Since I remember I always wanted to become a foreign language teacher. Firstly, I really dreamt of teaching very young learners, but when I did an apprenticeship at a primary school I realised that working with young children requires patience and patience.. Yes, that was something I really wasn’t able to get. So then, I stumbled into the vocational school. I believed that working with almost adult learners will be easier and nicer. On the one hand, that is true. Teenagers know what they want and they know some rules – not only the school rules but they behave in an adult way. They are responsible, polite and, what’s the must important for me – they aren’t noisy… But on the other hands it is much harder to motivate them to learn because they are almost adult.
Generally, I have been teaching a foreign language for about five years. From my point of view I can say to everyone that being a teacher is a real challenge. Students from the vocational school are eager to talk about everything – about their private life, cars, girls etc. So then it is very difficult to motivate them to do anything during the lesson. It seems to them that they know everything and they will pass A-levels just because they have been learning the same subject for almost ten years. However, teaching adult learners is connected with more significant skills which they must acquire. Preparing learners to A-levels is linked with learning some phrases by heart, speaking in real context and writing some compositions e.g. formal letters, essays. As many language teachers, I also would like my students speak fluently without any fears of using language in a real life.
Like banging learners’ heads against the brick wall…
I sometimes think that everything in the classroom is more important then me or books. Everyday teachers take the battle with technology on. Each of students has got a tablet or the newest smartphone. They talk about some technology news, imaginative computer games or another interesting hobbies. So I will beg you a question: How to motivate learners at vocational school?
I am often relieved that I am not alone and almost each of teachers around the world must work on their own ways of students mobilization. The most important word in the previous sentence is “own” because everything we do at school as a teacher is connected with our personality, approach to the manner and personality of our students. We can’t copy any rules or ways of teaching from the Net or books.
I am not going to give you some ways of motivation of young or adults learners but I’d like you to write down your ideas in the comment area below. I would like to draw your attention to one important thing. I met with situation in which teachers demotivate learners by giving them bad marks just because they are in a bad mood. It seems to me that tutors want to motivate learners through some punishments. For instance, if the learner doesn’t do the homework, teachers always give the worst mark. But what if the learner didn’t know how to do that? Or what if learner has any problems? It is worth knowing what’s happened and what’s the reason of the lack of homework. Let’s think about your work and contact with your learners. Students live the same lives as yours.