The education system has many schools of thought when it comes to learning. We have visual learners, students who prefer to listen to lectures and some who learn through experimentation. When learning a new language, teachers often have to brainstorm a variety of methods to help students learn – through videos, conversational activities, etc. Even with all these tools, a handful of students still struggle to keep up.
Motivation could be the key to unlocking their potential to learn. I know what you must be thinking; “After class preparation, I don’t have the time figure out how to motivate every student!”. Let’s start with the benefits of motivating your students.
What Motivating Does
Well done! Your student is enrolled in your class, which means they (or their parents) must be interested in learning. This enthusiasm, however, needs to be nurtured if it is to be sustained over the duration of the course. Motivation results in several things; individuals set goals for themselves, put in effort and persist in achieving these goals. Studies have shown that consistently motivated students generally perform well as they have a sense of responsibility for their own grades.
This makes conducting lessons a whole lot easier for the teacher because students come to class prepared and nobody has to play catch-up. Interactions in class are fruitful and enhance everyone’s learning.
So, what are the different kinds of motivation? External and internal factors are the general classifications that describe students’ learning stimuli. Being aware of these factors can help you prepare lesson material that triggers a positive response.
Let’s explore them in detail.
Students who require external motivation require persuasion to carry out their task. For example, if your student joins your class because it helps them to secure an internship or if they desire a good grade to impress someone (their parents), they are motivated by external means. But this does not mean that they are not worth motivating. Instead, a teacher’s approach to motivating should be to help them to invest in their own learning. Speak to them about their goals for the course and help them set realistic yet high expectations for themselves. Including milestones within their long-term goals will help them keep track of their progress. Complement this with a system of detriments and rewards to keep them motivated. Creating competition and encouraging peer-to-peer learning will help these students to success.
Individuals motivated by intrinsic means work on improving themselves because they enjoy it and want to track their own performance. For instance, one has a passion for learning Japanese because they like the challenge, and have a curiosity for the culture and the country’s linguistic history. These students require little motivation from their teachers as they are stimulated by discovery. Types of material that work for these students are case studies, research and reasoning. Providing constructive feedback on a regular basis, as well as, giving them control over their learning will sustain their interest in the long run.
Motivating for Learning – What Works?
An experienced teacher can tell you that there is no right or wrong approach to teaching. As such, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ model to motivate your students. Using a variety of teaching methods to suit both types of students will influence them to be better learners. But to find out what type of motivation a student needs requires the personal touch.
At Agape School of Education (ASE), we keep our classes small so our teachers can connect with their students on a personal level. This helps them tailor their lessons and teaching approaches to the individual student. Learning a new language is a beneficial way to help students understand their own mother tongue. At ASE, we combine the technical aspect of language with the cultural. This reinforces the love of the language and helps the student better grasp the language. Our goal is to impart knowledge and inspire passion in our students, and our coaching approach helps our students deal with the emotional aspect of learning a new language.