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Tim Ward, a freelance teacher trainer based in Bulgaria, introduces us to 10 simple steps to help increase motivation among language learners.

10 Commandments for Motivating Language Learners

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It's difficult to disagree with any of the points on the list of motivation commandments. Some of the points (such as 1,2, and 9) were somewhat redundant but still felt necessary for pushing the details that come with developing a good rapport with your students. Overall this seems like a solid list of points to keep in mind while conducting and creating lessons for the language learners.
This article gave me a lot to think about, especially the concluding paragraph which left the reader to mull over just how to answer the question stated: "Yes, but what can we actually do to make these things happen on a day to day basis when we’re using our text books?"
It'll be interesting to continue reading this blog to see their views on the matter as time goes on and to compare those views with the ones I shape as I take my course.
I think these general rules can help guide us to find specific solutions to the obstacles facing motivation in the classroom. Commandment #1, "Set a personal example with your own behaviour," reminds me of that Gandhi "Be the change you want to see in the world" quote. The process of motivating students to learn will be more difficult if the teacher is not motivated. It does not set a very enlivening example to follow.

One running theme I see throughout all of these commandments is the importance of an affirmative message in one's teaching style. Whether your goal is to establish a good relationship with your students or to increase the student's self-confidence, an enthusiastic and supportive behavior seems key. In my Spanish classes in school, for example, it was so much harder to find incentive in learning the language when I had to worry about my teacher grading me negatively every time I made a mistake. I didn't mind being corrected, but when the stakes were raised with adverse consequences a sense of fear was instilled in me that prevented me from contributing as much as I could. I know language schools in particular are not usually like this, but I just want to bring it up because I feel that this behavior hardly fosters a "pleasant relaxed atmosphere in the classroom" (#9). It may be easier to get motivated without all that unnecessary tension :D
This blog is definitely a source of inspiration for someone like me who is just beginning to teach. Having these "Ten Commandments" really gives me a sense of perspective on the most important aspects of a lesson, and is a great reminder that you can't be effective as a teacher if your students aren't motivated to learn! I appreciated that the blog encourages personalizing the learning process and developing a pleasant and overall positive atmosphere. In my own experience, I have made the most progress in learning any subject when I've felt comfortable enough with my teacher to go out on a limb every now and ask questions, and not have to feel intimidated or shy.
There are a lot of great points in this article. I especially agree with the idea that teachers should help their students feel comfortable in the classroom, which would hopefully improve their self-confidence and lead to better learning. If students don't have the confidence to speak aloud and ask questions it's really difficult to truly learn a foreign language. And on a side note, I really loved that the author used the word peripatetic - it's one of my favorites.
This article serves as a great reality check for teaching ESL; while a teacher can prepare tirelessly and create what on paper appears to be a dynamic lesson plan, once actually in the classroom motivating students to engage in the lesson can be a startling monkey wrench. However, with these ten commandments in mind, teachers can prepare for teaching the content of a lesson, but how to create an environment in which students feel comfortable and want to learn. Of course the challenge is not only having an "ah-ha" moment reading this article, but, as he points out, engaging students in a way that still complies with the practical constraints of an academic setting, i.e., the use of a specific text book or lessons geared toward a specific exam.


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