Teaching is a rewarding career for many people, however it can become frustrating when you have difficulty inspiring unmotivated students. To motivate students, you must think creatively and incorporate new strategies. Follow these steps.
Reward your students for participating in class. These rewards don’t have to be fancy; a simple “good job” is often enough to make a student feel great. The more a student experiences that inner feeling of accomplishment, the more motivated they will become.
1. High five/Fist bump/Thumbs Up – Classic, but very useful.
2. Make a poster with positive phrases like “Good job!” “Well done!” “Awesome!” to remind yourself to use more in the class.
3. A points or class economy can be useful, but some teachers don’t like the way this becomes the sole reason for students to use English. Be careful with this one.
Establish a connection with your students. A teacher who makes students feel comfortable and confident creates a safe environment. Students need to feel safe; they need to understand that it’s okay if they get an answer wrong.
How to Connect?
1. Talk before or after class about their lives.
2. Learn Chinese, find out something about their culture and use it in classes. Pop songs, famous cartoons, etc.
3. Share some details about yourself, but not TOO personal.
Create opportunities for student participation. Don’t just lecture at your students–get them involved. Modify lesson plans to make assignments more active and engaging. Can you turn a lecture into a class discussion or a game? An energetic lesson that gets students involved is a great way to motivate them and help them learn.
Give students choices. They need to feel like they have some power and control over their educational experience. Incorporate a degree of flexibility into your assignments so students can choose how to participate, and thus feel actively involved.
Have students work together. Most people like to spend time with other people. Completing projects as part of a team gives students the chance to feel like they belong and can motivate lazy students to contribute more.
Demonstrate how lessons relate to students’ lives. If they understand how something affects them personally, they are more likely to pay attention to the lesson. Take events out of the newspaper and pop culture, and have the class analyze them for life lessons.
What tools or strategies do you use in the classroom?