Motivation is one of the most challenging tasks for any teacher, regardless of the subject and area of study. Imagine the dreaded scenario of a teacher walking in to a classroom full of students who would rather be anywhere else but in that classroom. Not very encouraging is it?
This is even more true when faced with young learners, who have probably had no say in the matter-their parents having chosen for them. An adult is motivated to learn because in most cases, he or she has paid for the course, where as a young learner does not have this financial motivation.
Therefore, when dealing with young learners, stimulating motivation is one of your major goals if you wish to achieve progress in the language and not least of all enjoy yourself too!
It is up to you as a teacher to create a motivational environment, make your young learners feel stimulated, at ease and of course show them that you are in control of the class and can run the activities successfully.
The use of appropriate discipline strategies is fundamental when dealing with young learners. The way we behave in a classroom will pave the way to a effective and pleasurable class attitude and progression.
As a teacher you should be able to organize and manage a classroom in order to create an effective learning place. You will hardly be able to teach in a chaotic environment, so keep these key points in mind:
- Establish a good rapport with your class as well as a dynamic exchange
- You need to be an ideal and effective role for your class
- Be enthusiastic about your activities-this will in turn lead to enthusiasm
Some Useful Tips to Motivate Young Learners
The first issue to keep in mind is that you MUST plan your lessons-and that these should be planned keeping the children’s activities not the teacher’s.
Each activity should not take up too much time-the concentration span of a young learner is limited. With the smaller children 5 to 10 minutes is the ideal time lapse, although it can be longer depending on the task and how much they enjoy it. Keep in mind that although you have planned the lesson, you should be attentive and open-minded to their needs.
The different activities can be divided into:
Stirrers: these involve activities such as singing, moving around, and will motivate and excite the learners.
Settlers: activities such as drawing, writing, reading
Head down activities: when learners are concentrating on a book or drawing activity.
Head up activities: when they are looking at you or the board, or even at other children in the class.
It is important to plan for a varied and uniformly composed lesson, using all the activity-types mentioned. If you don’t vary, this will lead to frustration and de-motivation.
It is also important to organize your activities in pairs and small groups, as children need to relate with others too-this is stimulating and socially motivating.
Plan for your lesson time and for the tools you need. Having prepared everything before hand will avoid unnecessary and distracting time gaps. Think carefully about how you will organize this phase of the lesson as it could lead to an unsuccessful lesson.
Your young learners should be aware of what you expect from them. Make sure you tell them what they are going to do during each lesson, you will be surprise how cooperative they can get!