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The Strategies of Motivating Young Students in the ESL Class

The Strategies of Motivating Young Students in the ESL Class | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A child needs to feel a sense of trust in educators to fully cooperate in the class. There are many ways to increase motivation that will gain students' performance. To successfully motivate students, educators need to get to know students on a more personal level to know strengths and weaknesses to find the proper direction in finding strategies to motivate students in the classroom.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate My N. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Knowing students’ background

It is not simple to motivate students, especially if they are living through some hard times with their family or even problems with themselves. Motivation has to be truthful and come from the heart. A child knows when we are interested in their well being and when we are locking them out with no interest whatsoever in what they are going through. To better help our children, we need to know them on a personal level and gain their trust in us. This way, it will become easier to communicate and will integrate into building confidence.

Also Read: Why Japanese Students Struggle with Communicating in English

What is motivation for?

Motivation increases self-esteem and gives students a sense of “I can do it!” rather than “I cannot amount to anything.” It starts with the teacher’s attitude and continues with the rest of the class. Students need to feel welcome in class and can ask for help, instead of feeling secluded. Teachers need to realize that there are many different cultural backgrounds and disabilities in children, so it would take a lot of research on what is best for each child. That is what assessments are for so the educator is guided in increasing the strengths and developing on the weaknesses while providing positive feedback and clues along the way.

Rapport in class

A student-teacher relationship is very important because it allows us as educators to grasp the attention of the children and ensure they trust us to increase their ability to transform their minds. Many teachers do not realize this is important because they are not in it for the students and that is why they fail to meet the needs of the children. Children spend approximately 5 to 7 hours for a full 10 months with a teacher and within that time, teachers should already know their students from the first months and develop a good relationship with them. A child will be interested in learning if the teacher is willing to have patience, be honest, not have favoritism, and allow for students to feel cared for and a sense of independence in the class with certain discussions or assignments. It is like Rita Pearson said, "Children do not learn from teachers they dislike!" It is a strong comment, but it is very true. There are these teachers that are so miserable for whatever reason and bring negativity in the classroom with them. How you treat your students is how they will treat you. So if you show them respect, that sense of motivation and encouragement, and a positive caring attitude they will show the same to you. The same way will be if you show the opposite of that. Each grade level is different because children are transitioning from preschoolers, pre-teen, and teenagers and children develop different attitudes and personalities as they grow up. Children at the youngest age tend to be more loving and interested in learning than that of teenagers because teens start to think of the opposite sex, peer pressure, and forming groups of friends, so the interest and relationship are very different.

Also Read: The Benefits of Completing a TEFL Course

Common issues

Malnutrition is one of the most common problems in society today and is what causes developmental issues in children. Food is important to have the body function properly as well as water, shelter, clothing, and socialization. Many students cannot eat food at home at all or the majority of the time and the meals they eat at school are the only ones they consume, which is very sad. That is why the school has provided the program for children who are in low-income based homes to have either "free or reduced" lunch. When a child suffers from malnutrition, their focus in class is not good because the distraction they have is of thinking when the bell will ring for lunch. When a child does not receive the nutrients necessary, that child is at risk for many bodily and cognitive complications. Unnecessary weight loss and illnesses occur when inadequate intake of protein, calories, and nutrients are at play.

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Short-term complications are that of immune and growth implications, but what is much worse is the long-term complication and that is the cognitive implication. Malnutrition causes negative effects in "motor and cognitive development" such as attention deficit disorder, impaired school performance, decreased IQ scores, memory deficiency, and learning disabilities

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