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What is Motivation and How to Increase it in the ESL Class?

What is Motivation and How to Increase it in the ESL Class? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I think being a teacher it is not only to study. This profession includes so many roles such as being a friend, parent, psychologist, etc. It depends on many factors like age, nationality, size of the group of students, or individual student. One more very important factor is motivation. To find out why motivation plays a key role in building rapport between teacher and student first we need to define the meaning of it.

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


Motivation is the word derived from the word «motive» which means needs, desires, wants, or drives within the individuals. It is the process of stimulating people to actions to accomplish the goals[1]. In a studying process the motivation (in simple words) - is willing to learn. How to understand if students are highly motivated or not motivated at all? When class is not participating, not attentive, bored, using their mother language during the lesson, they don’t have an interest in the subject, these all above are saying that motivation in the class is on the low level. Nobody else can fix this but only the teacher. And actions should be taken as fast as it has been noticed. So what exactly must the teacher do?

After searching for more information about increasing class motivation I decided to highlight the main steps of actions down below. First off all KNOW BETTER your students start by knowing their names and by asking questions about their family's hobbies, likes, dislikes, accordingly to that teaching materials can be modified to make the learners interested in the lesson.

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how the students react to giving tasks, activities, studying process, etc. For sure some students are self-motivated and willing to gain more knowledge. Some students are shy to talk in public or feel uncomfortable while engaging with their mates. Some of the students have family issues and this can cause demotivation. In this case the help of parents might be needed.


the program according to the interest, difficulty level, number of activities to make it more interesting with adding creative games, competition with prize winners, etc. The instruction has to be clear and understandable for students, using simple wordings.


the students in the participation of the activities, role plays, individual tasks. It would be very useful if the teacher will give some real examples from life while teaching new subjects BALANCE strong students with weak by putting them in pair work, group activities.

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learners by using words «good job», «well done».It is important to give attention equally to all the students. Overcorrection is not the best way to increase motivation, much more effective would be to note common mistakes and review it again. In some cases, one to one meetings with students can help to identify the struggles and problems of each individual. After all actions, the teacher has to monitor progress to understand if the motivation climate in the class has been changed. One more important key to increase motivation in the class is created. Nowadays there are so many Internet Sources with different games, activities, materials which really can make the lesson more bright, funny, interesting and as a result effective.

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With all written above, we can make a conclusion that motivation is one of the key factors to the student's success. 90% it depends on the teacher and only 10% on the student. Knowing students better, observing, revising studying materials, involving all the students, balancing strong and weak students, encouraging - all are the steps to increase class motivation. The teacher is the core of this process.

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