Motivation in the classrom


  1. Praise Students in Ways Big and Small

Recognize work in class, display good work in the classroom, organize academic pep rallies to honor the honor roll, and even sponsor a Teacher Shoutout section in the student newspaper to acknowledge student’s hard work.

  1. Expect Excellence

Set high, yet realistic expectations. Make sure to voice those expectations. Set short terms goals and celebrate when they are achieved.

  1. Spread Excitement

Show your enthusiasm in the subject and use appropriate, concrete and understandable examples to help students grasp it. For example, I love alliteration. Before I explain the concept to students, we “improv” subjects they’re interested in. After learning about alliteration, they brainstorm alliterative titles for their chosen subjects.

  1. How to Motivate Students: Mix It Up

It’s a classic concept and the basis for differentiated instruction, but it needs to be said: using a variety of teaching methods caters to all types of learners. By doing this in an orderly way, you can also maintain order in your classroom. In a generic example for daily instruction, journal for 10 minutes to open class; introduce the concept for 15 minutes; discuss/group work for 15 minutes; Q&A or guided work time to finish the class. This way, students know what to expect everyday and have less opportunity to act up.

  1. Assign Classroom Jobs

With students, create a list of jobs for the week. Using the criteria of your choosing, let students earn the opportunity to pick their classroom jobs for the next week. These jobs can cater to their interests and skills.

Classroom Job Examples

  • Post to the Class blog
  • Update Calendar
  • Moderate review games
  • Pick start of class music
  • Watch class pet
  • Public relations officer (address people who visit class)
  • Standard class jobs like Attendance, Cleaning the boards, putting up chairs, etc.
  1. Hand Over Some Control

If students take ownership of what you do in class, then they have less room to complain (though we all know, it’ll never stop completely). Take an audit of your class, asking what they enjoy doing, what helps them learn, what they’re excited about after class. Multiple choice might be the best way to start if you predict a lot of “nothing” or “watch movies” answers.

After reviewing the answers, integrate their ideas into your lessons or guide a brainstorm session on how these ideas could translate into class.

On a systematic level, let students choose from elective classes in a collegiate format. Again, they can tap into their passion and relate to their subject matter if they have a choice.

  1. Open-format Fridays

You can also translate this student empowerment into an incentive program. Students who attended class all week, completed all assignments and obeyed all classroom rules can vote on Friday’s activities (lecture, discussion, watching a video, class jeopardy, acting out a scene from a play or history).

  1. Relating Lessons to Students’ Lives

Whether it is budgeting for family Christmas gifts, choosing short stories about your town, tying in the war of 1812 with Iraq, rapping about ions, or using Pop Culture printables, students will care more if they identify themselves or their everyday lives in what they’re learning.

  1. Track Improvement

In those difficult classes, it can feel like a never-ending uphill battle, so try to remind students that they’ve come a long way Set achievable short-term goals , keep self-evaluation forms to fill out and compare throughout the year, or revisit mastered concepts that they once struggled with to refresh their confidence.

  1. Reward Positive Behavior Outside the Classroom

Tie service opportunities, cultural experiences, extracurricular activities into the curriculum for extra credit or as alternative options on assignments. Have students doing Habitat for Humanity calculate the angle of the freshly cut board, count the nails in each stair and multiply the number of stairs to find the total number of nails; write an essay about their experience volunteering or their how they felt during basketball tryouts; or any other creative option they can come up with.

Motivate students beyond the classroom!!



Task based approach

In recent years a debate has developed over which approaches to structuring and planning and implementing lessons are more effective Task based learning offers an alternative for language teachers. In a task-based lesson the teacher doesn’t pre-determine what language will be studied, the lesson is based around the completion of a central task and the language studied is determined by what happens as the students complete it. The lesson follows certain stages:

Example 1

Example 2


Using Flipped Learning Classrooms

     Flipped Learning is defined as a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.






How to teach and Use Flipped Learning Classrooms?.

Here are some tips and useful links:

  1. Flexible Environment
    Educators create flexible spaces where students choose when and where they learn. Additionally, educators who flip their classes are flexible in their expectations of student timelines for learning and in their assessments of student learning.
  2. Learning Culture
    In a Flipped Learning model, in-class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating rich learning opportunities. As a result, students are actively involved in knowledge construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning in a manner that is personally meaningful.
  3. Intentional Content
    Flipped Learning Educators determine what they need to teach and what materials students should handle on their own. Educators use Intentional Content to maximize classroom time in order to adopt methods of student-centered, active learning strategies, depending on grade level and subject matter.
  4. Professional Educator
    The role of a Professional Educator is even more important, and often more demanding, in a Flipped Classroom than in a traditional one. During class time, they need to observe students, providing them with instant feedback and an assessment their work. While Professional Educators take on less visibly prominent roles in a flipped classroom, they remain the essential part that enables Flipped Learning to occur successfully.

While the Flipped Learning model may not work for every class, the model represents an innovative approach to teaching with the potential to create active, engaged and learning-centered classrooms. FLN’s four suggested pillars serve as ways to help educators successfully implement a Flipped Learning model. 

Useful links

Flipped learning



Giving Feedback in ELT

The term feedback can apply to a number of classroom situations and procedures, but here it refers to a range of techniques employed by the teacher to facilitate responses from the students to an exercise or task.Click on here to find out more…

feedback elt

  • Top feedback tips:

    1. Try and speak to each student individually on a regular basis.

    2. Keep the feedback related to your learning outcomes.

    3. Give students an opportunity to use your feedback.

    4.  Plan feedback into your lessons. Make it regular not just at the end of a lesson.Don’t make it formulaic and predictable. Change it up – error correct at different times throughout the lesson, give individual feedback, give class feedback, get the students to give peer feedback.

    5.BOOST your feedback. This useful acronym produced by Andi Roberts can help you when giving your learners feedback.

  • Balanced: Are you including a mixture of correction, praise and study tips?
  • Observed: Make sure you feedback on something you actually heard your student do.
  • Objective: Focus your feedback on how the student performed during the exercise. Try not to bring performance in other tasks or your opinions and expectations of the student into the feedback.
  • Specific: Give the students examples of their mistakes; rather than saying you made a lot of mistakes with the past simple, give an example. Focus praise on specific performance improvement and relate study tips to the language being practised.
  • Timely: Try and give feedback as soon after the activity has finished as possible. Storing all errors made until the end of the lessons means students are less likely to remember making the error and doesn’t allow them an opportunity to have a go with the language again and improve

Teaching Tips to Improve Student Literacy

Good teachers, effective teachers, manage to produce better achievement regardless of which curriculum materials, pedagogical approach, or reading program is selected.A series of studies have confirmed what was probably obvious from the beginning. Find out more…

Balanced Literacy Homepage