Motivation in the classroomFor me motivating the students is one of the most important parts of a teacher's job. You can have the best book, the best exercises, and the latest technology, but if the students aren't motivated, they won't learn english; at least not very good. This article will be about my thoughts about motivating students. The article builds upon my experience as english teacher in brazil
, my personal experiences as student, and my almost finished TEFL-course.
The first thing a teacher should do when starting to work with a new group is to find out about the students' interests, fields of study, jobs, tastes of music etc. If the teacher knows about what the students like, and more specifically about in which area they want to use their english, it will be a lot easier to prepare interesting and motivating classes. This part is a obvious part in the teaching of business english
, but I reckon that it to be essential in all classes; from the most basic to the most advanced. If the teacher knows about the students' preferences he/she can bring for example texts, music and videos that corresponds to these preferences. With these steps you can enrich the class content, rather than just following the (more or less) interesting course book units.
Another part of motivating the students may be to bring information about the doors that open when you learn english. Many students, especially young ones, may feel that learning english is a burden rather than a pleasure. Therefore it may motivate them if the teacher inform about their future possibilities if they manage to learn english. This could be done in many places just by bringing a local newspaper and dictate some work ads; probably many of the employers ask for english speaking people. This part of the motivation process isn't to be used with every student group; many adult learners may feel offended if their english teacher tries to teach them what's right and what's wrong. However, it's important to know that the possibility exists.
The last point that I will cover in this article is the use of a former student. When beginning to study, or when studying as well, being able to speak, read, listen to and write english fluently may seem very far away. If the students then could meet a former student that can have a conversation with the teacher without any problems, the student should feel motivated and eager to do it as well. If that student managed to learn to speak english, why shouldn't I manage to? If the former student also has managed to use his/her english knowledge for something, even better! It may have been for studies, for work, for vacations, for new friendships, or why not for finding love in a person from another country? I want to make the same point here as in the former point: This option should be used with caution and depending on the group; some students and specifically adult students may feel offended.
I hope that I have managed to show the importance of motivating the students. An area which, according to my experience, is rather neglected. Books and other hands-on objects are of course essential; but that doesn't mean that abstracts areas, as for example the area of motivation, are to be forgotten.