Teaching ESL
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Hard to keep motivated!
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Author:  Malikariverbaby [ Wed May 20, 2009 2:01 am ]
Post subject:  Hard to keep motivated!

I am finding my 11 yr olds uninspired at the moment. I have about 5 weeks left and the kids are just not interested. Experience tells me that often kids are just overloaded by this time but it makes teaching so difficult.
They are just chatting all the time and passing notes between eachother.
They are normally lively but work well. However at the moment all my lessons are bombing like a lead balloon. :cry:

Author:  Matt Dream [ Wed May 20, 2009 9:34 am ]
Post subject: 

I know what you are talking about, at certain times of the year kids just seem worn out (teachers too ! :D ). I think at times like these it can be better to read the kids, and do something that will really keep them learning, but not seem like learning. Do some new games, card games, role play games. Sing some songs, do some chants. Just anything a bit different to get their interest, and maybe not so intense as usual.

Hope this helps a bit, good luck!

Author:  mesmark [ Wed May 20, 2009 1:29 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have similar problems with some groups. Generally it's the groups the reach the top of their levels. The 5th-6th garders that run the elementary school turn back into angels again when they become the bottom rung in junior high school.

What I do if they aren't self motivated to win or complete activities is to punish them for losing :smt004

So, for example students may have to get a certain number of cards or papers (in the paper game) and then they can sit down, do their homework for tomorrow, whatever. So, those students not really participating in the activity are left at the end still in the activity while the other students finish up their homework or something.

That works pretty well to get the 'feet-draggers' into the activity and the students that actually do want to do the activity don't feel like they're being the 'geeks'.

Another option is to have all of the losers do more homework, an additional assignment or sing a song at the front of the class. But set a limit for winner and make sure the 'losers' in the activity aren't singled out. I mean, don't just make one or two kids the losers because they may turn resentful which isn't what we want.

I've even talked to some classes and explained to them, like adults, that we all have jobs to do. I'm supposed to teach them and they're supposed to study. Then I say we have one of two ways to do this. We can have fun and learn my way OR I can break out the worksheets, homework, tests, and evaluations sent home. Either is fine by me, because both are effective on this end. However, I'd prefer the fun way, but if they don't do it, I'm still going to do my job (and they're still going to do theirs.)

Of course I'd love it if the students all wanted to learn AND were self-motivated, but that's not the case in all cases. So, these ideas have worked for me. Also, the good thing is you don't have to do it all of the time. The students that this kind of tactic is designed for know they're going to get punished and will start participating without you having to do this. So, if it starts to work for you, go back to the old fashioned 'award success' strategy and that may be enough.

Good luck!

Author:  Malikariverbaby [ Wed May 20, 2009 7:37 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks guys.
I have said that after their evaluations I will reward them with a 'sport' English lesson, which I know they love and I have also thrown a Genki English Hip Hop song into the mix as their oral evaluation but they are still as high as kites. They are very competative so I think a few more test are going to head their way..revision really. They are 3 big classes of about 25 and one of them I have one my own :( :o
They are definatly in the 'too cool for school' stage and have out grown primary school.

Author:  jonmarks [ Sat May 23, 2009 7:06 am ]
Post subject: 

I colleague put me onto this technique. I've found it works - sometimes.

If the kids aren't working well, are too boisterous, are not concentrating or whatever, have a two or three minute silent time. Everybody has to be still and completely silent.

It kind of makes a break with whatever unsatisfactory behavior was going on before, and being silent is of course boring - following the lesson is at least more interesting than that.

But as I said, it doesn't always work...

Author:  Malikariverbaby [ Wed May 27, 2009 4:42 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Jon,
Actually I have had a couple of days off and am now back on form.
However one can make silence really interesting with young kids. In Montessori The Silence Game is often played just to encourage kids to listen really deeply.
But I have to say that I have made the kids stay silent just to calm them down at times :wink:

Author:  dominique188 [ Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Silence game?

Hello,

Out of curiosity how does the silence game work?

Thanks in advance for your explanation. ;)

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