Pages of the Oasis

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Teaching in Saudi Arabia Part Five: Student motivation strategies

We asked teachers what they had found worked well to motivate their students, and here is what they suggested:

Tips on how to get your students motivated:

Find out the students reason for studying and what they enjoy then work from there. But some girls here really don't want to be motivated so don't take it personally when everything you know doesn't work.’’

“Be strict. These girls are not attending university because they want to. They are attending because of social pressure and because they get paid to come. Some even come because they have nothing better to do. Its important to make the class entertaining and be very strict with discipline. These girls lack punctuality, classroom respect, and ability to be consistent in their work and submission. Its important to start off the in classroom strict and clear of expectations.’’

“Your personal relationship with your students first and foremost - I personally have found that when you make 'contact ' with your students - ie you've got to know them and have 'got through' to them - ie effective communication - you will have got their attention, and respect - you're halfway there........this helps you to continue giving them examples of how improved their lives can be it they learn English!
“Examples of how much easier job-hunting will be - how much more enjoyable travelling abroad would be reminders of how proud their parents and family will be of them.... etc’’

“Marks - real or imaginary. If you want them to do it, hang a mark on it. Sadly, I haven't found anything else - not fun, food, or anything overly English related. They do enjoy sharing info about Saudi - places to go, things to see, animals and such, and doing make-up and nails.’’

“Using realia. They get bored easily and their classes are long. It is also a new form of education to them where they have to work for themselves and think for themselves. So putting things into context and using reali life situations, makes it more interesting for them.’’

¨I have found that if students were not already motivated, there was nothing I could do. Wish there was a magic wand for this one!´´

“Being enthusiastic and persistent, consistent and not taking everything too seriously. Fun and passion in what you're talking about are infectious.’’

“Talk to students about future goals and aspirations, help them to envisage this and how English can be incorporated in their dreams. A lot of the students' want to be translators and doctors, so the teacher could demonstrate a day in the life of one of these people (via interviews on youtube etc.) and ask questions about why English is important to learn and the benefits etc. If students can see tangible results, they are more likely to feel motivated and want it for themselves. Also showing strong female role models from the Arab world. My students were inspired by a Qatari Shaykha who did a lot of humanitarian work and supported womens' rights.’’

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