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Community Forums The Teachers’ Room April 2018 – Motivation

April 2018 – Motivation

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    • #2694

      Anne Hendler

        The Teacher’s Room discussion area

      • #2740

        Steven Herder

          I studied Dornyei’s book about 10 years ago. I now realise how much I bought into it at the time because most of what I do at the start of the year follows his advice. Here I have taken his first stage of motivational strategies and described thing I have done in one particular sample class.

          Book Title: Motivational Strategies in the Language Classroom – Zoltan Dornyei (2001, Cambridge University Press)
          Step 1 of 4
          Create the basic motivational conditions

          1. Appropriate teacher behaviors
          2. Pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere
          3. Cohesive learner group with appropriate group norms

          Appropriate teacher behaviors
          1. Authoritative Voice
          2. Move students as need be
          3. Use screen timer to control start & stop
          4. Give feedback – Eyes, Voice, Reactions
          5. Set pace, 3:30 min per round based on timing them
          6. Give advice, for example, S.A.F.E. – System – Ask Qs – Friends – English –

          Pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere
          1. Arrive early
          2. Greet students
          3. Spritz about how they are feeling
          4. Ask names relentlessly
          5. Make jokes (notice things – alert face among sleepy faces, bad sense of direction, laughs easily, make up lady, window lady, confirmation lady, leader lady, make me blush, Start! Don’t be shy, talkative lady, nicknames
          6. Warm-up for bonding – First week good and bad, club/part-time job, first class impressions easy, interesting, etc,
          7. No text until after GW

          Cohesive learner group with appropriate group norms
          1. Change partners (by row and by snake)
          2. Ask “What’s your name?”
          3. Bonding by sharing childhood stories
          4. “Help each other”
          5. Validate individual Qs – “Ayaka has a good Q everyone”
          6. Share speaking (42 WPM) and writing datMindmapP10M)
          7. Mindmap together in pairs
          8. HW – What’s your study system? Vocabulary system?

        • #2741

          Steven Herder

            Barrel of Monkeys Game

            Team Game: 8-10 players per team maximum
            1. Simply hold one monkey and pick up another monkey by hooking their arms together
            2. Pass the two monkeys to the next student. She then picks up the 3rd monkey by hooking onto any monkeys arm.
            3. Continue like this for a set amount of time, for example, Round 1 is 3 minutes.
            3. When the time is up, the team presently holding up the most monkeys is the winner of that round.

            There is a trick to this game. There is an easy way to pick up monkeys and a difficult way to pick up monkeys. It all depends on whether you pick the monkey up by its right arm or its left arm. Doing it the correct way makes the nest monkey very easy to pick up. Doing it the incorrect way makes it almost impossible to pick up the next monkey.

            A message of the game: There is an easy way to learning, to life, to doing tasks, and a difficult way. If you can find the easy, efficient way, you will make progress quicker and perhaps go further!

            Barrel of Monkeys

          • #3104

            Anne Hendler

              During one of the sessions on Motivation, a participant shared an article called “The dark side of motivation: teachers’ perspectives on ‘unmotivation’” by Keiko Sakui and Neil Cowie.

              I finally had time to read it the other day. It’s a very short article covering the perceptions of “unmotivation” of 32 experienced university educators in Japan. The authors define “unmotivation” as a combination of “demotivation” (used to be motivated and now not) and “amotivation” (never was motivated). The teachers they interviewed perceived that there are internal and external reasons for unmotivation. The internal reasons are often individual to the student or reflective of the student’s relationship with the teacher and the class. The external reasons are institutional and beyond the control of either party (tests, large class sizes, etc). The authors suggested that teachers learn the difference between the two causes of unmotivation and focus on the one they can affect. They don’t let teachers off the hook if students are not intrinsically motivated, and their recommendations reflect some of what we talked about in the teacher’s room and what Steven has posted above.

              I was thinking about this in terms of my own context. I teach children in an eikaiwa, so UNmotivation comes in different forms. Sometimes a kid was sleeping in the car and doesn’t want to come in. Sometimes a kid had a field trip at school and is too tired to focus on the class. Sometimes a kid got into a fight with his best friend and is thinking about that. Sometimes a kid’s parents are going through a rough time and he acts out in class. Sometimes I don’t know what’s got into a kid. Sometimes I do. But the important thing is, motivation levels vary not just from kid to kid, but from day to day. As a teacher, my best bet is:
              1. don’t assume it’s about the class or me
              2. provide space and an opportunity for the kid to talk about it
              3. communicate with the parents
              4. let the kid be who they are that day
              5. don’t expect the same or different behavior for the next day (let the kid be who they are that day, too)
              It doesn’t always work, but as long as the students keep coming I have to keep trying. As I was thinking about this, I wondered if it might be a good strategy for teachers of all levels. And I wonder if it’s practical in a class of 40, or in a class where teachers might be under tighter time constraints and don’t have time to make space for students who are having a tough day. I know I’m a bit of an idealist, but I think every student can benefit from a teacher who makes an effort. It might not show a dramatic change, but I think it won’t hurt either.

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