Wednesday, 8 April 2009

25 Ways to Keep Your EFL Students Motivated

1. Show them that you care. Show them that they are important to you as human beings, not just as students.
2. Use positive emotions in class. There is a better chance that they will remember what you did.
3. Use humour as much as possible.
4. Give them quality homework. Start a blog, create a wiki, give them project work.
5. Give them visual input. Pictures, images, photos.
6. I know this one is obvious, but do your best to make your classes interesting.
7. Bring their personal interests into class. If they have a hobby, let them talk about it.
8. Whenever possible, personalise their homework. Make it relevant for them.
9. Give them a lot of feedback and, if possible, make it positive.
10. Help them set realistic goals. If their goals are set too low, they will learn nothing new. If they are set too high, they will be disappointed.
11. Let them feel safe. Make the classroom a safe place for them to make mistakes and ask questions.
12. Praise them. Concentrate on what they are good at.
13. Challenge them. Show them how much they can achieve. It is often much more than they thought they could achieve.
14. Give them choice. Let them choose which activity they will do first and how they will do it. That way, they will feel included in the decision-making process.
15. Whenever possible, make the exercises open-ended and personalise them.
16. Teach them how to be autonomous. Teach them how to learn, how to organise their knowledge and how to find information.
17. Teach them how to assess their own knowledge. Introduce portfolio assessment as early as possible.
18. Explain the purpose of every activity. Don't say that you are going to "play a game". Tell them that they are going to practise reported speech, polite requests or whatever you are really going to practise. When explaining the purpose of an activity, start with yourself. If you don't know why you are going to do something, don't do it.
19. Give clear instructions. This is something I often have a problem with, and I find writing the instructions down before I go into class really helpful.
20. Show enthusiasm.
21. Don't wear a mask in class. Let them see what you are really like as a person. If they like you, they will like your class. This is true for adults as much as it is true for the children.
22. Ask for feedback. Show them that you really want it.
23. Create the group spirit. Encourage them to cooperate and help each other.
24. Make sure that everybody knows everybody else's name.
25. Get them interested in Web 2.0. Teach them how to make the Internet their classroom.

What would you add to this list?

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Saša said...

Great list, Nataša. I too think it's important to be yourself, whether you are a learner or a teacher. To model rather than preach, to respect others and feel respected, to learn to help each other. It's natural to make mistakes - we teachers make them too. It's efficiency that counts, not perfection.

Natasa said...

Great advice Saša. You are absolutely right about making mistakes. I am awfully clumsy, I am always dropping things (both in class and, well, everywhere else). When I have a new class and when I drop a whiteboard marker or a book, I always tell them to get used to it, because I will do it all the time. It sort of breaks the ice.
Respect is really, really important. And trust.

Anonymous said...

This is a great list for not only teachers, but for anyone who interacts with a group, including bloggers. Many of the points translate to other areas.

Natasa said...

I am glad you think it is useful for bloggers in general. I think it is good for bloggers to get out of their niche. Being a blogger is a niche too. I guess it is very difficult for someone who doesn't like writing to blog on a regular basis. What I am trying to say is that a lot of bloggers, whatever their niche is, are really writers at heart.

JP said...

Great, Natasa. I apprecaite your efforts to follow 31DBBB.

I too trying in my blog.

Keep posting...

Natasa said...

Hi Jarlin and welcome to my blog.
31DBBB is really a challenge, isn't it?

JP said...

Yes Natasa, it is.

Miracel said...

You've got great ideas which I can apply in my classroom. I'm inspired by this list so I came up with 5 more ways to keep your students motivated.

飯糰夾蛋Karen said...
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