Teach English in Changfen Zhen - Bengbu Shi

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Motivation in the ClassroomThe motivation and the attitude towards the language are two very important (though not only) things that seriously affect student´s language learning. The subject of motivation and motivating in the classroom are discussed and briefly explained in the article ?Motivation and Motivating in EFL? that is written by Dimitrios Thanasoulas in 2002. In his article, Thanasoulas introduces different techniques, methods and strategies for language teachers to understand and motivate learners. I will discuss the article of Thanasoulas via my own experiences and what I have learnt during the TEFL course. Different relationships in the classroom are an important part of building learners´ motivation and the relationship between teacher and students can be the main motive for learning. Thanasoulas writes about ?power relationship? that means the two sides are not equal: one side (the teacher) has authority to punish or reward, or it is respected or admired by the other side (students). If students respect or admire their teacher, their relationship is effective for learners since it is based on motivation. I think a teacher who gains that position usually has good interpersonal relationship skills and he or she knows how to handle people. This kind of person can also have a charming character. Respect among the teacher and students, a positive attitude, a good rapport and atmosphere help increasing students´ motivation to learn the language. Group dynamics and relationships between students also affect learners´ motivation. In a new group, students may feel anxious or uncomfortable to speak or express their ideas and opinions but when students know and trust each other, they interact more actively. There are usually several stages that a group goes through until, if ever, it reaches the harmony. The teacher can have a major role in forming a cohesive group: this can be done for example with a large amount of group and pair activities, competitions, common goals, games, seating arrangement, a general positive and supportive atmosphere and the teacher´s presence. As I learnt from the first units of my TEFL course, teacher´s attitude, motivation and behavior are the base for students´ learning and motivation. I have noticed that during my own teaching experience in an elementary school and while being a student. I was replacing a teacher who was tired of her students and had serious problems handling the group and generating students´ motivation. Of course I don´t know the whole story but I think the situation was like that, not only because of lively students, but also because of teacher´s behavior and attitude towards her students that was too negative and sometimes not respectful at all. In his article, Thanasoulas explains briefly different ways of generating, preserving and maintaining student´s motivation. The teacher can increase and maintain student´s motivation by setting goals, making curriculum relevant for the student, creating realistic beliefs, increasing learner´s self-confidence and satisfaction, creating learner autonomy or encouraging positive self-evaluation. Goals can be set by outsiders (an institution, a school etc.) or by the group itself. I can imagine that if a goal is discussed and accepted by the students, it motivates learners more than if it was set by the teacher. For productive learning, the teacher and students should understand what motivation is, what it means for learning process and how to increase motivation. The teacher should pay attention to different ways of motivating language learners as a natural part of teaching. As Thanasoulas states, ?language teaching should take account of a variety of factors that are likely to promote success?. Motivation in the classroom is a subject that should be taken seriously by any TEFL teacher. Reference: http://www.englishclub.com/tefl-articles/motivation-motivating-efl.htm