Prompting Students to Learn: Necessity and Importance
When teaching a new language there are many important factors a teacher should be aware of. Learning a language has no certain formula hence teachers should follow the golden rules of ESL teaching but also know when to adapt and improvise. Let's think about how we learned our first language when we were little.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Erdem Ç. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
We didn’t learn with teaching materials or drilling techniques. With our primal instinct, as humans we know that to survive and adapt to the environment we live in we need communication, the need to express ourselves, that plays the key role in learning a language. That is the kind of classroom environment teachers should aim for. By following the right methodologies teacher should always think if the teaching method or the activity is going to keep the student's attention and interest in the class or not. The teacher should create an environment that would make the students think that it is fun and needed to practice their English, and also make them feel confident about it.
The Frustration of Learning a Second Language
As someone who learned English as a second language, I know how frustrating it can be to learn a new language, therefore I can put myself in their shoes and understand that small mistakes such as; excessive error correction, lack of diversity, wrong choice of vocabulary and inappropriate materials can make a bad impact in the long period. Thus having a sense of empathy towards the students and not only looking at things from the teacher's perspective but also to think like a student to plays a vital role in motivating the students.
Young Students vs. Adults
Unlike adults, young learners are more likely to lack motivation because they don’t usually have a specific reason to learn such as getting a higher position in the company they work for. Adult learners are aware of the importance of learning English, but also young learners tend to be more curious about new things and more open to learning new information. The teacher must always aim to make the lesson interesting with various activities when teaching young learners. Especially for the younger groups, learning English should always be a fun thing to do due to their short attention span teacher should always use various teaching themes rather than the repetitive ones. Having a communicative classroom environment and having the right manners towards the students such as; knowing the cultural norms, avoiding a body language that would reduce the student's motivation and be a good role model to them would increase the student's morale and motivation significantly.
Also Read: Relationship Building in Another Culture
Classroom management also plays a big role, being too rigid or too relaxed about the lesson will cause an unwanted environment which will lead the students to lack motivation, knowing the balance and adapting to what is required to create the best classroom environment should be the teacher's responsibility. Instead of being a robotic instructor who only follows the coursebook, the teacher must have a passion for teaching and keep the motivation up for the students, if the teacher doesn’t have the motivation to teach we can't expect students to have it for learning as well. As mentioned in Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligence there are eight different types of intelligence and teacher should keep them in mind and use the right materials and activities with the right teaching points and not focusing only one type of intelligence type as it would not be the right method to follow.
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Motivation problems won't be always caused because of the teacher or the classroom, parents play a great role when it comes to learning English and it affects the motivation of young learners on a large scale. If a possible parent should provide real-world context and an English speaking environment for the students and encourage them when it's needed. It was the motivation that made humankind archive many great goals and without it, we cannot push our limit to be greater, hence the first thing that a teacher should always keep in mind should be the motivating factor.
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