This is a report of a session conducted at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate in April 2006

Motivating Students: An 8-Step Guide         Hugh Dellar 

Sts (students) come to London but not all are motivated e.g. teenagers in summer, businessmen shoe-horned into coming, housewives whose husbands have been posted to London, art school and fashion school students. So I need to motivate! 

1   Listen to your students 

  • Listening to language v listening to content 
  • Making the most of the people in the room 
  • Reformulate student output to turn talking into teaching e.g Student arrives late: sorry I’m late. I lost my bus. Elicit/teach missed and then put sts into groups to elicit other reasons for being late: My alarm clock didn’t ____? I slept too long = ____? 

2   Talk to your students  

  • Telling them what to do v talking to them 
  • Hang new lexis on students’ stories – or stories of your own 
  • These stories can be remembered ones – or invented ones 

3 Teach your students useful things 
Mongolian English Grammar book: The child whose hair is blond and whose eyes are blue is mine (in Mongolia??!!) · 

  • Is it something they’ve been trying to say, but can’t yet? 
  • Is it something you would say? 
  • Is it something they say in their own language?
    Sts appreciate a book/material when it’s useful: more than if it’s interesting or fun.
    Whose bag is this? It’s mine?
    Does anyone know whose keys these are?
    Whose idea was it to come here again? 

4 Teach the class first – and the coursebook second 

  • A page takes as long as it takes 
  • Take time to explore difference of usage/collocation when teaching similar vocabulary items 
  • Deal with student questions thoroughly 
  • A stitch in time saves nine! 

5 Be careful how you correct 

  • Error is the natural condition of the L2 learner 
  • Correction can destroy confidence 
  • Reformulate after speaking activities 
  • Give sts what they’re trying to say 
  • Gap whole sentences 
  • Recycle things already studied 

6 Worry less about topics 

7 Worry more about language and anecdotes 

  • Language sts are interested in language itself 
  • Sts come to class to talk 
  • Explain new vocabulary, but also exemplify itand get the class to expand upon it 
  • Get sts to talk about new vocab in relation to their lives I went on this big demonstration to protest against …. I took out a loan from the bank to …
    + Have you ever been in a demo …
    Do you know of any recent demos in another country?
    What kind of things do you take out a loan for?
    Explain. Reformulate. 

8 Look deep into your own coursebook!
Sts will be more motivated if their coursebook … 

  • Has little bits of speaking activities 
  • Teaches useful language 
  • Has conversations in L2 that resemble ones sts have in L1 
  • Has built-in revision and recycling 
  • Has easy-to-make and use tests
© Malta Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language