Motivating Students and Setting Goals

Motivating your student or students is no easy task; yet, motivation level is often the difference between short-term and long-term students.

Help keep your students motivated by:

1) making sure that the class environment is fun and interactive.

2) focusing on lessons that are relevant to your student’s life.

3) helping them set and achieve “mini-goals”.

If you are using the Intercambio curriculum or actively using other English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) resources, the first two ways tend to be much more straightforward than the third. At the same time, goal-setting is an extremely important factor in student motivation. According to a study done by theNational Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, the number one factor that kept adult ESOL learners motivated was an individual’s ability to set and achieve goals related to the course material.

Help your student outline specific goals at different times throughout the course, such as at the beginning and middle, or each week or two of class. Have him or her write these goals (can be in their native language if necessary) somewhere where it will be easy to refer back to them (inside cover of the book, etc). Goals should be short-term oriented. If your student struggles to come up with his or her own goals, give them a sample list. For homework, have them reflect upon the goals and pick the most important ones for his or her learning.

For example:

  • I will do my homework every night.
  • I will listen for three new words on the bus, write them down and look them up.
  • I will review one page of the book each night.
  • I will tell myself: “I can do this!”
  • I will try to think more in English.
  • I will use my English outside of class (Where? When? With whom?).
  • I will pay attention in class.
  • I will learn one new word each day.
  • I will watch 20 minutes of TV in English three times a week.
  • I will study one hour on my own when I need to miss a class.

What successful strategies have you used for motivating your students?