Stimulate the Interest of Middle School Students in English Teaching

By Samuel Powell,2014-10-02 15:59
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Stimulate the Interest of Middle School Students in English Teaching

    Stimulate the Interest of Middle School Students in English Teaching


     This text puts forwards the concept that teacher have to stimulate students interest both in class and after class according to their physiological characteristics and teacher’s status. The

    purpose is to let middle school student make well solid foundation in the begin stage of English study, and let them study English on their own initiative, pave the way for the English study in the future.

Key words:

    Middle school student; English teaching; interest; new standard; teaching activity

1. Introduction

     Nowadays, in order to keep pace with the rapid development of our modern society, to improve students’ ability of speaking has become the most essential thing. English teachers play a

    more and more important leader role in education area. The old teaching method maybe is not suitable for the teaching situation nowadays. It’s time to create a more suitable English education system. In the past teachers were standing on the platform and keep on talking throughout the whole class. The result is that students can not get the information effectively. On the contrary, they will feel it boring to learn English. The new standard English points out that teacher should let students learn English happily, listen and speak English freely, communicate in English more often… So now, it’s necessary for teachers to change their mind and find some other ways to make their class more lively, and help them find interest in English learning.

2. Three reasons that teachers have to arouse students’ interest.

    To help students acquire more knowledge, a teacher should arouse their attention and make them become interested in this subject. In recent years, more and more experiments show that children are different from adults in English learning. They use different parts of their brain when they are learning foreign language, which might explain the fact that children can learn English much easier than adults. And the children’s thinking is different from adults. A simple thing to an adult

    might be very complex to a child, whereas a complex thing to a adult might be very natural to a child. So it will take a adult teacher much time to learn about their students and design a suitable teaching strategy to arouse the students’ interest.

2.1 Characteristics of the middle school students English learning

2.1.1 Student’s interest is easy to be aroused

     The middle school students, especially the students in grade one, are always like playing

    games by nature. They seem curious to learn about the new things around them .Moving things (video)and strange things are more likely to have their attention. They show interests in the things that they didn’t see before. Still at their childhood, they only have a very low cognition to the

    world, whereas their desire to know more about the world is strong. It’s easier to make them interest in it if teacher can take advantage of that. English is useful today, we can see and use it in many ways. So if teacher can think it over and work hard to make their class cheerful, the students will soon love English and will learn English on their own initiative, not only under teachers order.

2.1.2 Teaching plan have to be designed from children’s standpoint.

     We always ignore students’ potential before they begin to learn another language. In fact, they have own way to live. They have already got certain experience of life. They like to know other things by their own way ,so , when grade one students are treated like an empty bottle, teacher putting all the knowledge into the bottle directly, then there must be a big problem. If a teacher task was designed from a adult’s standpoint, children may not get close to the task and will feel uncomfortable to the activity. On the other side, if teacher could design a teaching plan from children’s point of view, and can reflect children’s world, then it might be much acceptable.

2.2 Teacher’s subordinate position in English teaching

    Teacher was a leader of a class in the past. teachers used to stand in front of the class and made the speech for the class with students just sit down there and were busy taking notes. The teachers care about nothing except a quiet classroom. But what would they get? Students who behaved well might listen to the teacher carefully, and writed down the notes quickly, whereas the children who were lazy or didn’t wanted to study would do their things. Therefore there must be a small part of the class who can’t receive the knowledge that comes from teacher. Now, new standard changes

    this. Teachers should make everybody in the class move, act, and work. They should give more chances to students, and let them stand in the platform and make a speech. The main actor in the class is the students. Teacher is a director. Teachers now have to try lead the children to learn by themselves, but not force them to study. Only when the students change their position from their desk to the platform, can they have the courage to speak English out, and cultivate the interest to learn English.

2.3 The importance of arousing interest from psychology

     Interest is an aptness to know something or a desire to take part in some activity. It can become an inherent motivation. Why do people feel interested in something? Doctors have showed us the reason: interest is a kind of psychological mechanism. It may be provoked by the outside world such as strange thing or mysterious thing. One's willingness or ambition can also stimulate it. The study of psychologists tells us that a person who is interested in one thing, he will be full of enthusiasm in this aspect, and keep up his mind to learn it, then overcome all the difficulties to get to their goal. As we all know, interest can give one power to win. All the jobs about the wit depend on interest, so do English teaching. Interest is the strongest motivation force to learn English well. If a person has no interest, study will be a kind of burden for him. On the

contrary, if he is interested, he will diligently find pleasure in it. So arousing students’ interest

    and passion for English study become a hot issue. Not all the teachers can give the class a vivid lesson, on the contrary, a lot of teachers are trying all their way to make their students listen to them, but sometimes it doesn't work. So I'd like to say that there must be certain ways to have students’ attention. It also follows some principals.

