Teaching ESL
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What motivates your students?
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Author:  Chareford [ Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What motivates your students?

Many of the suggestions here are good ones. Constant encouragement is a must, especially in the ESL environment. Laughter and fun always encourage learning because the children do not realize they are learning when they think it is play. Turn anything into an activity. I turned a simple lesson about the wrod door into a 40 minute class simply by making it a fun activity about opening, closing, knocking on and slamming the door. The kids all now say such things as "Who's at the door?" and "No, No, No, don't slam the door!" just from playing those roles.

Music is also a great tool to keep classroom interest alive. Use age appropriate songs, music videos and teach the kids to sing along and use the motions for each song. It works.

Always treat your students like people. They really want to learn, but a new language is a scary thing. Its up to us as teachers to make it fun, not scary. Attention is also a great motivator. In some countries the kids do not get the kind of attention that children get in others. They love a little hug, handshake, high five or even a smile and a wink from the teacher. It encourages them very much to keep working toward perfection.

But as some have mentioned, authority must be maintained. If you give candy or stickers as a reward, you must be just as willing to take it away as you were to give it, i.e. Little Johnny answers your question correctly, so you give him a piece of candy. Moments later he is talking loudly disrupting your class. You can now take the candy as a disciplinary measure. How you handle the issue is optional, but I normally will give the reward back after talking with this child to help him/her to understand why I took the reward. It works more often than not to improve behavior.

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