How to motivate students? Proven strategies

One of the most difficult tasks teacher can encounter on the path of his pedagogical career is to motivate students in the right way during a language course.

Motivation can be divided into two types: internal and external.

Internal motivation is a drive from the motivated person. People are motivated internally when they like to do their job or like what they do.

However, external motivation is caused by others, our surroundings. People are motivated when they want to get a reward (or good grade) or avoid punishment.

In general, when someone has an internal motivation, praising a person can reduce their internal motivation, making them less interested in the learning process and thus reducing their performance.

Bearing in mind the goal that guides learners during learning, language teacher should try to motivate students. Some proven strategies will help him with this.


Communication is the key


One of the ways to encourage students to internal motivation is to develop their communication skills in a given language.

The language is used to communicate. Therefore, learners of a language should feel that they are able to effectively transform their thoughts into words.

In addition to techniques that stimulate communication, students should feel the inner need to learn a language. In other words, this is where their internal motivation lies – if they want to communicate in this language for personal reasons.

The more we encourage our students to communicate in the classroom, the more they will be motivated.

It is also worth remembering to give students a lot of time and opportunity to speak, while minimizing teacher’s time.


The practical use of skills


People do not like to do things that are pointless. They want to know that there is a purpose behind what they do.

Learning the language as a result should bring the effect, the possibility of practical use of the acquired knowledge and its use in life.

Bearing in mind the goal that guides the learners, one should try to base the course on the realities of the surrounding world.

Introducing realities of learning will make students more prepared for what they find outside the walls of a language school.

Prepare authentic materials, such as current magazines, popular songs or watch a film, serial, document or news or weather forecast on the lesson.

Students will feel more confident if they become familiar with real topics and vocabulary of a taught language.

The learning process is in this case as important as the final result, because students can use their language skills at every stage of learning. Focusing on the process also helps to motivate students in the right way because we do not focus on external motivation and ability assessment, but rather emphasize effective communication throughout the process.


Element of fun


Using games and activities in language learning process is a sure way to increase the level of internal motivation.

When students are having fun, they are also more involved in learning. Their motivation will come from them, not from the teacher.

It is worth using social media, recordings and videos during the course, also role plays, dialogues, scenes, encouraging students to various types of games, aimed at provoking students to speak and increasing the effectiveness of their learning.

For example: based on the likes of a person on Facebook, ask her to tell about hobbies and interests, using correct forms.

Try to play dialogues and themed scenes about the topic being used. If possible, you can also organize lessons in the right places, where the student will be able to feel the use of new structures in real life.


Creating connections


It is very important to build relationships with students during the course. Especially if we teach international students for whom we can be the only co-talkers in the language being taught. Supporting students in the learning process is something that every lector should remember.

The teacher must, therefore, try to get to know their students and their views, ask questions about their lives or opinions on certain topics, encourage them to express their opinion and share their insights.

Building trust between the learner and the teacher can play very important role in learning the language.


Opinion is important


Always follow your students’ reactions carefully. The right amount and quality of feedback is important for creating the right relationship with students. Learners should not only respect the teacher’s knowledge, but also his own.

You do not have to be the only source of feedback for your students. Encourage them to peer and self-esteem. Take into account students’ comments, but do not forget to assess their skills as well. Praise as well as tips will motivate learners.


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