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Motivating StudentsEven the best teacher has days when their students just won’t pay attention. Perhaps the whole class is anxious for summer, or perhaps a few students have a hard time listening. Students never seem to focus completely all the time. However, there are a few simple ways any teacher can motivate their students. Positive energy is a key for motivating students. Educator Barbara Gross Davis tells us that students respond positively to enthusiasm on the teacher’s part. But any strong emotion won’t do to motivate students. Positive emotions, Robert Harris insists, are necessary to motivate students. In his article Motivation in the ESL Classroom, William T. Lile writes “A smile is contagious. Positive attitude is a must for a successful learning atmosphere.” Fun is a big part of positive energy. Students who are learning about something they want to learn will be much more motivated to learn grammar than students who are learning about a boring subject. Davis suggests letting students have some say in what will be studied. This is not possible in all courses, but it should be fairly simple to incorporate student interests into ESL lessons. Lile adds that problem students are often discouraged and punished instead of encouraged. How, he asks, can anyone