    All the results remind teachers that they should try to learn the feature of students both in physiology and psychology. According to their characteristics, teachers can design some special teaching methods. As a matter of fact, students are eager to learn, and they are easy to be attracted by new things. Being Grade One students, sometimes they couldn't make decisions reasonably. They just choose what they're interested.

3. Methods of stimulating students' interests

     This article mainly set forth some focus on how to arouse the students’ interest of English learning from their ideology as well as English class teaching and extracurricular activities. The essential point is to arouse the interest and to encourage students to take part in class.

     Compared with traditional class, (teachers must be the guide, and students are positive to make notes or make sentences with some words or phrases mechanically), to create a cheerful atmosphere in class is quite important. Meanwhile, there are several helpful ways which can be divided into two parts: in class and after class.

3.1 In-class activities

     In class, a teacher must contrast a peaceful, democratic, creative atmosphere and encourage the students to make bold attempts and cooperative efforts at the tasks arranged. A teacher should train them to be ready and free to questions about their study, and develop their wide thoughts and rich imagination. Teachers can design an individual activity and try to create a relaxing atmosphere. Drawing, singing, playing games, maybe all effective methods to students, because they are sensitive to the color, melody and so on.

3.1.1 Listening to a touching song

     With the comfortable melody, students are more likely to remember words in songs. To students, their words are limited, if teachers can put new words into some familiar songs, it will be more acceptable than just recite the dull words. According to the physiologic principle,

Neuron-physiology(神经元的生理机能) research indicates the fight brain is in charge of things in

    image. It's a brain of emotion and music. Music is the key to activate the right brain. Listening to or singing English songs can mould mood of pupils, at the same time, their brain was stimulated. The right cranial nerve becomes highly excited. So that students may feel pleasant during their study. It will make them speak language unobstructed, and can develop the potentiality of brain greatly, instead of feeling tired. students will feel clear and quick-minded. According to the theory of art, appreciating English songs, when students sink themselves in the beautiful melody, their souls have been purified. Both body and mind have been mounded. Unintentionally, things that learned from art are remembered firmly. It's always efficient. It is also the art of glamour.

3.1.2 Using a lovely tongue twist

     The tongue twist is a kind of language game. It can encourage students to practice more. Teachers can ask their pupils to practice some tongue twister in order to improve their oral English, maybe once a week. A lot of learners are often affected by dialect when study English pronunciation, it's a good way to practice tongue twist to correct the pronunciation. It is certainly an interesting and effective way. English has its own pace. Cadence in pronunciation and intonation has certain attractiveness. If the teachers can combine the dull words that have certain relationship into an easy tongue twist, and complete it with teachers' own quality and passionate teaching, such as: abundant expressions, humorous language and proper manner. It will make the pupils feel they are listening to a song. The whole class will become a big performance of poem reading with melody. Students’ interest will be provoked and their listening can be

    improved intentionally. It can not only practice your tongue, but also a good way for us to know the figure of the language. Tongue twists are often created by several generations. There are a lot of excellent sentences. For examples: thank the other three brothers of their father's mother's brother's side. The blue bluebird blinks. The cat catchers can't catch cats. In the cheerful atmosphere, students acquire the knowledge at the same time; their interest and passion are aroused too.

3.1.3 Puzzles

     Each class teachers can give their students some puzzles. It cannot only test the students’ English understanding, but also can see who is smart. At the last five or ten minutes, students are more willing to try some interesting puzzles than face the dull words. It's a good way to relax and most important is thinking and learning at the same time. students can also be asked to prepare some puzzles to ask his classmate. Puzzles can be divided into several kinds according to different aspects. The following is example:(From spelling aspect: What is the smallest room in the world? The answer is "mushroom" Pupils can remember mushroom is a kind of "room".)

