Have you ever wondered if your students really care about the exercises you develop in classes? I guess one of the most common patterns we use when designing is to think that the materials we present are “relevant” because we like them. Would all the activities we plan be meaningful for our students? Do you think repetition and transformation drills, or memorizing dialogues are attractive activities for our students?
Learners are more likely to stay motivated and participative during the class time when the activities are relevant for them. The ideal scenario would be to design activities that can address things they like or show more interest. I think it is important to know what our students think and have feedback from them in order to make their learning experience useful by meeting their expectations.
Usefulness in the MUSIC model of motivation is connected to communicative language teaching which is based on real-life situations that require interaction using the target language. ESL teachers should provide an environment with authentic and meaningful activities that encourage students to produce language with a purpose.
Dr. Jones describes in his book 4 strategies that teachers must taken into account to make students see the usefulness of the materials. These ones are:
- Explain how the content is useful to students’ lives
- Ask students or someone else to share the reasons they find the course content useful
- Design activities that allow students to see firsthand the usefulness of the content.
- Provide opportunities for students to set and reflect on their goals.
The following PDF files provide a compilation of activities that ESL teachers may include when designing and are related to the four aforementioned strategies.