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What is The Role of Motivation in Teaching EFL?

What is The Role of Motivation in Teaching EFL? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

What is motivation? Which role does it play in teaching foreign languages? How can I motivate my students for effective learning? No doubt, every teacher has once asked himself or herself these questions. Why is motivation such an important factor? Some people even think that motivation is the most important thing if you want to achieve something. Motivation is a phenomenon that drives us to behave and act in certain ways. It drives our willingness and desire to do something. Motivation helps us to reach a certain goal or objective.

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

Why is motivation so important while learning languages?

The answer is pretty easy: if a person has a strong desire to speak the language or has some specific purposes and is therefore highly motivated, he or she usually does everything to achieve this goal: he/she listens to everything that teacher says, he/she doesn’t skip classes, he/she does homework thoroughly every time, he/she participates actively in each class, etc. The consequence is this person improves his or her language level. Such students are usually very easy and comfortable to teach. However, it is not a secret that we should also differentiate between two types of students when we talk about motivation. The first type is self-motivated students. These students chose language classes because they have a certain goal they want to achieve. Another type of students are people who were made to take a course. Usually, they are children or teenagers whose parents want their children to speak the language. Sometimes they can be unmotivated to participate in classes.

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So what should we do to keep all of the students motivated?

Here I would like to outline some things that every teacher can do during his or her classes to achieve students’ motivation and as a consequence better results. Firstly, it is crucial to establish a good rapport between teachers and students as well as students among themselves. Normally it is much more motivating to learn and gain knowledge in a friendly, respectful, conducive environment. Secondly, the way of teaching is extremely important when we talk about motivation. The teacher’s voice should not be monotonous and the way the teacher behaves should not be unemotional. The teacher’s personality should be friendly, emotional, active. Moreover, all the tasks and exercises in the classroom have to be interesting and diverse for your students. The most motivating tasks are usually connected with the real world and the interests of your students and are not taken from the coursebook. Thirdly, the change of activities is crucial for students’ motivation. It is probably not motivating to do one worksheet after another. So you have to provide as many different types of activities as possible, including role-plays, dialogues, discussions, language board games, etc.

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To sum up I would like to say that unfortunately, teachers are not the only persons who are responsible for students’ motivation. Some other factors outside the classroom may affect it. These usually include family problems, low self-esteem, peer pressure, etc. As teachers, we have to try to make our students forget about all of the other problems when they are in the classroom and to make them concentrate only on learning the language.

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