each other while working on different types of tasks such as writing dialogues, interviews, drawing pictures and making comments about them or play roles.
Using audio-visual material: the schools are equipped with various materials such as cassette recorders, videos, computers, projectors, magic boards, and many others. The teachers should use these materials and include the appropriate one while planning their lessons. For instance, they should include a cassette player in a lesson based on listening, include a computer in any e-lesson about designing a website or an internet page about your school.
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The Effects of Motivation
Motivation drives students; they look to teachers for approval and positive reinforcement. The teacher should encourage open communication and free thinking with the students to make them feel important. The teacher should be enthusiastic and praise the students often. Recognize them for their contributions. If the classroom is a friendly place where students feel heard and respected, they will be more eager to learn.
It is also important to get them involved. One way to encourage them, and teach them responsibility, is to involve them in the classroom. Make participating fun by giving each student a job. By giving the students the responsibility of something in the classroom, you empower them. For example, if you are going over reading in class, ask students to take turns reading sections aloud. Make students work in groups and assign each a task or role. Giving students a sense of ownership allows them to feel accomplished and encourages active participation in class.
Teachers must accompany students in the process of learning. They must be able to convey their passion and enthusiasm for what they do and be responsible for creating a positive emotional climate, which will favor the continuous acquisition of knowledge. Nonverbal language, for example, plays an important role in the transmission of emotional components.
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If a teacher can diversify, and meet students where they are, they will help foster a positive learning environment the most important thing: it’s not always what they teach, but what the students learn.
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