Wednesday, August 15, 2007

3 Unique Twists You Can Use to Motivate Your English as a Foreign Language Learners

Motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, can be a significant factor in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes. While you may need to follow a set curriculum or course book, the learners want fun and games, if they even want to be there at all. So why not slip in one or more of these suggestions during the course of your class week? A quick break in the class routine should spice things up nicely as an aid to help liven things up and motivate your learners.

Here are seven unique new things you can try to make a class more dynamic and motivate your English as a foreign language learners.

1. Play a New Game or Do a Puzzle in Class

Go online to pick up some dynamics and activities you can use with your English classes. Some good websites to start with include: for word search, crossword and other verbal-linguistic puzzle types is good for a slew of online, but adaptable games has more downloadable games you can modify and adapt to the needs and interests of your learners. Actually, you might even have them suggest ways to “play” online games in an “offline” environment. will add greater variety to your possible offerings to the students. Don’t forget to give them some latitude n modifying of adapting games to suit their use in learning English as a foreign or second language.

2. Try some “warm up” or short dynamic activities during the class

Grab an activities resource book for a rich fountain of short activities you can incorporate into your EFL classes. If you’re using a course book series, likely it has a resource book of “extra” activities. Otherwise you might try the book “Five-Minute Activities” by Penny Ur and Andrew Wright (1996 Cambridge University Press) or any of a host of other EFL activities titles available.

3. Prepare a conversation or dialogue about something your learners like

Farr too many text series are focused on presenting a grammar point or illustrating “correct usage”, syntax, vocabulary collocations, etc. to be of true interest to many groups of learners. Find out what your learners really like and have them construct a series of “conversations” around these interests. They’ll have more interest and fun in doing so than simply “following the book”.


Introduce a snippet of humor into the class session. Try using a comic book, comic strip or a brace of jokes to evoke some “medicinal laughter” from your learners. So if your learners want more “fun and games” like mine often do, and you need to follow a set curriculum or course book, don’t despair. Slip one or more of these quick suggestions into your routine, and watch your learners light up. If you have any short activities that your learners particularly like, drop me an e-mail. I’d love to hear about it.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. For more information on entering into or advancing in the fascinating field of ELT send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, send an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

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