Friday, 5 September 2014

That Friday Feeling

Yay! Friday! What's not to like about it?
Well, everything actually, if you're a TEFLer in a private language school where the concept of a weekend has yet to reach.

I remember feeling apprehensive about the prospect of working weekends during my first ELT gig back in 1993. The prospect of delivering seven hours' worth of lessons on a Saturday and a Sunday didn't exactly fill me with joy. As it turned out, things weren't that bad, except for the Sunday afternoon class at 3:30. I still occasionally wake up in a cold sweat about that one. Wednesdays became my de facto weekend, which was fine, apart from the fact that 1990s Turkey was full of party-loving TEFLers, meaning that a) Tuesday evenings were ESPECIALLY wild and b) Wednesdays tended to be a bit of a blur, at best. Once My Friday Feeling Mojo had been reset to Tuesday evenings, it was all pretty easy.
And the one thing that I never, ever experienced was the Monday Morning Dread. I never had that ghastly sensation of grey horror that is experienced as you know that you have to drag yourself into the office for another deadening round of the working week. I may not have always enjoyed being in the classroom, but by and large I've never had that 'oh God....' sensation. And any job that doesn't have you wishing the week away has got to be good.
Me, when I worked in a call centre.
Anyway, segueing nonchalantly into the real subject of this post, is there a way we can engender that Friday Feeling in to our learners, especially those who walk into class looking as if a monthful of Mondays just just landed on their head? Keeping up learner motivation can be difficult, and it the degree of enthusiasm someone has for learning English can wax and wane for a variety of factors, even within the course of a single lesson. In a way, we don't need to worry about those students who act as if it's permanently the cusp of the weekend, people with so much motivation that it can be exhausting just looking at them. They will, regardless of almost anything, learn, and more importantly, learn well. We also can't do a lot with the kind of student who looks as if they carry a grudge against English into the classroom - if they've decided to be against learning (which is a bit like being opposed to food), then there is really very little a teacher can do without really deep intervention.
But what about those in between? How do we influence their moods and motivation? Many educators would say 'get them copying the behaviour of the really motivated ones.' Well, yes, but that is very easy to say, but not necessarily to do. Every single student is exactly that, an individual, and what may work for one person may not work for another. We may not know all the circumstances outside the classroom that each learner lives in, and whatever happens out in the 'real' world will influence what happens within the class.
It's one of our responsibilities as teachers to be aware of possible external influences and either encourage or mitigate their effects, depending on how they affect the learners' motivation. In this respect, I think we have to lead by example: there are many times that I have had a godawful day, or week, or whatever, yet I pride myself on leaving that baggage outside the classroom and go in there as Mr Positive Vibes.
In other words, we model an example of professional behaviour that we expect the learners to emulate. This doesn't mean being manically jolly - that would soon get wearing, to put it mildly - but rather being enthusiastic, positive and realistic about the work being done in class. I believe that a lot of a learner's motivation does stem directly from the teacher's own passion for the subject.
Of course, there are other extrinsic and intrinsic factors in motivation, but I'll leave that for a different post.
Have a happy weekend - even if you are teaching the 3:30 Sunday slot.....

No comments:


Motivation (12) ESOL (11) Methodology (8) Acquisition (7) Learning (7) Portfolios (5) Dip TESOL (4) blended learning (4) dogme (4) EFL (3) FE (3) language citizens (3) language commuters (3) language denizens (3) language tourists (3) learner attitudes (3) linguistic hierarchy (3) marking (3) technology (3) #eltchat (2) English (2) Hierarchy of needs (2) L1 (2) Maslow (2) Natural Approach (2) SATs (2) SLA (2) Silent Way (2) Speaker and listener roles (2) The Language City (2) Turkish (2) VLEs (2) attitudes (2) differentiation (2) elt (2) handling and manipulating (2) iPad (2) language and depression (2) language at intermediate level (2) language city model (2) lesson (2) lesson planning (2) moodle (2) phonology and phonetics (2) smart phones (2) speaking (2) teaching (2) ALTE (1) Arabic (1) CEFR (1) CLL (1) Cadbury's Creme Eggs (1) Classroom activity (1) Communication (1) DTLLS (1) ELT Unplugged (1) ETS (1) French As An Evil Language (1) GLAW profilies (1) Higher level students (1) L1 context (1) Language Interaction (1) Observations (1) P4C (1) Steve Krashen (1) Syllabus (1) TPR (1) actuive vocabulary (1) advice (1) affective filter (1) ambiguous language (1) approaches (1) apps (1) articulator (1) aspect (1) blockbuster (1) boardwork (1) bullying (1) childhood acquisition (1) citizen (1) citizenship (1) city guide (1) classroom techniques (1) cognitive tasks (1) conjunctions (1) copyright (1) creating content (1) curating content (1) diagram (1) digital literacy (1) dimension (1) disruption (1) distance learning (1) e-learning (1) easter (1) encoding (1) english uk (1) examiner (1) experiments (1) failure (1) fossilization (1) future forms (1) grade scales (1) grading (1) grammar (1) group work (1) handedness (1) holistic learning (1) integration (1) interlanguage (1) l2 (1) lesson ideas (1) lexis (1) listening (1) literacy (1) manager (1) meaningful interaction (1) mindfulness (1) mondays (1) neologism (1) online content (1) page o rama (1) passive grammar (1) passive vocabulary (1) podcast (1) politics (1) power law distributions (1) presentation (1) problem solving (1) provider (1) register (1) research (1) resolutions (1) routine (1) sentence structure (1) silent running (1) skills and systems (1) stereotypes (1) style (1) suggestopedia (1) teacher talk time (1) tense (1) tenses (1) total bloody genius (1) tutorial aids (1) tutors (1) twitter (1) using IT (1) validity (1) varieties of English (1) web profiles (1) world englishes (1) writing (1)