MOTIVATION AND THE ADVANCED LEARNER

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We all know motivation is one of the key factors in creating and maintaining an effective learning environment in our classrooms and helping our students be successful language learners. You are probably familiar with a number of different ways this can be accomplished – give positive feedback, hand over responsibility to your students and get to know your students, among other things. With lower level learners motivation can be relatively easy because their progress is visible from lesson to lesson, and this is the biggest motivator of them all.

But what about our Advanced learners?

At this stage, learners can cope fairly well with English and should be able to function decently in an English-speaking environment. They could still learn more vocabulary, use more natural language and become more comfortable using complex grammar but if they avoid unfamiliar language and stick with what they know they are likely to be able to keep away from most mistakes.

And this is the problem.

It is easy for Advanced learners to get by with the language they have without learning new language and so it is difficult to measure their progress. Advanced learners may feel they are at a standstill and may lose their motivation for learning the language.

How can we help?

Luckily there are a few ways we can help our Advanced learners.

Up the challenge

In order for Advanced learners to feel like they are learning they need to be challenged. This can be difficult at this level because you might feel stuck for ideas on what they still need to learn. Remind yourself that they are still in your classroom so they still need to learn and try to narrow down what topics or language structures they may still need to get to grips with.

Keep it real

Use authentic texts to help Advanced learners get comfortable with natural language. Using film or video clips, English songs, newspaper articles, blogs and extracts from novels will make your learners realise they can deal with authentic, natural English. This should give them the confidence to deal with these texts outside the classroom – a sure way to increase motivation.

Make it personal

Relating the lesson and the language to your learners and their personal lives is a definite way to keep your learners interested in your lessons. At this level learners are able to communicate effectively about the past, present, future and hypothetical situations so use this ability to relate the content of the lessons to their own lives.

Let them teach themselves

Finally, why not take advantage of their advanced level knowledge and let them teach each other. Assign concepts or language structures to the students and let them take control of the classroom and teach it to their peers, however they see fit.

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