The greatest challenge that many teachers face is to make their students want to learn.

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It can be a challenge, but hopefully a teacher can make it interesting and engaging maybe relating it to something they might find interesting. For example students learning about interior design, maybe ask them what their favourite band singer might have their room like? 

I try to relate the learning to something they might have an association with or to, hope this helps

It would be great to learn what others think as it is a challenge

Yes, I agree with you Anita, it can be short-term motivator which is more powerful for younger learners.What they are learning is then more interesting and appeals to their curiosity and also can be fun.

Hi Sylwia

I agree with Anita it is our job as teachers to make the subject engaging and interesting to all students. I believe that if you are enthusiastic and passionate in the way that you present the subject, learners will pick up on this and in turn share your enthusiasm.

I find it hard to motivate an older learner though, sometimes they are so set in their ways, when working within a creative subject and are not happy to expand on new processes or concepts within Art & Design. Does anyone have any suggestions on this ?

But I would never force a student to do something they are clearly not comfortable or happy with.

I agree with you Anita. I have several older students in my numeracy class. They have often had bad experiences from their schooling days and are reluctant to take risks for fear of failure or exposure. I try to make the class environment very safe by reassuring the students that making mistakes is absolutely fine, infact, a very healthy step when developing numeracy skills. As Ann suggests, I always try to use examples that I think my students will be interested in to help make the subject more relevant to them.


Some mature students want qualifications for a career and this is a long-term goal for them but very often teachers have to deal with older learners who do not see the point of working for qualifications. Without  a long term aim for their learning students become demotivated, to avoid this it is important that teachers underline the purposes of learning what they are teaching. Teachers need to SELL what they are teaching by explaining, showing and giving good examples of people who were in the same position as them in the past and what they have achieved by studying can play a crucial role in  students' motivation.

A recent book I have been reading  "Essential Motivation in the Classroom" by Ian Gilbert, suggested a really good approach to motivation, and its asking the question "What's in it for me?"  The author suggests that the brain is hard wired for survival and as such will question if it is essential to learn what is being offered inorder to survive. Therefore understanding 'why' it is important to learn something before you get to 'how' seems like a logical approach to me. What do you think?

To be convinced of the purpose of learning, learners must look at the world outside their school or college.Trips, visits, visitors and work experience can all contribute towards students' learning thus make it relevant and purposeful.

Yeah I'd agree Ann, within my own learning I want to know if what I'm learning is going to benefit me for my future goals, 'what's the point' of doing this. It can help to know what students goals are and then when teaching keep this in mind if students aren't paying attention, if they don't see why what is being taught will benefit them, they may not engage in the subject.

I think in post 16 study it's more challenging now as people need to stay in education until they're 18, and they may not always want to be there, but as Theresa has said, previous bad experiences can follow students and it doesn't seem to matter what age people are, the bad experiences will make a great impression until better ones replace them.

I think understanding your students, why they're there and what they want to achieve will help in motivating students to learn. Challenging their perceptions about education and maybe needing to show them it doesn't always have to be done in the same way, showing students them as an individual matters.

Learning is not something done to students but something students do to themselves. Yes I agree with you Andrea that understanding the students can help with encouraging them and also help students to realise that they must teach themselves with teachears help. As Hannah has said, it is worth talking one- to -one with learners in order to know them better as well as to encourage them to take more responsibility for their learning.

I find that within private one-to-one tutorials students are able to express what their concerns are, what they hope to achieve on the course, their interests and difficulties. This gives the teacher a clearer image of who their students actually are, and hopefully teachers can then adapt their planning to become more inclusive and engaging. I agree with Andrea, that if you can show your students that you are open minded, communicative and creative within session planning learning is more likely to be a successful partnership.

We can't.  We can simply provide the platform and a selection of information from which they can pick and choose.  And, if that platform is interesting enough, they will want to return...  Curiosity is what we have to capture.

Teaching is the physical manifestation of optimism... (and we have to recognise that) otherwise we could become very disappointed.



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