The most important issue in education nowadays is to be able to motivate the students for topics which they have very little interest for. Students would like to see the relevance of these topics to life. They constantly ask themselves ‘What’s in it for me?’ as Ian Gilbert expressed in the book called ‘Essential Motivation in the classroom’. It is well known that humans learn through two things; experience or experiment and interest.
The children, at present, are bombarded with information by internet and media. They are playing games that many adults are not able to play. Their brain is developing rapidly, asking questions and reviewing the topics they learn in schools.
In the past, children had to accept what has been offered to them but maybe still questioned in their minds quietly.
In 1866 twenty-six-year-old Thomas Hardy wrote;
A Young Man’s Epigram on Existence
A senseless school, where we must give
Our lives that we may learn to live!
A dolt is he who memorizes
Lessons that leave no time for prizes
I am sure many children thought the same way at the time. Mark Twain (1835-1910) quoted “I never let the education interfere with my learning.”
In the schools, teachers teach planned Schemes of Work in curriculum time which is made years ago before the Internet revolution. Although, there are efforts to make lessons more interesting by separating into parts such as; starter, main lesson and plenary as well as differentiation by outcome and extension, to cover the needs of 30 students is the hardest issue for teachers. Teachers should also consider the learning styles of the students according to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners and make sure that all learning styles are covered.
I find it a little bit unfair on teachers to expect all these with the same curriculum which does not answer the needs of students anymore. However, teachers really try hard to provide the best education possible in schools under the circumstances.
To motivate the students, one of the most significant ways is to get to know them. Teaching and learning are personal, it is not about business. It is about the goals, expectations, self esteem and family life. It is about the relationship between student-parent and school.
When I ask some of my students about what they would like to do when they finish school, the answers can be quite daunting. Although, they are high achievers in school, their parents may expect them to start working a.s.a.p.
For teachers overcoming these barriers and developing the parents’ ambitions are tough tasks, but it needs to be done. Parents’ attitude to learning affects their children’s attitude to learning.
I believe motivation should start from home and continue through relevant teaching resources at school. However, in the meantime, teachers need to be motivated as well! They need appreciation and courage to deliver excellent lessons. Let’s not forget about that!!