There are days when you can walk into the classroom and the students don’t even notice. They may be busy applying make-up, chatting with their friends, or even napping in class. Many new teachers struggle to keep their students motivated in class, let alone for the duration of the semester. Here are some tips that will help you keep your class interested and engaged:
Find out their interests
One of the primary reasons why students can lack interest in language learning is that the topics being taught aren’t relevant. Take the time to find out what your students hobbies and interests are and try incorporating those into your lessons. One idea is to hand out a survey at the beginning of the semester.
Have students fill out a form that asks what they would like to learn in the course, what topics they would like covered, and what their pass-times are. Of course, as a teacher you’ll still need to cover certain parts of the curriculum, but you can make these more relevant by incorporating the information the students shared with you in their surveys.
Students like to know their teacher beyond their role of ‘teacher’. When I think back on some of my favourite instructors, teachers, and professors, the ones that come to mind are those who shared little aspects of their lives with their students. Bring personal anecdotes into your lessons, or share what your language learning experience was like. Students will be able to connect with your experiences more than you expect, and this will ultimately help them engage in the lesson.
Ensure that they are in the right level
Lack of focus and motivation can often times be a result of students being placed in a level that is not right for them. If they are placed in a level that is too low, they will zip through their work and then be bored out of their minds by the information being taught. If they are placed in a level that is too high, they will wonder how to learn English as they lack the foundations they need. Ensure that your student is in the right level; sometimes this may mean switching classes early in the semester, but in the end, it’s in your student’s best interest.