How to motivate students to learn English?

How to motivate students to learn English?

At the very beginning, when people start doing something new, they feel inspired and full of energy. However, it doesn't last too long due to obstacles we face during studying. It's the reason of why there are so many people who have tried learning English but thrown in the towel halfway through the learning path. Even the best students can lose motivation. As ESL teachers all we can do is maintain the same level of interest. Fortunately, there are many methods how to do that. However, they are different in terms of age and kind of motivation.

Probably, you understand that we can't force people to do their homework and engage in lessons, but we are able to make them want it. Everybody knows that mastering English isn't a piece of cake, but when it comes to practice, it might be too difficult to handle by yourself. That's why it's our responsibility to provide a kick out of learning English.

Such types of motivation – intrinsic or extrinsic – may make students pull out all the stops. Usually, students have extrinsic reasons to learn foreign languages such as applying for a well-paid job, traveling, moving or studying abroad. There are way less people who feel an urge to study just because of interest and joy. However, they exist, and as usual, such a kick out of learning appears in high English levels.

Keep reading this article to find new ways on how to motivate and support your students when they struggle and lose belief in themselves.

Motivation of young learners

Despite general tips of making students inspired, we want to discuss some special things about children. As soon as you have decided to teach kids, you should understand that even they want to become fluent English speakers, they have no idea why they go to school. As usual, parents are those who influence them to study. However, nobody can force children to do what they don't want to. If you want to make kids love your lessons, there is nothing but sincerity to have good relationships.

There are some simple strategies of making young learners love education:

  • smile and be into their hobbies and interests;
  • change activity every 15 minutes to focus their energy;
  • apply physical activities to teach;
  • praise and reward;
  • encourage making mistakes;
  • be energetic and enthusiastic.

But the main thing that always works is interest. Figure out what your students love: favorite cartoons, singers, or books. Use everything that they would like to discover in a foreign language.

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How to make teens interested?

When it comes to teenagers, it might be really tricky and exhausting to make rapport with them. However, once you have done it, you will always be their friend. In comparison with children, it isn't enough to make them laugh, because they can feel powerful and take your authority of being adult. You need to keep focus on two things: how to make them diligent and engaged, and how to make them respect and listen to you. So, don't overplay.

The one problem that happens in teaching teens is that they think they are adult enough. So, give them such an opportunity to be responsible for their choice, especially when it comes to topics. As soon as they understand that they have a choice and their opinion is important, they start respect you and like your lessons.

There are effective points to become a favorite teacher in a class of teenagers:

  • provide real examples of success;
  • help them to set achievable goals and pay attention to the middle results;
  • don't raise your voice, be calm and thoughtful;
  • show you care what they think and feel;
  • encourage them rather than talk down.

People always feel insincerity, so when your students know they can turn to you for everything, they rely on you not only as a teacher but also a person.

How to motivate adults to learn English?

If you think that adults don't need inspiration and pep talks, you haven't taught before. Despite adult students know what they want and how much time and efforts they are ready to spend, they also may become desperate facing struggles. Adulthood is difficult and cruel to students, because you have so much on your plate beyond studying. So, the reasons of not doing homework may seem very urgent and important, but it's the beginning of losing motivation.

Extrinsic motivation leads to accurate results, so it's better to remind that attending lessons it's just a half of work they have to do. It's always better to spend about 30 minutes on English a day rather than hurry up and set a goal to speak like a native in three months.

As you see, tight deadlines kill inspiration and pleasure of learning the language. But you as a tutor may find a way to keep it:

  • Find out as more information as you can about yout students, mentioning something important to them, you show, you care about them.
  • Nobody likes learning rules, use problem-solving method to show the meaning of English in real life.
  • Don't forget about humor.
  • Give them a responsibility for their results.

More importantly, you should draw students' attention to what they have already achieved. Nothing but pride helps to keep going.

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Tips to keep your students motivated

While all students differ in age, they have something in common. Everyone wants to have a pleasure of learning a foreign language. If you remember your negative experience of taking new activities, probably the reason was boredom. Of course, it's difficult to have fun every minute of studying, because sometimes we need to digest new information and be attentive. And it's quite difficult to adjust a lesson to all students' needs and interests, especially if there are 30 people in a class. But as we have said, people always feel care, so try to do your best to show that you can help them to succeed if they are ready to work.


Even a typical lesson about household chores may be interesting and involving. Depending on an age of your group, you may use different ways of teaching. For example, kids love singing and dancing, teens love using gadgets and social media, and adults are into movies or news. Communication is a key, you can ask your adult students to share things that are true about their life. Also, you may assign them to find something relevant to the topic on the Internet making research. Just add something special beyond a textbook.

Playing games

Such a method is wonderful, because it fits everybody. Even adult learners love playing games, but the rules are different. When it comes to kids, there are many ways on how to engage them in lessons, more often there are physical exercises. Teens may use applications to compete with each other, or just have personal tests to know each other better and have fun. Adults are into talking, so use speaking cards and even pictures to make them practice new grammar or vocabulary. If you don't know how to make your adult students play games, you should read this article.

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