Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL


  1. I think every teacher/school does wrestle with this. I do believe when emotional needs of students are met, they are more likely to be motivated. Letting them know “You Matter” and “I believe in you” is the foundation to motivation. Every student is different and requires a different approach. A quiet, “I believe in you”, a quiet “You can do this”, a quiet “How are you today?”, a quiet “Thank you for your thoughts today” – anything to let them know you care and they matter to you is motivating.

  2. Hi folks, I think that Mnewtown has some very good points. I would like to add that I am doing a lot of research on this topic. I’m a doctoral student in learning and instruction. I’m also a special educator, who often has students that have difficulties with the “traditional” curriculum. One of my professors, Mathew Mitchell believes that adding situational interest to lessons can increase student engagement significantly. There has been some research that supports his claim.

    Personally, I’m interested in exploring how to individualize by the students interests, i.e. if the kid is into race-cars, make the math worksheets with pictures of racecars, or use word problems that involve the sport. You can even ask the students to design the word problems to give to their classmates. Or have them read (online or checkout a book) and write a summary or report of what they have written. I’m currently doing this with short Encarta Encyclopedia articles with fairly good results.

    I know that’s very difficult to implement some of these ideas in a general ed classroom, but just giving choices such as how they will present what they have learned— via written, artistic, multimedia may help a lot. Also giving them choices about working alone, or in small groups may prove motivating.

    And yes, I use carrots and sticks as well. I have a contingency contract on a daily basis. If my students do their work and “behave” they earn computer/free time twice a day. Some kids need extrinsic motivators, whereas others can live on the intrinsic pride in themselves. But even an occasional high five or “good work!” , though “extrinsic”, can do wonders for kids in need of praise/and or attention.

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