Motivation is one of the key challenges for successful language learning, but sometimes instructors don’t sufficiently utilize motivation. Some teachers even think they cannot play a major role in student motivation, but I believe we can motivate our students in many ways. For example, motivational quotes are a great device to inspire our students. While teaching last summer at Niagara College, I shared biweekly motivational quotes to boost my students’ ambition. They truly enjoyed them! Below are the seven motivational quotes that my students voted as their favourites.
1. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” By Margaret Fuller
Whenever my students choose this quote as one of their favourites, I am the happiest teacher in the world. This is because extensive reading is not just important for acquiring knowledge. It also enhances reading comprehension, increases vocabulary knowledge, helps improve overall syntax, and facilitates both grammar and writing development. Researchers have proven that all these benefits come with extensive reading. Learn more about the role of extensive reading in language learning.
2. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” By Confucius
This is such a positive way of looking at the language-learning process! Learning a new language can take a long time. You may notice someone else is learning a lot faster than you, but be patient with yourself and don’t compare yourself with others. Just try to remember these wise words from Confucius. The most important thing is to keep going and never give up.
3. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” By Benjamin Franklin
Such a great piece of advice by Benjamin Franklin! I always tell my students whatever they have learned in class, the best way to remember it is to practice and make sure to use it outside of class. Let’s say we’ve practised small talk. I’ll say to my students, “Okay, now it’s time for you to get involved. Go, find a person while you’re waiting for your bus or waiting in a Tim Hortons line. Say hi and start a short conversation”.
4. “A new language is a new life.” Persian proverb
This is so true! When students learn a new language, they gain a new vision/life. With language learning, one can understand the culture, food, tradition, and its people better, which helps language learners to create a new soul. For example, when I was living in China, I wanted to live my life to the fullest. Thus, I became more open-minded and immersed myself in the Chinese culture, which allowed me to enjoy myself, made language learning fun, and reduced culture shock.
5. “Language is the infinite use of finite means.” by Wilhelm von Humboldt
Many language learners think its impossible to communicate their ideas with limited language. I kindly remind them not to feel like they need perfect English before they can go out and have interesting conversations with other people. Learners don’t need perfect English to start a good talk with others.
6. “Language is wine upon the lips.” by Virginia Woolf
At first, my students don’t understand this but, once we explore the quote further, they absolutely love it! I tell my students when they’re learning a language, they should remember to slow down and enjoy the process. The language itself is often as enjoyable as the end goal. They shouldn’t frustrate themselves.
7. “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.” by Amy Chua
As we all know, many of our international students are very worried about their accents. They try everything and anything to get rid of their accent because they don’t see it as something to be proud of. When I shared this quote, they started to see the real advantage of language learning, and they appreciated their own bravery in accepting that they may speak with an accent. Just communicating is a success!
Do you use any motivational quotes in your classroom? Share your favourites in the comments below!