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student motivation 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:27 pm
Posts: 29
Location: japan
Post student motivation
Any ideas on how to make jr. high school students in Japan motivated.
I'd like them to feel it's important to learn English. I imagine every teacher teaching any subject needs to show the students why it’s important to study a particular subject.

I've tried different activities or games Jeopardy or interviews; I've also tried awarding points. To get them motivated but I just can't seem to get past that English class is something they just have to do because the school makes them attitude and they don't seem so interested in education right now. I can understand, when I was 12 or 13 I don't think I went to school with I'm going to learn today on my mind.

Outside of giving cash prizes does any one have any ideas on how to make English important to their lives?

Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:42 am

Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:51 pm
Posts: 28
Do they enjoy western movies or music? I know Koreans are mad for karaoke (noraebang) and like to sing western pop music. This helped a lot as they were keen to get the words and pronunciation correct when they got the microphone!
Are you able to take them out of the school? It might not be appropriate to older kids, but the younger kids I taught loved lessons out around town and we would make it a task to find all the English words they encountered on the street. We would also make questionnaires for them to "interview" any non-Korean that they met..

It's a toughie that one; you can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:07 am

Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:14 am
Posts: 75
Location: Nago, Okinawa, Japan
The question still eludes many of us... I have been trying just about everything but I have learned that you can't reach all of them with a single method or style. My best advice is don't give up on them. I had a student come back to me this year from the very first year I taught English. I didn't remember the student but he said that after he got to high school, he realized how much I cared and how much effort I put into my classes. He said that he wanted to thank me for not giving up! So, don't give up! Try one thing and then another, and another, and another.....

Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:23 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Well, like cesar said, you are reaching them. Even if they are not responding.

They are like energy black holes at times and the important thing is to stay with it and keep giving, even if you don't get anything in return. You'll probably see a lot of them appreciate you and your effort outside of class. That's generally when they express their excitement.

It also helps to be the biggest fool in the room. Most of the teachers I work with tell me it's like watching a show when I'm on stage, I mean teaching. I teach at an energy level matching Richard Simmons, Pee-Wee Herman with a dash of Mr. Bean. By being insane yourself it helps the others to join in and they don't stand out. Well, not compared to you.

You don't need to do that, but just stay steadfast in your energy level and don't rely on them to bring you up or feed your fire. Trust me that they enjoy the class if you do.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:03 pm
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 3:59 pm
Posts: 42
Yes, that is a tough one. I can relate a lot and support what others have said -- that no one method is tried and true, is it? ;-)

Perhaps considering both the students' interests and your own...For me, just asking about my students' culture and interests sometimes peaks their enthusuasm. Then, my lessons kind of evolves into mutual sharing, instead of me trying to impart "Western culture" onto them (not implying that you're doing that! -- it's just a feeling I get from some students when I just start talking about my home without asking about their's first).

They mightn't have curiosity about learning or the west, but there's something that they're experts about -- themselves, video games, their culture, etc., maybe? Sometimes I even play "dumb teacher" (and sometimes I'm not pretending!) so that I can ask questions and try to get students to help me. And, I act silly, too, but I am silly naturally. :-D

Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:26 am
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