"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" Winston Churchill"

Being afraid of failing is probably one of the most common challenges students have when learning a new language. This usually happens in almost all the classrooms when we see students who sit in the back, do not participate too much or remain quiet during the whole class.

I remember when I was learning English, I had this feeling of "Everybody is going to laugh at me if I participate ... I will let the smart guys do the talking" If you learned a second language as I did, you may understand this as well. This and many other thoughts are in our students' heads and they probably think they will never learn correct grammar, have good pronunciation or understanding the language.

Success in the MUSIC model of motivation means helping students see that they can learn the language and failure is part of the learning experience. Designing to make students believe they can succeed is providing opportunities to our learners to feel confident using the target language.

Dr. Jones points out that students' success beliefs are affected by their previous experiences (whether if they were positive or negative), observing other students in the classroom, the feedback they receive and their emotional reactions to the activities (anxiety, confidence, challenge. etc.)

Dr. Jones describes in his book 4 strategies that teachers must taken into account to make students feel successful. These ones are:

  • Help students believe they can succeed at course activities when they put forth the required effort.
  • Make the difficulty levels of class activities and assignments with the abilities of the students.
  • Provide students with honest, specific feedback about their level of competence at regular intervals.
  • Be explicit when describing your expectations and communicating to students.

The following PDF files provide a compilation of activities that ESL teachers may include when designing and are related to the four aforementioned strategies.