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Motivation

 
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jialibond



Joined: 04 Feb 2007
Posts: 3
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:59 pm    Post subject: Motivation Reply with quote

In 2007 I taught English for the first time for one year in China. There were many times where I got frustrated with the lack of motivation and I always wondered how I could reach those students who didnít want to be there. Iím now back at university taking some more TESL courses and am doing a research paper on motivation. Through my research Iím learning about different strategies used to motivate students, but I am more interested in finding out about practical applications in the classroom. How long have you been teaching, and what sort of strategies do use to motivate those students who just donít want to be there?
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From day to day, before I get to know them, bribery from praise to stickers, Pokeman cards or whatever is cheap and popular. For the long term, getting to know what they are interested in and providing material and conversation on those subjects. Marks of course. But the theories you are learning tell you this. Theory is not divorced from application if you understand the theory. We start with experience, so remember what motivated you and your friends and then work out what these theorists are saying. In this job of teaching, we all have at least 12 years of experience from being in the system. You saw what good teacher and poor ones did, how you felt, what others said. Now take that experience and see a bigger picture over cultures, time, place and space.
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jetar



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not have a lot of experience in teaching since I am still a student teacher, but I did my last practicum in a secondary school. I had regular English secondary 3 students. One very simple and very useful thing I did was to find their interests. I got to know my students by talking with them outside the classroom, by getting involved in some of their activities in the school, and by asking them questions while I was teaching. When I knew them a little bit better, I designed activities and I adapted activities from the textbook I was using taking into consideration my students interests. I saw a difference in their motivation.

It takes some time to get to know your students, but it is worth it!
Good luck!
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ESLchocofish



Joined: 02 Feb 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Quebec, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lack of motivation from the students happens sometimes when you are teaching abroad. Most of the time, there is some sort of disconnection between you and your students because of cultural differences. Getting to know your students and learn about their culture can be a good way transform that disconnection into a good relationship. Ask them to talk about their hobbies, what is popular right now, etc. You can even ask them to share what they think about the course.

I would also like to point out that in Asian countries, students are familiar with ''lecture courses'' where they are not asked to be involved in any form of discussion or participation. This might explain why they do not seem ''interested''. They are just not used to other teaching methods and they do not see how this could be beneficial to them.
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nicolasbrunette



Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, we got to understand that motivation relies on both the students and the teacher. Obviously, the student needs to help themselves and try to pay attention to the discussion in class. However, the teacher is responsible of the content seen in class. The teacher has to focus on subject that matters to the student. Moreover, he has to present it a way that the student will be asked to participate. In this case, discussion or small-group reflections may be a good start to warm-up the students. Whatever you do, just make sure that itís not only you in front of the class speaking. Make them do a part of the job.
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cyndie28



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also think that secondary school is not an excellent source of motivation for students in some cases because they do not provide information about real life situation like using English in business trip or when traveling for pleasure. In a way, secondary school is a passage from childhood to adultness and it needs to prepare students for their real life. How it can prepare for their real life? By doing some exchange or by seeing different part of the country, that way, students are interested in going away and they can learn new vocabulary that they couldnít have learned at a steady based school.
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Roque



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: Teenagers Reply with quote

Itís really hard to motivate teenagers in an ESL class, as it requires from minimal culture awareness. Teenagers are often self-centered and the challenge for me is to help them shift their focus from personal lives towards something else. In class, during personal activities, I like to sit with each of them and have a little chat. We talk about their problems and stuff theyíre interested in. The idea is to show them that beyond the teacher/student relationship, there are two people interacting and communicating. I target the less motivated and rambunctious ones first so they know Iím there and willing to help.
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Divinebeauty



Joined: 08 Jan 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you give some examples of how this works in practice?

I would say I know my students' interests on some level and I talk to them and find out what is happening in their lives but for example, friends are important to them and we talk about moral dilemmas, then we do a story on a friendship with a moral dilemma and they don't want to read it.

Another example is they like to hear weird stories about strange occurrences so we do a Twilight zone screen play and they're still not interested.

I thought I'd picked up that they like these things but they're still not that interested. And another time we do a story about dogs and although some are dog-owners, again not much attention is given to the story.

I'm pretty frustrated about what motivates them!! Any ideas on how to put it into practice? Our course is based around stories, articles, communication activities and grammar tasks. We have set texts but there is some variety in which material to choose.
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1295
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get them to bring in articles they would like to read - either in English or in their language but translated.

If your course is like mine was, it was not culturally appropriate. Sure the topics were the same - friendship, sports, cars, TV programs, movies, teenage problems of dating, health, bullying, fishing, hunting, and so on. But the stories in English, written by authors who were in English speaking countries just didn't resonate with the students. The morals were not the same. Of course, we had some good discussions to say why they were not the same.

One example was a story of an English student who had a hawk as a pet. His brother killed the hawk because of a dispute they had. The English boy left the family and never came back. This just did not resonate with my Greenlandic and Mongolian students. For one thing, an animal - dog or hunting hawk - is not a pet that you love. Animals are working companions. Then they just couldn't understand why the boy left. There are always disputes in the family, but the family comes first. It was completely against what they felt was right that the boy left his family and never came back. They just couldn't understand the English boy's point of view and actually thought it was wrong, so they thought I was trying to teach them something wrong.

Another example was the English story about a student who volunteered in another country to help them out. The book asked the students to comment on her decision to give up university to go to another country to help as a volunteer for no money. They wouldn't comment. It was against their culture to comment on other's lives and judge them.

Another example was a picture they were supposed to interpret to write a story for their exam. It showed a pretty lady in a room with all the chairs covered with sheets. She looked sad. They were told she was a model and her name. Not many of them understood that the sheets covering the chairs meant that she might be moving or coming back to a house where the people didn't use the furniture anymore. They regularly cover their furniture with blankets and seal skins to make it warmer and to make it last longer. The exam markers said that the students didn't get the point of the story as they talked about the wonderful life of a model as much as they knew about that kind of thing.

Until you know your students well, you will keep missing the point with readings written by authors from Western cultures. You need to go deeper with them or find things they want to read about.

I used to have them write stories and the other students always were interested in reading something that another student had written. I even got teachers and parents to write stories for them. The structure of the stories is often more in line with where they are with their language learning and the morals in line with their culture.
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