How to promote students’ motivation in learning English

Contributed by Ms. Duria Salih Mahmoud
MA English Language
ESL Instructor – Prep Year
Taibah University, Al-Ula Female Campus

“If there is a job worth doing, it is worth doing well”.

What is motivation? Motivation is a combination of effort plus desire to achieve the goal of learning the language. It plays a significant role in the process of learning a language & it improves students’ self-motivation.

Student’s motivation is influenced by internal and external factors that can intensify or discourage it.

  1. Intrinsic motivation: The urge to engage in a learning activity for its own desire.
  2. Extrinsic motivation: The individual’s motivational stimuli are coming from outside.

Points to keep in mind:

  • Create a comfortable, friendly, pleasant, relaxed, and supportive atmosphere in the classroom.
  • Give verbal and non-verbal rewards. Ignoring showing praise, encouragement or appreciating students for their efforts can erode their confidence.
  • Provide a real life situation and set a goal for learning.
  • Look for a communicative situation which brings language to life in the classroom, e.g. games which can link language with action.
  • Keep everyone involved, active, interested and participating.
  • Develop a good relationship with students.
  • Promote learner autonomy, taking into account individual differences, interests and expectations.
  • Learners must believe that they have some control over the outcomes because of their performance.
  • Use strategies like brain storming, previewing etc. to create motivation in the class, start from the previous knowledge and link it with the new lesson.
  • Give positive feedback and reinforcement to increase students’ self-confidence, competence, and encourage positive self-evaluation.
  • Encourage students to relate their classroom experience to outside interests and activities, e. g., use some apps for learning English as a means to facilitate conversation, learn, and have fun.
  • Provide pair and group activities to develop students’ confidence and collaboration.
  • Develop your teaching strategies & create appropriate & varied teaching methods.
  • Respect students as learners.Don’t be critical of your students.  When students make a contribution or attempt to answer a question acknowledge their effort and respond in a diplomatic way.
  • Correct errors with compassion.
  • Show students that you care about them and how well they are learning the subject matter.
  • Help them analyze their strengths & weaknesses & offer tools to help.
  • Ask students to analyze what make classes more or less ‘’motivating’’.
  • Avoid creating intense competition among students.
  • Be enthusiastic about your subject.
  • Encourage Students to Personalize the Classroom Environment (e.g., cover the walls with colorful posters or arrange their classroom in the way that would make them feel most comfortable).
  • Provide opportunities for students to experience & celebrate their success.


  • The major factors in students’ motivation are the teacher (attitude , i.e. set a personal example of how they should behave), the teaching method, and the learning environment.
  • The issue is not “How can people motivate others?” but “How can people create the conditions within which others will motivate themselves?”
  • Useful link:

You can access the power point presentation here: