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How to motivate TEFL students

 

Table of Contents

Integrate pop culture.

Introduce friendly competition.

Leverage their strengths.

Encourage writing with pen pals.

Select age appropriate reading material.

Use popular songs for listening activities.

Incorporate videos.

Play various games.

Utilize realia.

Integrate pop culture.

While English lessons may not inherently excite your students, they likely have interests in popular culture, such as music, films, TV shows, and books. Tapping into these interests can make lessons more enjoyable and engaging. Understanding your students' preferences is key. For instance, if a particular music band is popular, you could use their lyrics in listening and writing exercises. Discussing a celebrity's recent outfit can make a past tense lesson more dynamic than traditional textbook exercises.

Introduce friendly competition.

Friendly competition can motivate students who are hesitant to participate. Many games can be competitive, but other activities can also serve this purpose. For example, the first student to finish a written task or the one with the most accurate answers can choose the next video to watch or song to listen to.

Leverage their strengths.

Everyone has unique talents, and encouraging students to use their strengths can greatly increase their engagement. This requires getting to know your students individually. Musically inclined students can incorporate their skills into song-related activities, while artistic students can use their drawing abilities, and so on.

Encourage writing with pen pals.

Teenagers often avoid practicing English writing. Introducing pen pals can help change this. Online message boards for English teachers can connect you with others interested in pen pal exchanges. This practice gives real-world significance to writing exercises, which are often underutilized in language classrooms.

Select age appropriate reading material.

Like writing, reading skills in English often lack adequate focus. To make reading exercises engaging, ensure the material aligns with students' interests. Books targeting teens, celebrity biographies, sports articles, and concert reviews are all suitable options, provided they match the students' reading levels.

Use popular songs for listening activities.

The audio materials in most textbooks may not engage teenagers. Substituting these with music that resonates with them can boost their interest. However, be mindful of the content's appropriateness to avoid issues with explicit lyrics.

Incorporate videos.

Modern technology eliminates the need for bulky TVs or DVD players. Videos can be downloaded onto a laptop or other device for easy access during lessons. Short videos like celebrity interviews, movie trailers, or music videos typically capture students' interest.

Play various games.

Games are a vital component for motivating any age group. For teens, choose games that foster competition, present challenges, and reinforce the lesson's core content. Guessing games and quiz formats are particularly effective for this age group.

Utilize realia.

Using real-life objects, or "realia," can motivate students more than pictures or drawings. These items can be as simple as personal objects related to the lesson or maps and brochures for teaching directions. Students can also bring their own realia to discuss their lives outside of school.

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