How to motivate students

Motivation is one of the important elements of a language classroom. If learners are not motivated to learn the language, they won’t be interested in your lessons, or, on the contrary, if they are not interested in your lessons they won’t be motivated to learn the language.

What this means is that teachers need to ensure that activities in the classroom appeal to learners and they are engaged with lesson materials. If this can be accomplished, your learners will want to come to the classroom and participate in the lessons, which will help them learn.

Easier said than done? Here are a few tips on how we can motivate our learners:

Make it relevant

The easiest way to make learners interested in what you are doing in the classroom – especially with children and young adults – is to relate the material to their everyday lives. Learning about something which has no immediate relevance to their lives will not be interesting to your learners. Instead, adapting materials to suit your learners’ interests and hobbies will automatically make the learners pay more attention to classroom activities. This can also mean incorporating technology into your lessons, since this is a medium the majority of our learners respond well to.

Be positive

Focus more on your learners’ progress than their problems. Having a positive attitude to your learners and the work they do will go a long in promoting positive attitudes towards the subject, while constantly drawing attention to the negative will cause the learner to lose motivation. Even assessment activities can be used as platforms for encouragement, rather than as evidence of learners’ weaknesses. Make sure you use classroom games and activities in a positive way so that your learners do not become demotivated.

Don’t forget to have fun

Even though learning a language is a serious matter, there’s no reason you can’t have fun while doing it. Playing games and activities are guaranteed to increase enjoyment and therefore motivation in the classroom. Traditional or online, games are a great way to practise language as well as have fun with your learners. What’s more, if your learners really enjoy the games, they will be inspired to play them in their spare time.

Motivation in the classroom is key for an effective learning environment. While we, as teachers, cannot instil motivation in our learners, we can try to create an atmosphere which our learners will enjoy and which will help them motivate themselves.