Motivation as the Core of Students' Learning Process
All students from around the world have various ways of feeling inspired and motivated within the classroom. Examples of reasons in which students may feel unmotivated can be from lack of interest in learning the English language, uninteresting or 'boring' classwork given from the teacher or overcoming difficulties that the student may be coming across whilst learning the language. All of these aspects are possibilities of ways in which students can feel unmotivated to learn English and I am going to explain how we as teachers, can control this issue and help each learner within the classroom.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Chelsea L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Downsides of the Learning Process
Learning a new language can be daunting for anyone and finding ways to feel inspired by something you don't understand is a task within itself. Many students who participate in English language classes have been told that they have to attend them from their parents or have to work in a certain workplace. These reasons can then leave the individuals feeling unmotivated when they come across difficulties within the classes. As a teacher, we must recognize these issues and help find ways to overcome the lack of interest in the students.
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How Can Teachers Help?
Ways of helping students feel more driven in classes are to never make them feel like they're wrong by correcting them all the time and instead give out positive reinforcement and acknowledge the work that the student has given as growth and development within the class. Another way of helping students find interest in learning English is by having entertaining classes that provide enjoyment to the students such as working in group activities and participating in role-play or games that also provide ways of intertwining English into the lesson.
Ensuring that the classwork given by the teacher is interesting and valid to the students is vital when preparing classes and the work you provide for the students. There are various ways you can make each lesson engaging and find ways to relay the information interestingly. Teaching students of various ages means finding different ways to make the work you've prepared inviting and keeping the students busy whilst remaining entertaining and motivating each individual.
A few examples of uninteresting classwork can include too much teacher talk time and not enough student talk time, only providing worksheets for them to fill out individually, lack of engaging and activating activities and lack of educational games and demonstrations. A way that you can improve a class to make it more interesting and motivating for the students is including activities such as pair work or English language games that still allow the students to learn/use English yet also provide a fun class that leaves the students excited for the coming classes and learning something new.
Types of Students
Most students that will participate in English language classes will at some point come across difficulties and roadblocks which can stunt the motivation of the student and leave them feeling uninspired to improve their English ability. A list of difficulties can include their lack of vocabulary, unable to pronounce words correctly, or even things such as watching other students succeed and feeling like they're not improving. It's important to understand each level of the students and ways in which they deal with difficulties and how we can help them overcome their temporary feeling of unworthiness.
Positive reinforcement and building a good relationship with each student is something that needs to be expressed from the teacher and guiding a student through their problem will help the individual to feel worthy and motivated to improve and move forward through each issue they face. With all this being said, it is highly important as a teacher to ensure that the level of work you're providing is suited to the level of English the students know and understand. Ways of finding out where the student's English level is at can be done through initial elicit of vocabulary, simple worksheets asking them to describe themselves or English games to see what they do and don't understand.
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Being a successful teacher means being able to motivate each student and help them to feel inspired in each class. A good teacher will be able to successfully motivate individuals and find various ways of helping each student. Overcoming difficulties in the classroom can be easily done if you build positive relationships within the class and show the students that you're always there to help them and never there to criticize.
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