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What makes an ESL student feel motivated?


Motivation is a necessity that requires satisfaction. It is a goal, a force, and a stimulus that drives within us as individuals to go ahead with the hectic life we lead nowadays.

Motivation can be categorized into two types: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is a drive that comes from within a person. People are intrinsically motivated when they enjoy doing an activity.

Extrinsic motivation is a drive that comes from outside of a person. 

How can we instill motivation in our students?

The students will perform best when we aim to motivate them intrinsically rather than extrinsically. Simply stated, encourage their already present desire to learn rather than tempting them to learn with external rewards.

What makes a student willing to learn and progress with language learning, is the motivation he receives from the teacher. The very first stimulus is provided by the teacher, the way she presents and organizes the material. Motivation should be the main ingredient within that lesson so the student can ‘’taste’’ it.

The approaches to present them are numerous but what we need to know is how to carefully select and integrate them to have motivated, skillful and confident students with a love to learn the language.

Teachers at Lisa Learning.

Teachers engage & reveal.

Finding out what their interests are, it is easier to engage them in learning. According to the age group of learners, teachers find it easy to relate topics of interest to them. Little learners are attracted by cartoon characters, games, etc. Teenagers are interested in music, films, sports, etc. Being exposed to such topics they are more likely to be engaged and learn the language.

This way we have motivated learners to talk, to communicate during the classes.  Language learners get enthusiastic when they can successfully translate their interests into words and get their expected outcomes.

Teachers integrate

Identifying their interests helps you find and integrate fun activities. Activities keep the student motivated, develop communication through interaction, avoid, and forget the struggle of learning. You can take into consideration English Club TV as a source for learning videos and engaging activities as well such as songs, games, crafts, roleplaying, etc.

Project-based learning is a fruitful way of keeping the student focused on reality by asking him to solve problems connected to reality by putting into use the language.

Roleplaying keeps the students focused and using the language in situations they encounter even in everyday life.

Teachers keep journals

Observe your students and keep track of what they are good at and what works best for them because success brings motivation.

If you know what students are more productive with and have a good time with, they will be more engaged in learning. Knowing this, you will have the motivation that comes from students rather than you. You just have to present the best ways to help your students have a good time while they learn.

Teachers provide confidence

Students learn by doing, creating, inventing, discussing. By keeping the students busy in small group activities or pair work activities we boost their motivation to participate in various tasks. Such activities appeal to different types of students by making them more reluctant later on in speaking to the whole class.

Teachers assess

Students trust their teachers a lot and expect their approval in what they do and achieve. So, do not hesitate to praise them and make them feel motivated and not afraid to challenge the barriers while learning English. Make them feel proud of their achievements in English learning.

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Teachers build communities

Taking into consideration the points discussed above we can all agree teachers build communities. Classroom activities such as roleplaying, pair work, group work, projects, etc., give students the possibility to share positive moments. This is a time when students interact, encourage, evaluate share experiences. By having this friendly and positive space, we as teachers can say that we have built a community.


The more passionate is a learner, the more successful is language learning. In today’s possibilities all around, the teachers can find ways to feed the passion of their learners. How? As long as we provide them with quality instruction, interaction, preserve their motivation, we will be successful in this aspect. Students should understand the reason they have to try, to take part in activities and solve them. As teachers, we may be the most important element in encouraging our students’ motivation, which is a key element in the language acquisition process.

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Mrs. Ardita Bazelli graduated with a degree in English from the Fan Noli University in Korce, in 2004. She is currently teaching English at Preca International College. Mrs. Bazelli has been a consistent partner and co-founder in national and international eTwinning projects in Albanian and European schools for improving technological access to education. In 2019, she guided her students aged 12-15 to win nationally recognized projects. For the last ten years, she has been teaching at the LSIA Korce branch, where she is currently helping young students learn English.