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?
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