From limitation to motivation: fourteen tips on how
to enhance motivation in the EFL class
by Glenda Demes da Cruz
3. Use persuasion and influence to stimulate self-motivation.
If you love what you do and love doing it, your students will feel it. Your passion for teaching can and should be contagious. The student will notice your dedication in preparing good classes and your enthusiasm in giving them. Your self-motivation can stimulate your students’ motivation.
4. Find out your students’ needs and try to satisfy them.
Provide your students with what they like. Try to find out, through interactive activities, what they like. See your class through your students’ eyes. Build up profiles for your students and make your class unique, so that they know that THAT class was prepared especially for them. Speak your students’ language. This does not mean speak whatever language they want or speak their mother language. This means see the group as it really is.
5. Making a task fun does not mean to make it easy.
We teachers of English tend to underestimate our students. You must have caught yourself, at least once in your life, taking a very easy activity to class, so that your students would have the false sensation that everything related to English is easy. This can be reasonable once in a while, but never more than this. You should be aware that your students may be exposed to challenging language situations, such as a trip abroad, and that the challenges faced in the classroom might help in their confidence to use the language.
6. Check whether the resources used in your classroom are motivating.
The type of activities you take into the classroom can make all the difference when it comes to motivation and interest. When preparing a class, try to see it through your students’ eyes. When you take a song to the classroom, for instance, are you thinking about your students or about yourself? Are you taking the activity because they like it or because you like it? Of course you need to be involved which means you should like the activity too. However, you should not worry if you don’t. When your students like it, they show it and that will keep you motivated and happy. You might even start liking that particular activity just because your students did and because it made your class wonderful.
7. Vary the task to enhance motivation.
Try not to repeat the types of activities you take to the classroom. Also be aware of this type of repetition in the textbook you use. Vary the activities you take to the classroom, as well as their approach. Textbooks, in general, bring the same sections, activities and approach. If you notice repetitions in the textbook you use, try to adapt the activity in a way the students can take better advantage of it. If it is an activity designed to develop speaking skills, adapt it in a way that students still practice their speaking skills. The objective behind the activity should be kept, but not necessarily the way the activity is proposed.
8. Consider absences as obstacles to motivation.
If a student is frequently absent from your class, something is wrong. He may be facing personal problems, which might affect his class performance, leading to a lack of interest and, consequently, absenteeism. If motivation were high, he would not be missing classes. Individuals usually make great efforts not to miss a very pleasant or important meeting, appointment, class, etc. Try to contact your student and talk. You can phone him or set up a time, so that you can talk in private. The importance given to your student and his feelings is also a motivation stimulant.
9. Demonstrate your competence at every opportunity.
One of the factors that can contribute to students’ confidence is the confidence they have in the teacher, in what she transmits and how she does it. Try to elucidate, as often as possible, the aim of each activity practiced in the classroom, so that your student is aware of what is being practiced and of what is being required of him. Use your background to make the learning process easier. Study ways to present a grammar point in a very objective and clear way, never forgetting about the context in which it should be used. Your student will feel the confidence you have in teaching a language which you have a good command of.
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