The Importance of Motivating Students
Motivation has become a big subject in recent years. What does it mean to motivate? For me to motivate does not mean to scream on somebody or push somebody. To motivate simply means to provide a motive. Provide a reason WHY.
When we look at motivation from a more scientific perspective we shall not ignore the concept of external and internal motivation.
As teachers, we should be able to understand the basic psychology of our students. If we understand what are the motives and the drives we are more likely to adjust our teaching to their needs. To be able to understand the real desires and fears, we should listen carefully, only with the good analysis we may help to better articulate their WHYS.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Daniel P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The motivation of young students
It is generally complicated to explain to the children that the thing we teach them is or will be good for their lives. Any parent myself can confirm how challenging is to orient our child towards what we believe to be a good direction.
I have seen countless situations in the classroom where the learners from age eight to seventeen were responding: Why we have spoken another language? We already speak ours. Why do we learn and people coming to our country they do not have to learn?
In 2012 when I started teaching I felt the frustration of not being able to explain clearly all the benefits of learning. At that point had already been traveling around the world for several years, I have met so many amazing people, I had all possible travel and work opportunities one person from a country like the Czech Republic can have. Yet there I was unable to pass the experience and the importance of learning early on my young students.
It was only with deeper studies I have understood that it was not my job. I believe when teaching young students it is our fundamental responsibility to be a role model. We should only show the doors by inspiring. Show that learning is fun. Help them make the connection between learning and higher self-esteem.
The young students usually only know the extrinsic motivation. There is a pressure of their parents, the environment and peers. They seek acceptance and recognition. Some competitive students may be motivated through a competition therefore like to connect learning with sports activities.
The motivation of young adult students
There is an interesting evolution when a child is becoming a teenager and he or she is starting to feel the real intrinsic motivation. The first ambitions, the first decision. I want to accomplish this because of a reason. It is very exciting and satisfying to participate in such process Students around eighteen years old are at the door of real-life and they can relate to more authentic subjects.
I imagine it might be intimidating to teach this student especially for the younger teacher since there is not natural respect however If the teacher is truly qualified and authentic he can establish very nice rapport.
I had a student once in Lima, Peru. It was a young woman who had been dreaming about life in France. Together we had set the clear goals and in one month of very intensive one-on-one lessons, she had been able to progress from zero to B2 and get the European french certificate. She is studying in France now.
The motivation of adult students
Generally, we can say the motivation of an adult is either personal or professional. Especially in the business world, there is a huge demand for high English skills. I find quite challenging to teach students who are mostly forced by their employers to learn English and their only motivation is not to lose their job. It is rather difficult to motivate such students, especially at a certain age. With certain adults, the strategy is to be fairly hard and straightforward. At a certain point when talking about the fifth lesson we are still around 'you were' and 'she was' We may start to ask if they want to learn or if they want to give up.
On the other hand, it is a real pleasure to teach keen and ambitious students. What helps sometimes when they start losing the peace is to provide a story about somebody who had learned and how it positively affected their lives.
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To conclude, I firmly believe the motivation is the key factor for any progress we may do in our lives. We the teachers shall not forget the extraordinary privilege to affect other people's lives not only in the classroom but also outside.
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