    Playing game is very active and challengeable. The more they join in, the more they will learn from the class and the more they can improve their oral expression. In English class, playing some proposal game can release the nervous mood. Students will also feel not so tired. Otherwise,

    during the interesting game, Students can think all the time and their passion is aroused. Then finally got what they have learned. For instance, touch game is one of them. Teachers speak out the name of the part of body. Then students touch that part as soon as quickly. Teachers can speak more and more quickly, children who couldn't react promptly will be asked to have a short performance. In this case, everyone in class can join in the game. Students will cheer up. Through this game they can review the name of organs as well as desk, pencil-box, chair, coat, sweater and a lot of vocabulary. When they are happy, they are more likely to receive information. This is the good way to learn words when they're happy.

    3.1.4Humorous words will break the dead atmosphere, so that students won't be too nervous.

     As we all know, humorous people are popular and easy to get along with. A professor in France says that it's more acceptable to speak out the truth than say it directly. Their humor can make everyone around laugh, so a humorous teacher also can gain a lot of audience. Students would rather listen to a humorous teacher than a serious one, In that case, high efficiency will be made in class. Students listening to the teacher, certainly they can receive the information more quickly. Teachers can put some jokes into their teaching activities which can make students learn form them. Jokes can also be a kind of knowledge. There must be some meaning in a joke, for smart children , they can get something from the joke. And the joke can also help the students with their English learning. Here are some jokes.

     ? Homonymy

     Peter: Tom, why do you prefer a pear to an apple?

     Tom: Because it takes two apples to make a pair (pear).

     ? Polysemy

     Teacher: Tom, how many states are there in USA?

     Tom: Fifty.

     Teacher: Enumerate them.

     Tom: One, two, three... (Enumerate has the meaning of count. It also means display.)

     ? Fixed phrase

     Teacher: Jim, why can't we lose our head?

     Jim: If we lose our heads, we will have nothing to put out hats on. (Here lose head means lose one's intellect)

     After telling these joke, the class will feel relax and easy for them to get the information which contain in these jokes. When they all pay attention to the teacher, it's easy for teacher to control the whole class so their teaching goal will be achieved quickly and effectively.

     3.1.5To dispense reward and punishment impartially

     Students all like to be praised by teacher because of their vanity. Teachers should give them more chances to show themselves. After the procedure, good students can get their rewards for their fantastic show, but those who didn't do well. Little punishment should be given to them such as telling a joke or a story to the classmate. Make use of this characteristic of students, the best result is that: good students will study harder to purchase more praise. Other students may try to gain some accolade. Everyone in the class studies hard in order to surpass the people in front of them. The class seems stepping forward all the time. But not everything will goes as our wish. Some bad effect maybe appeared. Such as good students become proud and their work don't go forward any more. The students who didn't gain any praise become disappointed to themselves and their work begin to go backward. So a very important thing is that the teacher must know every student, different method to different pupils according to their situation. Teachers must provide more chances to the students who arc not doing well in their study. More easy questions can be prepared for them to answer. Let they know that they are as good as the others. Critical to the excellent students from time to time can be needed, in order to let them see the shortcoming of themselves, and correct it in time so that they can gain further success.

     Those are some details in class. When teachers are using the methods that I have mentioned above, they have to master both the textbook and the students. According to students' knowledge level, acceptance capable and their basis, to decide which method can be used in certain period. Maybe five proverbs everyday in order to develop their confidence. Let them feel achievable by doing the class activities. Teachers can often ask questions in order to make students learn by themselves, or discuss with others, so that they won't recite boringly every day. The key is to develop their understanding. Teacher must provide more chances to let students think by themselves and put their wisdom into knowledge acquirement and solving problems. Make them feel they have gained more arid more knowledge. And they seem more interested in English study. With a long time of hard working, students will have steady interest and be eager to improve their listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating ability.. At that time, English learning is not a kind of burden, but a kind of entertainment, even a kind of relax. Everyday before the class, we can hear English songs spread out of the classroom, when class begins a student will come up to the blackboard and tell a joke to the class. Everyday on the blackboard there will be a proverb. Every month there will be a little English song concert or famous book reading. Each term, there will be an English comprehensive aptitude test. Students can take part in any activities and show themselves. Anyone who is brave enough can experience success.

3.2 After-class activities

     Teachers can't directly pass the information to their students, so how to maintain their interest and make them keep on learning after class? Here're two concepts.

