Tips on How to Motivate Your English Language Learners to Study ESL

Rod Ellis defines motivation as referring to “the efforts which learners put into learning an L2 as a result of their need or desire to learn” (1995).

The two main types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic, can affect the learning process. Intrinsic motivation is task motivation that derives from an inherent interest in the learning tasks while extrinsic motivation refers to the external influences that affect the strength of learner’s motivation such as that which comes from teachers and parents.

While some students have their own intrinsic motivation or external motivation, other students need to be motivated to learn. There are many things that you can do as a teacher in order to motivate students to learn. These strategies are based on various articles I have read below.

Students are more likely to want to learn when they appreciate the value of the classroom activities, and when they believe that they will succeed if they apply reasonable effort. Hence, “student motivation to learn is an acquired competence developed through general experiences but stimulated most directly through modeling, communication of expectations, and direct instruction or socialization by significant others – especially teachers and parents” (Brophy, p.40) When it comes to lower performing learners, teachers realize that such learners are accustomed to experiencing failure, hence, the teacher’s task is to help them experience success.

Here are some strategies and tips that may motivate students and stimulate them to learn.

  • Provide a supportive environment and establish a trusting bond. “Motivation is the feeling nurtured primarily by the teacher in the learning situation” (Ellis, 1994). Greet your students, interact with them, indicate a personal concern about them as individuals.
  • Cater levels of activity to students’ level – try and make sure that the learning tasks pose a reasonable challenge to the students – neither too difficult nor too easy.
  • Help students recognize links between effort outcome – learning is a long term plan of effort and investment.
  • Break down learning steps into digestable pieces.
  • Minimize student’s performance anxiety during learning activities.

Articles on Motivating Students

Brophy, J. Synthesis of Research for Motivating Students to Learn. Educational Leadership, Oct. 1987. p.40-48. (article summary)

Ellis, R. (1994) The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

English Tuition – Tips For Learning English As a Second Language

If English is your second language, there are many factors that may stop you from mastering it but similarly, there are many ways to help you improve English. Here are a few tips that might help you to learn English.

Just do it and speak out without anxiety

The major problem many people encounter in mastering a new language is their own worry. They always concentrate on negative things. They worry too much that they will not say things appropriately, or that they will look silly, so they do not talk at all. The most effective way to master anything is to do it repeatedly until you obtain it right. Practice makes perfect! Similar to anything mastering, English involves practice. You should not allow fear cease you from acquiring what you want. Set a goal and go for it. You are bigger than yourself.

Learn English through Movies

I enjoy learning English by watching movie or television. This is not only a fun approach to learn, but it is also very powerful. By watching English videos you can broaden your vocabulary and hear the flow of conversation from the stars. Pick your favorite film, memories the dialogues and study how the way the actor converse, rehearsing it repeatedly. If you like to listen to news, you may give yourself chance to listen to English news, note down useful phrases that you wish to learn, you can also hear various accents. You can also improve your listening skill by watching news.

Learning English by Listening to English Music

Music is another very helpful way of learning English. Truthfully, it is usually utilized as a way of strengthening comprehension and vocabulary. The best way to learn though is to get the lyrics (words) to the songs you are listening to. Read the lyrics first and try to understand them. There are quite a number good websites where one can obtain the words for most songs. This way you can practice your listening and reading at the same time. And if you like to sing, fine.

Record Your Voice

No one like to listen to their own tone of voice on recording but like tests, it is excellent to compare your recording from time to time. You may be so amazed with the improvement you are creating that you may not mind the sound of your voice as much.