Motivating Students to learn English

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Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 9:16 pm
Location: Camden, NJ

Motivating Students to learn English

Post by RachelMHansen » Tue May 15, 2012 3:26 pm

Currently I am preparing to teach in an Elementary School in an inner city area. (I begin in September). The school is located in a very low income area and also has a very high rate of mobility (28% of the student body moving in/out of the school last year). Also important to note that over 40% of the students in this school speak Spanish as a first language.
As we all know, according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs one must meet the basic needs of life (ie. food, shelter, safety) before pursuing any higher needs (ie. belongingness,esteem, etc). Personally, I have had times in my life where it was a struggle to meet my basic needs & I did have difficulty thinking beyond those necessities- even as an adult with a capability of higher thinking. My question is: How can I motivate students to learn something abstract (such as a second language) if they may have other problems that they are focused on (such as moving, parent at work, lack of food...etc)?

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Post by sunflower03 » Tue May 15, 2012 7:29 pm

Many times, students who lack theses basic needs can be motivated by intrinsic motivation. They are motivated by good grades and teacher approval. These studnts go above and beyond to learn and improve their self-esteem and feeling of belonging. I have seen many students who come from low income, lack of shelter and low self-esteem and yet they are the hardest workers and learners I know. However, there are students who do not have this motivation and it is these students who struggle in school. We as educators must provide a nurturing and positive learning environment and motivate them as much as possible. We must learn teaching strategies that best helps each student learn. We must be energetic, positive, caring and implement lessons that they can relate to and enjoy to get them motivated.

Brie M.
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Post by Brie M. » Tue May 29, 2012 6:01 pm

I agree. A teacher's smile and approval can make all of the difference to a student who lacks the basic needs. When working with these students you can help them feel safe and secure in school. This can help with their intrinsic motivation. I find when a bond is formed, the students will be hard workers and be motivated to learn. It can take time and patience to help these students trust you, but if you are positive and motivating it will make all of the difference in the world.

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