What is that motivates us? How do we motivate others? For me it’s one word – passion. One of the most motivational people I have met to date in FE is Nikki Gilbey and it was Nikki’s passion for her job that gave you that ‘can do’ feeling. You can read Nikki’s thoughts on education here www.https://feteachingthoughts.wordpress.com Although I do consider myself lucky as this is spread across the board in my college, from the top down there are people that have that ‘can do’ approach.
I wonder if anyone remembers the good old days when to motivate students you commanded them and they did as they were told through fear? That is how I was taught, that was my motivation, if I didn’t do as I was told I got a beating. Thankfully we now find other ways to motivate.
We know that completion a course is not always motivating enough, hence innovative ideas are always sought out. Something that will give someone that desire to complete, but complete with the highest possible grade. Some people underestimate feedback, if feedback is bland and obviously written as a stock phrase then it will not motivate a student. Whereas feedback that clearly states a genuine desire to help them achieve may give them an extra boost. That to me is half the battle. Students can be motivated simply by understanding that it actually matters to you if they achieve and that you believe in them, rather than just doing your job or that you are aiming for higher statistics.
I find some students give up easily because they have always failed, they are used to failing. In over stretched schools they can escape/disappear within a classroom. Hence their poor literacy and numeracy grades.
So how to motivate them? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has to be top of the agenda, we all know what that means. We have smaller classes in FE, we can do more one to one, we can motivate at group level and individually. But, we need to be passionate, we need to deliver with a passion, we need to sell the subject. I was asked by one of my students if I get bored teaching the same old subject. My answer was no. I love construction, I love the problems it can bring and the never ending solutions that we, as construction workers, discover. I love to debate with so called intellects and academics when they sometimes state that construction workers are thick. Pointing out that it would be difficult to develop nuclear fusion or antibiotics in a field or a cave. Everything people live in, work in, study and learn in was built by us. I explained that I was glad he had expressed a wish to be part of that industry and in a few years time he will be the one building all those things.
He replied, “A simple no would have done, Charlie.”
Hey ho. 😉