Following on from his first post, 10 Commandments for motivating language learners, Tim Ward, a freelance teacher trainer in Bulgaria, takes a closer look at the first of the 10 Commandments: Set a personal example with your own behaviour.
There were lots of responses to the last blog on motivating language learners. Thanks for all that – establishing a dialogue is such an important part of our professional lives.
It was really interesting to hear from learners like Bethanyx – more from the learners’ perspective is always welcome! Many of the posts anticipate things I’ll come back to in later weeks (Paul Bishop saying that learners need to know the benefits of what they’re studying, Bindu writing about helping students think ‘out of the box’ and many more).
An interesting comment from Marluce in Rio to the effect that teacher efforts are all very well, ‘but (there is always a “but”) course books need to be used completely in my school, and we feel sometimes overloaded’. Agreed! Two thoughts. One is that course books should always be the servant not the master; the other is that some course books are better than others, and it’s important to look for ones which are right for the students.
Generally the response goes some way to confirming what I’m thinking, that there’s a widespread perception – internationally, even intercontinentally – that our job is getting harder, or at least we have to find more ways of getting through to students. It’s a perception that may even be true…
Which leads me on to the theme of this post. I finished last time by outlining the 10 commandments of motivation as described by the Hungarian researchers Zoltan Dornyei and Kata Czizer. These were what they called ‘macrostrategies’, meaning I suppose that they are kind of general rules. The task I want to move on to now is to try to put some flesh on the bones, to see how we can actually put these macrostrategies into practice (which I suppose means coming up with some microstrategies, though a large part of me prefers the term ‘specific ideas’).
Take the first commandment of motivation which says ‘Set a personal example with your own behaviour’.