“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” by ~James. B. Conant~
Listen into a Teleconference at the 3rd ELT Conference at Pontianak, Indonesia to a talk on The Keys 3 to Motivating Language Learners. This is something that concerns all teachers day to day, how to keep the learners attentive, focussed and learning.
Everyone wants to be succeed at what they are doing, whether it be teaching or learning! The key to that is “what they want to do!”. Not what another person wants them to do! To better understand that, one way of coming to it is by reflecting on the saying:
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink
As a teacher, of course you are motivated, that is why you are here! You want to learn. As a language learner, the issue is the same, they are looking to you to teach them.
Back to the saying, you may be able to motivate the horse to go to the water (you could even force it to go there, for arguments sake) but only if it wants to drink will it drink!
There are parallels in learning. Learning only happens if we activate ourselves to the task. It’s not enough just to be there. It may appear that it happens in spite of us. Sometimes it just might appear instantaneous, but really without what came before, and your presence it would not happen. It will not happen if we are not attentive. We can learn, for example, that the waiter is not to be trusted because we notice we get overcharged every time he serves us. For the person who is not attentive they will just keep on paying the excess.
I used motivate in the title in this talk as a way of connecting with the audience. However, I believe in language learning “engaging” is a far better term to use. Learning is ultimately a very personal act. The word engage describes that action much better than motivate. Engage seems to put more responsibility on the learner. And that is where it needs to be. Of course the teacher can have a role in this, which of course what we are here to discuss! 🙂
A key role of the teachers in the learning is to provide the conditions whereby the learner will get engaged AND stay engaged. There are 3 keys to this and that is what this talk is about.
You can access the live video stream here on Thursday October 20 at 10.40am Jakarta time (UTC +7) It’s a one hour session.