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In this independent study I will discuss the importance of class motivation, the psychology of motivation, and teaching strategies that can be used to promote both individual and class wide motivation. Motivation in the classroom is undoubtedly relative to student success. This being said, if a teacher truly wants his/her students to succeed - the use and understanding of motivational strategy in the classroom is of paramount importance. Without student motivation, nothing can or will be achieved in the classroom. As Horace Mann said, ‘A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.' (Mann) To begin, I feel it is necessary to highlight the importance of the teacher's knowledge of who his/her students truly are. A teacher should pay close attention to why each student is attending the class, their individual personalities, their learning level, learning style, likes, dislikes, what their life may be like outside of the classroom, etc. Knowing each individual student personally
will allow the teacher to plan motivational strategies for both individual students as well as the classroom as a whole. As plato said, “Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” (Plato). Once a teacher has an understanding of who his/her students are, it is important that he/she understands and uses the psychological aspects of classroom motivation as a tool to ensure the success of his/her students. Educational psychologists have come to identify that there are two types, or classifications, of student motivation - intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As stated by Karin Kirk of SERC ‘Intrinsic motivation arises from a desire to learn a topic due to its inherent interests, for self-fulfillment, enjoyment and to achieve a mastery of the subject. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is motivation to perform and succeed for the sake of accomplishing a specific result or outcome.'(Kirk).
As different students will have different reasons as to why they are attending the class, they will be motivated to succeed for different reasons. This is where the importance of the knowledge of who individual students are is manifested - when planning motivational strategies in the classroom. This knowledge is invaluable in the classroom, as it can either make or break the ability for students to fully absorb the knowledge given to them during a class or lesson. As Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” (Einstein). It is our jobs as teachers to not only teach, but to instill a thirst for knowledge - to inspire our students to want to learn for themselves. Next, I would like to cover a few strategies that I believe are key to instill motivation both intrinsically and extrinsically in esl students: - teacher activity: The way the teacher runs the classroom. The teacher's
mood, tonal variation, and enthusiasm should all be positive and friendly. - Radiate positivity and support - do not put students down when they make a mistake, but give positive feedback. - Show you care about their education - give individual support, help and attention. - Create a pleasant atmosphere in which the students feel comfortable. - Lesson plans should not be boring, routine, or mundane. Mix things up and include topics that interest the students, fun games, group work, etc. - Plan lessons that are relevant to student goals and life. - Include as much student involvement as possible. - Establish and maintain good student-teacher rapport. - Chose materials that will help to increase confidence and will instill a sense of achievement in students. And finally, the strategy which I believe carries the most power in motivating students: - Indirectly reveal to each student that they want to learn this language, why they want to learn the language, and the importance that they learn the language; in a way that they will believe they came to these conclusions on their own. In conclusion - all the information, worksheets, course books, drilling, and testing in the world will fail to truly educate students if
they are not motivated. Motivation is a factor that all teachers need to consider each and every time they plan and conduct a lesson. Motivation will in the end dictate the amount of knowledge each student will absorb, and is the factor that ultimately draws the line between a huge group success or failure. Appropriately named; as ‘sapiens' I believe every human is born with the ability to learn and to become extraordinarily intelligent if they are given the proper tools and are motivated to do so. Remember, as Kahlil Gibran said, “The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” (Gibran). Works Cited: Einstein, Albert. "Einstein Quote." quotationsbook. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. Gibran, Kahil. "Kahlil Gibran Quotes." thinkexist.com. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. . Kirk, Karen. "Motivating Students." SERC. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. . Mann, Horace. "Horace Mann Quotes." Famous Quotes at BrainyQuote. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. . Plato. "Plato Quote." Waypoint Corvallis. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. .
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