3.2.1 Homework arrangement

     Teachers have to know that homework arrangement can be very skillful. To improve the quality of teaching and reduce the burden of students becomes the new goal in educational area. Too much homework will just make students machinelike. Traditional English homework is to copy the words or phrase even the text. The boring work takes away the students much pressure. Teachers have forgotten that pupils need to develop their ability of learning.

    In my opinion, homework arrangement can, be divided into two forms: oral practice and written homework. Oral practice can be finished within J 5 minutes. Read or recite the words and phrase or texts learned that day. Master the words is the first step to learn English to students. Only familiar with the words can they acquire further knowledge. Written down homework can be made up of multiple choice or cloze. It's about the grammar they learned that day. Ten topical questions each day will be enough.

3.2.2 Teacher's remarks

     Writing remarks to students' works can be an encouragement to them. Teachers' comment in class is limit and easy to be forgotten. But the remarks in notebooks can keep for a long time. When teacher is marking homework, he or she is facing everyone on papers. Witting remarks to each one can be used individually according to situation. Teachers may use word, phrase, sentence and tense as following.

     ? Word.

     Example: Good! Nice! Great! Okay! Lovely! Perfect! Marvelous! Pleasant!

     Wonderful Correct! Incorrect Careless! Unclear! Untidy!

     ? Phrase.

     Example: Very nice! Quite correct! Not bad! Neat and tidy! Well-done! Well-written!

     Far from correct! Careless!

     ? Sentence.

     Example: A: That's all right! That's ok! That's wrong. That's incorrect.

     B: It is clever of you to do so. It's nice of you to say so.

     C: You've done so well. You've made such a careless mistake.

     D: What good work you've done! What a good boy you are! How

     carefully you've worked. How nice your works is.

     E: Try to do better next time! See what you've done! Correct your

     mistakes. Don't do that again! Don't be so silly John.

     F: I found you've made a lot of progress! I think you can work more

     carefully next time. I'm sorry to see you've made so many mistakes

     in your works.

     G: Your handwriting is not as nice as Maggie's. You've done better than

     last time. You can do best if you try harder.

     H: what do you think of your work? Isn't it your work lovely? Don't

     make such careless mistake again. Will you? Let's try to speak

     correct English, shall we?

     ? Tense

     Example: A: John, you've done best of all in your class! You've made so much progress!

     B: You've doing nicely.

     C: Your English will become better if you work harder.

     D: Now you can do better than you did before.

     E: You used to make a lot of grammar mistake, but now you make less.

     ? Voice

     Example: A : You do your work well. Your work is done well.

     . B: You have made great progress in English this term. Your English has

     great improved this term.

     ? Mood and tone

     Example: A: Your English is excellent.

     B: I wish you would work harder. How I wish you could be more careful!

     C: Pay attention to your spelling. Keep at it.


     Example: Sabrina, you always do well in English, but sometimes you are a little careless. You see what you've done here. You've made such a funny mistake. I think you should correct it. Try to do your work as carefully as you can.


     Above all, it's easier said than done. As an English teacher, you shouldn't be too impatient to wait. You'd do it step by step according to the situation in your class. Try to encourage them more and give them more chances. A teacher can be a leader of a class; he or she can also be a artist, a psychologist. The key is you ran master your students. The concept in the past was: "you can't learn, let me teach you; you don't learn, I will force you to learn." It's now changed into this concept: "you can't learn, let me teach you; you don't learn, I will attract you to learn." Teaching. is a work that full of emotion and love. As a teacher he or she must try to interchange their emotion with their students. What's more, they could even become intimate friends, even set up a harmonious relationship like mother and daughter, father and son. A good teacher is credible to his students. Every teacher has to reach the best state of the teacher-student relationship. Both teacher and student will feel easy to learn. With the development of the society and the education, English teacher was no longer used to deal with the examination. It was the "mute English". Now the responsibility of elementary school English teacher who is engaged in beginning education is trying to arouse the interest of English learning and make students dare to speak English, and love to use English. So help them to have a strong foundation of good pronunciation, intonation and

    sense of the language. Only when we combine teaching with students' interest, can they be attracted by the teaching activities. When teachers get to this point, the English teaching will be a scientific one. It must follow the linguistics and the psychology development rule. While improving the pupils quality, free their individuality. So that there will be more and more talent person in new century.


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     5;通州市教育科学研究室编 1999 教育的细节与理念




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