Motivational teaching: Engaging young people in learning behaviours by Nick Thorne

Oumar Moussa Djigo's picture

As a wonderful entertainer, Nick started his show by offering chocolates to the audience who cheered and salivated at such a motivational starter. 

A good point to start his talk was to highlight that motivation is strong when predicted rewards are:

  • Highly likely
  • Happening soon
  • More worrying than alternative sanctions

Motivation is also strong when predicted sanctions are highly likely and happening soon. Therefore language learning rewards can be successful interaction, sense of progress, task completion and self-esteem. Nick mentioned the existence of demotivational states such as I'll never get it, the teacher will fail me, I'll be in trouble if I do it or not, it's too late to start now anyway, I always do this, I'm rubbish'. But once learners are on the right path towards motivation they think as follows: 'Actually I can do this, It's not that tough'... . Motivationla teaching, he said means overcoming resistance to learning by trying to think the same way your learners do.

There are several ways to motivate learners. First, make homework feasible and remove all threats related to lack of materials or confidence. Nick proposed a sample of a simplified homework paper which enables learners to carry out the task without threats or any demotivational mindset. 

Another motivational strategy is to integrate learning tasks with real world by creating authentic tasks, training students to post safely and successfully, and by uploading and sharing their work on online platforms. 

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