Seven Effective Ways to Motivate Students in a Diverse Classroom
Having experienced campus life as a non-native English speaker and foreign student in Canada, I have learnt a few key aspects that affect the overall learning experience in a diverse classroom. The effectiveness and efficacy of the teacher primarily hinge on their ability to engage the students enough to maintain a reasonable level of motivation. I have observed a few ways that would increase the motivation of the students, especially within a classroom full of students from diverse cultural backgrounds and language levels.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jeannie C.
1. Stay Relevant
By using real-life examples, current affairs, personal testimonies and even the current happenings in pop-culture, the teacher can quite easily engage the students because of the relevance the students can draw in their own lives. The relevancy of the course materials will invite the students to participate in the classroom.
Also read: Top Online Lesson Plan Resources for New and Advanced Teachers
2. Stay Connected
To encourage students to interact with one another and practice the language, the teacher may create an on-going interactive activity to help the students to remain connected. These activities may include letter-writing to a “buddy student” paired up at the beginning of the class; or a brief weekly sharing of “highlight of the week” in one or two paragraphs.
Also read: Great Ideas for Teaching Writing Skills in the ESL Classroom
3. Stay Competitive
The teacher may also use interesting and relevant materials that challenge the students to yearn for more in their learning. Healthy and friendly competition through team games, debates and group activities can help the students to spur one another on, and to increase class bonding and camaraderie. Team games such as Pictionary and Charades can be fun and meaningful activities that can be used to promote healthy competition in the classroom.
Also read: The 5 Best TEFL Games for Adult Students
4. Stay Hi-Tech
In this day and age, it is not surprising for the students to enter the classroom with basic expectations of seeing some form of modern technology being used. Tools such as PowerPoint, overhead projectors, iPads, TV and speakers can be used to keep the students appropriately stimulated and engaged to increase motivation and participation in the class work.
Also read: The Benefits and Risks of New Technology in the Classroom
5. Stay Hi-Touch
By taking some time to get to know each student’s personal interests, fears, language fluency, strengths and weaknesses, the teacher can gain the trust of the students and therefore increase the motivation level in the classroom.
Also read: The 5 Best Ways to Build Rapport With Your TEFL Students
6. Stay Tuned
By highlighting the special interests, skills and talents of the students, the teacher may be able to incorporate those areas in the course work. For example, the teacher may pair up a student who enjoys playing the ukulele with another student who enjoys singing to prepare a song in their native language and/or the translated English version of the song and share during a class.
Also read: 4 Tips on How to Teach English Using Music
7. Stay Modern
I remember attending a class in the 90’s where the teacher would use multiple video lessons produced in the 70’s to illustrate some concepts. Though the content was relevant, the presentation was not. The motivation level in the classroom dropped over time because the outdatedness of the videos had distracted the students’ attention and focus. It would have been a lot more effective for the teacher to use more current visual materials to accomplish the course purpose.
Also read: The Best Apps to Have on Your Phone While Teaching English Abroad
Are you ready to motivate an English language classroom?
There are many more ways to increase and maintain the motivation level in a classroom. I have only pointed out a few ways above drawing from my personal experience as a foreign student. I look forward to continuing my quest in exploring more effective ways to teach students from diverse backgrounds.
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