TeachingEnglish
motivation

How can I make my classes fun and also useful?


cmftrier's picture
cmftrier
Submitted on 22 August, 2009 - 10:15

I think "making classes fun and useful" is a huge task, and it's important to break it down. I think you need to first get more specific, consider in a bit more detail the aims of the lesson and then how to achieve those in an interesting way. Using different media can be a good way to liven up a lesson. Games and freer tasks, or group projects are also a welcome break from the standard classroom activities. Making lessons useful just involves teaching language and/or skills that are relevant, and ensuring that their relevance is obvious from the contexts in which they are presented or practised. I also find that a friendly, non-threatening and not overly formal or strict class atmosphere helps to get students involved. Exactly what the "fun and useful" lesson looks like in the end will vary from teacher to teacher, class to class, and also depending on the language being taught.

girishseshamani's picture
girishseshamani
Submitted on 23 August, 2009 - 14:37

Your first priority is to find the level of each participant with respect to the English Language. The age of the participants and the objective or purpose of each participant needs to be understood. Need Analysis is very critical to ensure the success of your training program. Once you segregate the group you need to work out your training methodology in terms of delivery.It goes without saying that all your sessions need to have the right blend of fun, knowledge dissemination, individual and group avtivities, a healthy competitive environment, the whole group working as one unit to ensure that no participant is left alone and no one feels afraid of making mistakes, discipline and lastly creating that element of trust within the participants that you will take care of them.   You are the best judge to decide how your training program should be structured. Just follow your heart.All the best. 

anaumoska's picture
anaumoska
Submitted on 26 August, 2009 - 20:37

Hi,First of all, I must say that I completely agree with both the previous comments on the question of how to make students' classes fun but also more importantly, useful. In this context, I would shortly like to add that after much research done on the topic of motivation in EFL classrooms (and not just in my country, Macedonia, but around the world), I found out there there are several points that teachers take into consideration when preparing an English Language lesson (no matter how long it is, or what the total number of pupils in the classroom is). In fact, while I was researching the topic of motivation for a conference I attended the previous year, I constructed a questionnaire and sent it out (by means of e-mails) to many of my fellow colleagues around the world, as well as to a group of students. One of the questions that they had to fill in with only one word (or a phrase) was "What are the key words that motivation triggers in your minds?" After I collected all the questionnaires (consisting of samples of 23 EFL teachers and 23 students) and looked through the answers, these were the words (phrases) I received:achievement, active and creative approach in teaching, activation of background knowledge, balance, awareness, challenge, common sense, communication, compromise, cooperation, directionality of life force, eagerness, energy, enthusiasm (of teachers' involvement in the studies that borders on craziness), fun, goal-orientedness, hard work, ideas, imagination, improvement, inspiration, interest, joy, knowledge, mutual engagement, participation, passion, personal interest, pleasure, positive attitude, progress, purpose, rapport, skills, step forward in life, stimulus, strong desire to succeed, success, target.The word that was repeatedly used was enthusiasm.At the end of my comment, I can also add Zoltan Dornyei's Ten Commandments for Motivating Language Learners:       1. Set a personal example with your own behaviour.       2. Create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom.       3. Present the task properly.       4. Develop a good relationship with the learners.       5. Increase the learners' linguistic self-confidence.       6. Make the language classes interesting.       7. Promote learner autonomy.       8. Personalize the learning process.       9. Increase the learners' goal-orientedness.       10. Familiarize learners with the target culture.Concerning myself, I honestly try to follow these simple commandments as often as I can, mostly because of you ask me what I do in classes to achieve motivation, then I'd probably answer with these commandments! I am especially fond of the tenth commandment, as I feel that brining students closer to the target culture makes them feel a sense of belonging in the culture, which will raise their motivation to learn the language! But firstly, it's your job as a professional to get to know the group you are working with, and what a better way to do that than to first learn their names correctly and when in class always call them out by their name, not by using the second person singular pronoun "you".I hope I have helped!Cheers!Aneta, Macedonia  

Heath's picture
Heath
Submitted on 24 September, 2009 - 03:24

That's great Aneta.  I really like the collection of concepts related to movation (more valuable, I feel, than Dornyei's stuff).I've bullet pointed them, and grouped them slightly differently (and removed 'directionality of life force', which didn't make any sense to me).  Just to make them easier for me to go through checking them off.  Hope that's okay.

  • achievement; improvement; progress; success; step forward in life
  • a purpose; a target; goal-oriented learning
  • challenge; hard work
  • eagerness; personal interest; passion; strong desire to succeed
  • energy
  • positive attitude
  • teacher enthusiasm
  • rapport
  • awareness; common sense; knowledge
  • compromise
  • active and creative teachers/teaching
  • ideas; imagination; inspiration
  • stimulus
  • activation of background knowledge (ie. getting Ss thinking about the topic)
  • interest; joy; pleasure
  • fun
  • balance
  • communication; cooperation; mutual engagement; participation
  • skills

rolandgill's picture
rolandgill
Submitted on 9 September, 2010 - 09:00

Motivation is the activation or energization of goal-orientated behavior. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but, theoretically, it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in the basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, hobby, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

dave99's picture
dave99
Submitted on 8 November, 2010 - 20:23

In my opinion if you want to make your class more enthusiastic and enjoyable, the first that you must look is yourself. If you cannot provide such elemets from your character it`s impossible to pretent to be someone else. It`s not working at all. The student`s today are boring from the school at all and you must come up with something innovative in order to attend them in class. To give a accurate opinion, can you tell me their group age?
 
Dave.

juan ramos's picture
juan ramos
Submitted on 8 November, 2011 - 17:24

providing a useful context in class is a necessary to raise students motivation.....can i have some input?

Elodie34's picture
Elodie34
Submitted on 9 January, 2012 - 16:41

Hello to you all, I'm currenty studying English at a French University in Lyons ( maybe you've heard about it..) and i'd like some advice , i've got some questions about how to motivate the students and get good results. I've already observed several teachers, but they have been working as teachers for a while so as a new and very young female soon-to-be teacher, I'd like to know more. thank you for your help

Sally Trowbridge's picture
Sally Trowbridge
TE Team
Submitted on 9 January, 2012 - 18:03

HiObserving experienced teachers is an excellent way to learn about how to motivate students. You’ll find lots of practical advice for people intending to become English teachers in our teacher development section. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/continuing-professional-development/stage-1 There are lots of tips, ideas and lesson plans aimed at new teachers on our Language Assistant site. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistantGood luck with your future career!Sally

Elodie34's picture
Elodie34
Submitted on 9 January, 2012 - 18:44

Thank you very much for your answer !!I'm not a teacher ( not yet.. ) but you can make your classes fun and useful by using different types of documents for the lessons ( video, audio..) you can also try to get closer to the students by talking about what they're interested in (video games, fashion, and other stuff like that ) .. but that depends on the age of your students ? Teenagers would probably like the lesson if you talk about what they're fond of ! their favourite singers or actors you know! Always try to catch their attention...