Setting out some ideas for developing and maintaining motivation in either young children or teenagers

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The teacher’s skills in motivating young children should be seen as central to teaching effectiveness. This means motivating them to learn and acquire new skills. Finding what interests these learners is the way to inspire them to learn. Interest is an intrinsic motivator. These engaged children are more likely to employ a deeper level of study if the teacher can provide opportunities for likable learning. All young children are motivated by different reasons to learn to which the teacher has to recognise. It is the teacher’s attitudes to perform these tasks in learning that affect learners’ attitudes. Furthermore, while they are learning, the teacher has to maintain the learners’ interest. The learners have to feel that the teacher respects and accepts them for who they are and allows them to express themselves without the worry of criticism for honest errors. This is why young people need a lot of support and time.

The teacher’s teaching methodology should be to sustain learners’ motivation and engage in activities that lead to learning. There is no point in playing games that are fun and exciting if the learner is missing out on chances to learn new vocabulary and absorb and use new phrases. The teacher has to realize that the holistic development of the children is not only their language development but also in their social, cognitive, and emotional growth. For example, lessons that have an activity-based approach in which children engage in meaningful tasks and activities elevate learning. The children can use English genuinely, learn something new, and develop as whole individuals as well. Lessons should also be varied; drama and role play can be a good platform for motivating children, especially if costumes and props are involved. This should promote interaction among students. So, in these respects, the teacher has a broader educational role in their relationship with their learners. This entails the teacher being aware that each child is at a developmental stage and some tasks can be impossible for them. Learners all have motivation but on what level. It is the teacher’s job to put this to learning where their lesson has clarity and purpose. Moreover, the syllabus has to take in the fact of age, cultural and social background of the children to be taught. A teacher can personalize teaching if the children are allowed to talk about their own interests and families. The teacher could well have to adapt the syllabus to address particular students or groups of students.

How do you deal with student behaviour?

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(Words 1304)

Teachers can face many different types of students. Mostly students are respectful and good learners, but occasionally, there are students that persist in making the teacher’s life hard work. These are the times when the teacher must use classroom management to overcome any such problems. A teacher can deal with difficulty, but these issues must be dealt with sufficiently without disruption to the other students who are willing learners. A teacher studies how to teach and be proficient in their profession but can easily come undone by a disruptive student. This is where the rest of the class can be disturbed and all the teachers’ quality lesson planning comes to an abrupt delay in proceedings. In this essay, I will highlight problems in the classroom and provide ideas to help minimize bad discipline.

To begin with, it is important for the teacher to instill good discipline in the class. They must start off by getting to know the students. The teacher can greet the students as they come in; this may spot potential trouble makers. The teacher must learn all students’ names as soon as possible – within the first three days of school. The teacher needs to establish a routine in his classroom as soon as possible. The teacher should have a plan that incorporates what they expect from the students as well as expectations of themselves. The teacher should have a few (three to five) basic overarching rules in place to help govern student behavior in the classroom. The students should know and understand the rules. These must be taught and reinforced as if they were curriculum, repeating them often as needed. All of these rules should be practiced from the off. From day one, the teacher should have a classroom management plan and stick to it. The teacher can not have double standards, what the teacher says, they should maintain. The teacher when possible could even involve their students in developing the rules. Above all, the teacher needs to be regimented if they are to make sure each lesson is not inhibited by any disruptive students. They can set homework and check to see who has done it. This will show who is willing to learn. All work must be checked thoroughly. If the students see that they can get away with poor behaviour they will do it. For example, if a student’s behaviour steadily gets worse and worse, with no discipline given by the teacher, the one time the teacher has reached their perceived limit, the teacher may have a hard task of trying to stop the behaviour which should not have been allowed to reach this level in the first place. The teacher should be aware of problem students and situations that may disrupt the class and put a stop to it before it escalates. 

