The fall semester is beginning, and students are preparing to return to the routine of homework, all-nighters, and cramming for exams. The feeling of a fresh start that a new semester brings increases the motivation many students feel to apply themselves to their studies and succeed in their education.
There are two types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is an internal motivation driven by a desire to learn a subject or master a skill out of inherent interest and enjoyment. Extrinsic motivation is motivation to master a skill for the sake of achieving a specific result or goal. While extrinsic motivation can be effective in driving students to learn material and earn good grades in the short term, studies have shown that extrinsic motivators for success can reduce students’ intrinsic interests in the subject or skill. Following are four tips to help students develop intrinsic motivation to retain the knowledge and skills they gain in your class for the long-term.
Show how the lessons are relevant to their lives and future careers. Students are much more likely to want to study and retain the material once they understand how the information will be useful to them. Show them examples of how concepts can by utilized in their personal and professional lives.
Have students set performance goals. At the beginning of the semester, have students write down what goals they would like to achieve in your class by the end of the semester. Tailor assignments to these interests, and periodically check in with students to have them evaluate their progress and adjust their goals to the appropriate level of challenge if necessary.
Give students options and control over their education. Give students options in their homework assignments and projects when possible. Let them choose topics for essays and research papers, and types of presentations for projects, whether it be PowerPoint presentation, oral presentation, video, or written report. Also use a variety of test types, such as multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short essay. This gives students more control over how they demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter to you.
Foster a sense of belonging in the classroom. Students are more likely to be engaged and intrinsically motivated in the course if they feel a connection with their instructor and peers. Be warm and welcoming towards your students and make an effort to get to know them individually. Also, encourage class participation and create some group activities in order to prompt students to learn from and get to know each other.
Labyrinth Learning’s full solutions provide a variety of materials to engage students and motivate them in their studies. Contact us today to learn more.
As internet usage has become so pervasive during the 21st century, it is highly beneficial to incorporate skills in navigating the World Wide Web into ESL courses. In additional to developing technology skills that will be critical to their success of ESL students in school and/or the workplace, the web is an excellent tool for enhancing their language and literacy skills, as well as their professional skills. Following are ways in which incorporating web use into your lessons can aid in developing your students’ language skills and employability skills.
There are a number of websites for English language learners that contain lessons and exercises in grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. You can provide these to your students for them to use as supplements to their studies outside of class.
Clicking hyperlinks help with reading skills by connecting the hyperlinked words, phrases, and images with further information on these elements, reinforcing their meanings.
Reading web pages can help with prose literacy and understanding graphs, charts, and tables, especially if you review the vocabulary beforehand and choose websites with images and graphics that make it easier for beginner ESL students to understand.
Writing responses to what they’ve read on the web, such as requesting information, sending an e-mail, or filling out a form, requires students to be able to comprehend and interpret the information they’ve read.
Computer activities can help facilitate oral communication between students. Studies have shown that learners want to discuss their computer research and what they’ve learned with their peers.
Watching videos and listening to audio files online can help with listening comprehension, as these can be easily replayed as many times as needed for students to understand the content.
Gathering information for specific topics gives practice in research skills.
Group assignments using the web gives students experience with working in teams, delegating responsibilities, and coming to a consensus.
All of the aforementioned activities and more help improve skills in problem-solving, analyzation, evaluation, and critical thinking to sort through information found on the web and separate good information from the bad. They also develop and solidify students’ technology skills.
Your students’ experiences with computers may vary, so before they can begin these activities, you may need to teach them the basics of computer and internet usage. Labyrinth Learning is releasing its fourth edition of Welcome to Computers for ESL Students textbook and workbook on Wednesday, August 12. Contact us today to learn more about our full solutions for this title.
A small but significant number of immigrants who arrive to this country are elderly. Older learners can be defined chronologically, as between the ages 40-65, or by status, as midlife career changers, retirees returning to the labor force, displaced workers, and homemakers. While, contrary to popular belief, adults can learn language in the early stages more quickly than children due to more highly developed cognitive strategies for processing information, many older learners still have different learning needs from younger adult learners that should be addressed in ESL programs. Below are some factors that can affect their English language learning in the classroom, as well as strategies for working with these factors.
Visual and hearing disabilities: Aging tends to affect sight and hearing, which can make it difficult for older learners to hear the language as it’s spoken or read their lessons. Create a more comfortable classroom environment for older learners by keeping the room well-lit, using textbooks and other reading materials with large print, and reducing any background noises as much as possible.
Learning styles: Older learners have often become set in their ways with regard to the different learning styles they have developed over the years, so it would be beneficial to use a more flexible teaching approach. Observe how your students learn best, draw on their life experiences, and use these tools to further engage them in learning English language and literacy.
Personal and professional needs: Many older learners are not learning English as part of the goal of earning a degree or certification. Instead they’re learning it to gain access to information and services, for work, to interact more fully with other English speakers, or to communicate with family members who do not speak the learner’s native language. Focus the lessons around practical everyday tasks like making a doctor’s appointment, or on interactions with family, friends, and their communities.