Yeah, I often hear this from teachers. As teachers, we want our students to actively participate and when they don’t seem to care, it is disappointing and demotivating for us. Not only that, but research clearly shows that students learn more when they are motivated.
It’s certainly true some students lack intrinsic motivation because they are in our class because of their parents or maybe their supervisors at work.
So, what can we, as teachers, do to motivate our students? Here are a few questions we can ask that might help improve our thinking about the question of motivation:
- Have I planned the lesson to maximize student participation - pair work and group work activities? Am I keeping teacher talk time to a minimum? Keeping students actively involved will increase their motivation.
- Am I teaching language that is practical, relevant and useful to the students? If the language is of practical use, they are more likely to see the value in learning and to be motivated.
- Have I explained why the students benefit from the activity? For example, instead of “Let’s do this” try explaining how it will help them - “Next, we are going to read and summarize a short article. Summarizing is very useful because …………….” As teachers, we often think that the benefit of our activities is obvious. However, the benefits may not be so obvious to the students; so tell them why you are doing the activity.
- Have I guided the students through the lesson, explaining how the activities relate to each other and the lesson objectives? Students who see the big picture and see how each activity fits into the whole, are more likely to be motivated.
- Okay, I know that some students may still not be motivated, but many others will. Anyway, I think you might be pleasantly surprised if you consider these ideas. I’ll have a few more ideas on motivation in the next post.