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“The better the learning strategy adapted the better will the outcome be” – the contrast of strategies used by the good learners and poor learners

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Explaining this concept by contrasting the strategies used by the good learners and poor learners

There are many factors involved in a learner succeeding in a language. Above all, the student has to have a learning strategy and an efficient one that suits his or her strengths which will help him or her succeed even better. Strategies are tools for the self-directed involvement necessary for developing communicative ability. Active learners will succeed better than passive students and become more autonomous. In this essay, I will talk about the good learner contrasting with the poor learner who both have their own ways which are for better or worse. One major factor is of teacher-dependence and towards an assumption of greater responsibility for and control of their learning. Students need the enthusiasm to learn, they can get bored very quickly. Students need to install in themselves that the learning is done for a reason. In this essay, I will discuss the factors that help students develop a good language learning strategy while contrasting them with the ambivalence of some students may have about learning a new language. This is notwithstanding that on the whole learning a new language is not easy even though it can be made to be more difficult.

To begin with, I must mention motivation. Motivation involves people learning a language for many reasons. Good learners can see an end result so they cannot be motivated to learn. It is beneficial for the learner to have goals. Those can be goals for each class as well as the term. Good learners will not be disheartened if they do not succeed one time. There must be a sense of self-reinforcement. Good learners will give themselves rewards for success. Good learners are aware of their learning strategy and if it is working. Their meta-cognitive awareness allows them to re-evaluate, focus, and arrange their learning. They will have a learning strategy that suits them. They will read up or ask the teacher questions referring to the topic in hand. This then refers to the student being able to ask questions not feeling shy to try. Weinstein and Mayer (1986) defined learning strategies (LS) broadly as “behaviours and thoughts that a learner engages in during learning” which are “intended to influence the learner’s encoding process” (p. 315). Of course, poor students just take it that the learning process is too hard. Poor students will tell themselves that this is too difficult and not relate their level of language with their actual stage of learning. A good learner can control their feelings and attitudes. A poor learner will turn up to the lesson without preparation. Above all, it is easy to think you should be better at a language without realising that the learning process will take time. The poor learner can not see the future for his or her language.

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Teacher’s Classroom Reflection Questions

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  • When you have completed your lesson, ask yourself these questions.

1. Did the students co-operate with their peers or seem to have much contact outside of class with proficient L2/Foreign Language users?

The students did co-operate with their peers. I think the best way to do this is through the instructions of the teacher. I said ‘talk to four people’, this made them at least talk to more than their partner. I think the next time I will get them in groups but mix the groups up.

My thoughts are on building a community spirit

2. Did the students often ask for clarification, verification, or correction? 

All these factors are important for the lesson and I encourage them. I thought the students were using them. There were still some students relying on other students to help. I wrote some Concept Checking Questions (CCQ) for the students to ask. At least, it highlighted factors to address.

3. Do your lesson plans incorporate various ways that students can learn the language you are modelling, practising or presenting, in order to appeal to a variety of learning styles and strategies?

I got the students up in lines, and they had to sort out an order. I had pictures to relate the words. I think I should have done the opposites of some of the words to make the words clearer. Also, I think they could have learnt more, so I could have got them out to write more words on the board, although I did put three pictures on the wall and let the students get up and write their ideas. 

 4. Does your teaching allow learners to approach the task at hand in a variety of ways? Is your LLS training implicit, explicit, or both?

I think I use a variety of ways for the students to learn. Also, I go around the students when they working and ask them questions and check their work to see how they are tackling the task. This gives them a chance to ask questions.

5. Is your class learner-centered? 

At times, I still feel I talk too much although I used a lot of group work. This group is tempered because the students always like to chat.

6. Do you allow students to work on their own and learn from one another? 

I encourage students to talk to their partners. I try and focus them on asking their partner questions. I also had it in mind to get them conversing with each other. I have a feeling that at times I should allow the students to do my work and then they ask me questions. For example, in this class, I reviewed some sentences the students had written on the board about three pictures and all the students were quiet. This I thought was valuable time wasted. I think I should have given the pictures to the students and checked their work as they worked in a group. 

7. As you circulate in class, are you encouraging questions, or posing ones relevant to the learners with whom you interact?

I think I do this well. It is fascinating because some of the students do not understand the questions you ask. This shows that they still need a lot of one-to-one practice. One lady in this lesson kept saying ‘I do not understand’. I made it a focus of mine to get her to understand. I feel as though some students are not real learners. They come to our school thinking that just following the teacher and speaking a few words makes them a student. So, by circulating in class, and encouraging questions I can install the learning spirit in them. I think also my relevant questions about their learning and showing that we are all in this together, they will benefit from asking questions and learning in this class.

