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Two Cases on Effective Student Motivation

Two Cases on Effective Student Motivation | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A gifted American educator has said, ‘motivation is the key to turn hopeless, hostile students into eager and ambitious achievers. It is useless to teach when students are not motivated. One can only have the information processed and digested in a stand of filtered out when their mind is open when they believe in themselves that they can do it. And if the ways of motivation are rightly chosen, if it’s carried out by a driving, dedicated and patient teacher, gradually, and often quite swiftly, the gap in-betweens will be filled, and the learning begins.

Table of Contents

Case 1: Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan and Helen Keller

Case 2: Teacher Marva Collins and her students

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

Let’s take an in-depth look at how to unlock the students’ motivation from the below two classical cases that we are all familiar with.

Case 1: Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan and Helen Keller

Helen Keller is one of the most remarkable persons born in the nineteenth century. She lost her eyesight and hearing at about 19 months. Without any discipline, She was spoiled and grew up to be a little wild animal. She knocked off one of miss Sullivan’s teeth when they first met. Miss Sullivan relied on her intelligence and strength to firstly train Helen with discipline. After some real battles with Helen, however, miss Sullivan’s patience and good sense were rewarded. Once having gained her respect, she could rule with love and not with fear, she could proceed to teach her. Later on, as we all know, the devoted teacher with her excellent teaching techniques has been splendidly rewarded.

This story has taught us that love and good discipline could open the gate of the student’s mind and have them motivated to learn. Even though it didn’t happen in the typical classroom environment, the fundamental principle applies anywhere.

Also Read: Tips for Getting Involved in the EFL Community Abroad

Case 2: Teacher Marva Collins and her students

Tommy, at twelve, was in a constant depression, hating himself, hating his brother, hated everyone for not liking him. The word kills nearly always came up when he spoke. If Marva said, ‘how do you feel today?’ Tommy would say, ‘ I feel like killing myself. Marva kept a straight face and praised him. She believed that he was not self-destructive; he wanted attention. Positive attitude, consistent praises have eventually broken through the icy wall that was inside Tommy.

From this case, we know that paying attention to a student’s feelings and attitudes convinces the students that they are clever and bright and there’s nothing they can’t do. Praise and positive reinforcement make Students, especially young children want to learn. Provide them with the right environment and the right material; they will demonstrate their natural ability to excel.

When it comes to teaching techniques, Marva said that the only way to motivate children is to make them stretch. To provide them with the contents that slightly higher their current level motivates them to explore.

I think the big mistake in schools is using fear as the basic motivation. Fearing of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc.

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At the end of this short essay, I would say that fundamental principles apply in any case but the specific strategies will vary student to student.

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