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What is Student Motivation and Why is it Important?

What is Student Motivation and Why is it Important? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Motivation can be seen as the reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a certain way. Many people in the world today battle to find the motivation they need to achieve their goals, be it in the business sector, schools, or even in their day to day activities.

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

Motivation is the driving force towards reaching your goal.

The higher the level of motivation, the more likely a task is to be achieved. There are different types of motivation such as intrinsic motivation which involves doing something because it's personally rewarding to you and extrinsic motivation that involves doing something to earn a reward or avoid punishment. In the classroom teachers should be aware that there are students who are intrinsically and/or extrinsically motivated. An example of this is the top achiever students, they are motivated to have the best grades or because they like the subject and others that do it for merits or they could be pressured by their parents. Regardless of the driving force, teachers should create an environment that motivates students to learn and behave in such a way that it would propel them towards success.

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For a class to learn effectively, the teacher must be able to ignite confidence in them.

Students look to teachers for approval and reinforcement. Learners who have confidence are not afraid to make mistakes in class as this can be seen as a knowledge booster or a way for them to build onto what they know. The teacher should encourage open communication and always recognize and praise students for their efforts. Before this can be achieved, the teacher should become a role model and have a passion for what they do. Whether teaching abroad or in your home country a person that is passionate and shows interest in their work displays the characteristics of a good leader. As the teacher shows determination and motivation it will have a ripple effect on the students. One of the ways in motivating students can be getting to know them, their needs, and their expectations. In this way, you not only build a good rapport with them but you can tailor your lessons accordingly. Lessons that are well planned out and are presented with a high level of energy and enthusiasm will most likely be received positively. Another way to motivate students is to get them actively involved in the classroom. You can assign each student a different role and make it fun and exciting. Giving them a sense of responsibility can make them feel that their contribution to the class activities is important.

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Using lots of examples during a lesson and also connecting them to real-life can spark interest in the students.

Many students don't like learning certain things if they do not see the purpose behind it. One can stress purpose by keeping things practical and realistic as well as incorporating lots of games into your lessons to teach things that students don't take a liking to. By including lots of games into your lesson it gets the intrinsic motivation levels up. The students will be more actively engaged in the lesson as the motivation is coming from within and they are most likely to be more receptive and will be able to grasp the concept of the lesson more effectively. To be motivated you need to love or enjoy what you do. Doing something repetitively tends to become less motivated and more of a tick box exercise. Student motivation has to do with their desire to want to participate in the learning process. An educator that is proactive in the classroom and can conduct a lively lesson for students to be motivated and achieve the best that they can, will automatically become an educator that the students will look forward to interacting with.

It is also important to give students positive feedback. By focusing more on the things they get right and not only harping on their weaknesses or things they didn't quite get right, will not only motivate them to perform better but it can improve and grow the teacher-student relationship.

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Whether you as a teacher are working with young or adult learners, it is part of your job to motivate your students as success without fulfillment is a failure. If teachers can always encourage intrinsic motivation this would set them up for success even after they leave the classroom. Education plays a vital role in the world we live in, even more so for self-growth. Therefore if you can spark even an ounce of motivation in your students, they would be one step closer to becoming the best version of themselves.

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