8. Do students seem to have grasped the point?

My first exercise was to get the students to write some sentences about what they feel they want from this class. I think I should have explained it better. They were not sure why we were doing the exercise. Saying this though I feel if I give them the answers they will just copy and give the answers that are the right answers but not what they really feel. Again I can look back at the questions for understanding. If they do not understand they should ask. 

9. Did they use the LLS that was modeled in the task they were to perform? 

They were hesitant to use the sentences I gave them about understanding. Some were not sure why they had to do it. They do the task but for some reason, they hold back. I think this idea of LLS was new to them. I have 30 hours with the class and I will try to improve their ideas on how they learn. 

10. What improvements for future lessons of this type or on this topic might be gleaned from students’ behaviour?

I think I will try to have the students working together more and mixing the groups up also. I need to install some questions for understanding that will always be needed. I will try and keep them thinking that they can ask the teacher when they do not know. 

11. What did you do at the start that got them thinking?

For this lesson about general appearance, I first asked questions about their height, and length of hair. I then talked about my general appearance. I did this by using my hands. I also wrote a spider’s web on the board to help with the words.

12. How did the students show they were trying to acquire the knowledge?

I said to them ‘Am I short?’ and the students answered ‘No, you are short.’ This showed to me who was listening. Some students asked me for clarification. This was good because it became more personal. I also said ‘am I young?’ which most people said ‘no’.

13. How did the students show they had learnt the grammar point?

I made them write some sentences on the board about the pictures I had put up. I let them write freely without any checking then once they had finished I checked over the work. I also had them write in the book about themselves and their partner and I went around and checked this.

14. With respect to language acquisition, how can you show this factor has been achieved with your students?

This was the first lesson and I do not think that they could have acquired the grammar. I think for this first lesson it was just to show them the words. I think in the next lesson I will allow them to try and use the words as it is easier to write than speak.

15. What do you wonder about in your teaching and your students’ learning?

I wonder why so many students when they do not understand either forget about it or ask their friends. Their friends may tell them the answer but it is in their native language. This dismisses their chance to listen to a native speaker explain. I wonder why they think they can not ask for clarification.

16. What puzzles you about your students, the content, or the organization of your classroom?

I think the organization of the room is fine but the class is too big. My content needs to be more learner-centered and less talk from the teacher. I need to have exercises that allow the students to be puzzled and ask questions.

17. What aspects of the students’ learning do you want to understand better?

I want to know how much they have learned in the class. I want them to show that they have understood the lesson and like speaking their new language

18. What are some of your teaching situations that you are intrigued by or want to change? Why?

I want to change the way I use the board and teacher talking time. I notice sometimes that I can be talking and the whole class is listening but I could have done this task a bit differently and got the students to do the work.

19. What do you know about your teaching or their learning that you are interested in verifying?

I want to know that my language is not too slow or fast for the level and also am I testing them to their fullest.

Teacher Classroom Observation Questions

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Do second language students often ask for clarification, verification, or correction? 

Do the L2 students co-operate with their peers or seem to have much contact outside of class with more proficient users?

Do your lesson plans incorporate various ways that L2 students can learn the language you are modelling, practising or presenting, in order to appeal to a variety of learning styles and strategies?

Does your teaching allow L2 learners to approach the task at hand in a variety of ways? Is your Learning Language Strategy training (LLS) implicit, explicit, or both?

Is your class learner-centred? 

Do you allow L2 students to work on their own and learn from one another? 

As you circulate in class, are you encouraging questions, or posing ones relevant to the L2 learners with whom you interact?

Do L2 students seem to have grasped the point?

Did they use the LLS that was modelled in the task they were to perform? 

What improvements for future lessons of this type or on this topic might be gleaned from L2 students’ behaviour?

Questions for students

In this class: 

I want to….


My favourite/least favourite kinds of class activities are… 

I am studying English because…….

Journal Questions

This week:

I studied… 

I learned… 

I used my English in these places…

I spoke English with these people… 

I made these mistakes…

My difficulties are… 

I would like to know… 

I would like help with…

 My learning and practising plans for the next week are…