Posted in My articles

Some practical ideas on learner motivation

As we are approaching the end of the term, our students are feeling unmotivated soon and we are “infected”, too. That’s why we need to prevent this, otherwise our lessons will be really boring and a kind of torture both for our students and us. I believe nobody wants that!

We all know there is a strong connection between student and teacher motivation so we affect one another somehow. Why don’t we make use of that connection and make our classes more enjoyable than we used to see? If your answer is yes, let me suggest you some ideas:

  1. Reward your students. That reward doesn’t have to be a big one of course! When one of our students performs a task successfully, we can ask the student choose a song and play it while the others are doing an activity like reading, speaking
  2. Explain. When our students wonder why they have to learn a specific topic, provide them with explanations (Harris, 1991). When they realize we don’t see them as machines which only fulfill tasks, they will be happier to participate.
  3. Care. When they share a song, a book or a movie in the class, we may have a look at it on our own. Then tell the student what we think about that item honestly and see the gleam in their eyes! You have cared about their ideas.
  4. Provide choices. As teachers we always say “My students want spoon feeding all the time!” or “They don’t have autonomy!”. If we present choices, they can choose what they want and change their attitudes in process of time. You can even ask “We have two books in our program today and I wonder which book you would like to begin with”. Done!
  5. Collaboration. We can ask our students to study together more than before. I am not saying monitoring each group or pair will be very easy for you; however, they will feel more comfortable with their friends instead of talking in front of everyone. Thus, we can use collaboration.
  6. Get feedback. We all think we are doing great things in the class, but are we sure that they are so great? Without getting feedback, we can’t know where our “ship” is heading. To illustrate, we can ask our students to write their opinions related to the activities of the week on a piece of paper without writing their names. Collecting the feedback and then reading them on our own might help us.
  7. Be open to new ideas. We can try something new and this not just related to teaching. We should try something new in our lives like a place, dish, movie etc. Having routines will lead to a decrease in the level of motivation.

All in all, motivating our students is not as difficult as we may believe.

Changing small details can help us find motives for new teaching methods.


 Harris, R. (1991). Some ideas for motivating students. Retrieved on March 3, 2014. adaptedmotivation.pdf


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