Teach English in Puxinglu Jiedao - Shanghai Shi

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Motivating StudentsThere are many elements that combine to create a TESL classroom conducive to learning. A key element in any successful classroom is the presence of an appropriate level of student motivation. In this article I will discuss how student motivation is dependent on the provision of these key elements by the teacher and how high student motivation can be achieved. A good starting point for the consideration of what needs to be done to maximise motivation is to look at the nature of the learners in your class. In general terms, adult learners will tend to be more self motivated as they have usually joined willingly, or if required to study english by their company they can see a purpose to their learning. Conversely younger students often had no choice in studying english and may have little motivation for the class. With the adult learners it is the teachers? role to ensure that this intrinsic motivation is maintained and strengthened. The younger students may need more extrinsic motivation to build their enthusiasm for learning english. Having ascertained a students? starting level of motivation, the next step is to ensure that the classroom dynamics promote learning. The classroom itself should be set up in such a way that it is a space the students like to be in. The use of visuals to make a classroom interesting and the setting up of furniture can create a non threatening environment for the students. The teacher needs to build up a strong rapport with the students and also needs to promote a strong sense of group cohesiveness. The teachers? classroom management strategies should strive to promote the positive, not focus on the negative, and always maintain a supportive and relaxed atmosphere in which the students feel secure. Appropriate learning experiences will also help to keep students motivated. If the lesson content is too easy a student may well become bored and lose interest in participating, whilst content that is consistently too difficult for a student can lead to frustration and even a sense of inadequacy which could result in a student giving up. Thus it is important that a teacher strives for outcomes that are achievable. To maximise motivation the students need to feel that the activities are relevant and interesting. If a student is having success in their learning then motivation should remain high. Teacher behaviours have a marked impact on student motivation. If a teacher is enthusiastic about what they are doing then this is picked up on by the students and can keep them enthusiastic. If the teacher is organised, consistent and presents structured lessons then the students will feel confident in their learning. A teacher needs to be flexible and attentive to the needs of the students. A student that feels that the teacher is sensitive to their needs, and is interested in the student, will respond positively. In conclusion, if a teacher has a clear understanding of the nature of the learners in the class, has provided an interesting and vibrant classroom setting, has developed a good rapport with the students and has built up group cohesiveness then the basis for a positive approach by students to their learning has been set. If the teacher then provides interesting, relevant and achievable experiences that promote student success then student motivation will be high. The teacher can then maintain and indeed promote this level of motivation through their behaviours, such as being enthusiastic, flexible, genuine and organised and by providing students with a variety of planned learning experiences. References Chambers, G.N. 1999 Motivating Language Learners. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Thanasoulas,D.2002 Motivation and Motivating In the Foreign Language Classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 11, November 2002, http://iteslj.org/