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Student Motivation

Student Motivation based on educational levels and interests 

Diary submitted by Prince, Madrid.

To begin off, this TEFL internship has given me a great learning experience totally different from any of my former teaching experiences. I got the opportunity to teach students of different aspects of the educational levels and interests. Bulldog Languages was my host language school and they already had a system in place. In this school, students had to do a listening activity for 40minutes after which they had a 40minutes speaking and reading session on a one on one basis with native speakers (teachers). At this level, teachers are supposed to engage students in a speaking session asking questions about the text.

Most of my students were either undergraduates or postgraduates needing an English certificate as part of their educational requirements. They were adults and mostly were serious to attain a certain level of proficiency making it easier to organise the class. On one occasion one student who was a dentist offering a masters in odontology told me she needed to get a C1 certificate in the CAE in order to be able to practice her profession in the UK. This was a student who was eager to achieve something and came to classes regularly and very well prepared. She had all her assignments completed in time and always came with a set of questions from previous or researched/ self-studied topics needing corrections and explanations.

Background information of students needs or interests; was the laid down procedure really important?

In this situation, the laid down procedure had to be abandoned and based on my experience from the platform I had to reorganise the class keeping the balance whilst using the student’s point of interest to drill and draw out more speaking from her. Here through constructive explanation and induction I guided the student to deduce the grammar and construct other examples based on her needs (health English). This resulted in an all-around results where student practice their speaking session whilst learning. Students were then encouraged to continue on a deep research on a grammar session to be discussed on the next day.

According to James A. Middleton’s approach on ‘intrinsic motivation’, student’s motivation were focused on five main pillars. The first most vital pillar which tend to focus more on the topics which they find more interesting by their own judgement. In cases like this, the classroom management had to be reorganised to suit the student needs bearing in mind my target of making the student speak more.

In conclusion, this proved to be a challenge sometimes since the school had its laid down procedures and teachers tend to have less information about their students thanks to the rotations system. I would suggest there should be a consistency or a pre-information of students needs or aim given to teachers before classes or the section began.

References:

  • James A. Middleton, “A Study of Intrinsic Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom: A Personal Constructs Approach,” Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Vol. 26, No. 3, pages 255-257.
  • Matt DeLong and Dale Winter, Learning to Teaching and Teaching to Learn Mathematics: Resources for Professional Development, Mathematical Association of America, 2002, page 168.

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