Coaching and motivation

Coaching and motivation are an essential part of the learning process and should be the key to success, as they prevent students and teachers from getting discouraged.

It is necessary for students to reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses, and design  a learning plan to set their objectives and their line of action  (Learning Plan 1; Learning Plan 2). Designing this plan will require the teacher’s guidance, although it may be enriched by peer-feedback. In other words, absolute autonomous learning is not really possible, so the more support and framework students receive, the more motivated they stay.  That’s why feedback is crucial (especially positive feedback)  and the teacher’s role remains crucial.

How can teachers keep track of that learning plan or motivate students to stick to it?

Teachers can do so by communicating with students via a learning diary, coaching sessions, phone conversations, tutorials, online communities, etc.

Teachers may want to pair/group weak students with strong students so that they receive peer-feedback, advice and support. That will allow students to share what they are doing and avoid feeling “alone” in the process.

Students can also be paired or grouped with  students with the same difficulties so that they share resources, difficulties and achievements. This could be done through a variety of means: intervisions, online communication, etc.

How can students keep motivated?

‘Doing something’ with language autonomously is stimulating. Making students aware of the different aspects involved in oral skills triggers their motivation and commitment.

Students can be tutored by other students (student-student rapport): group support works and  visualisation  is motivating (eg padlets).

Students need to be given autonomy [self-determination theory (Ryan and Deci): competence, autonomy and relatedness]: Students may keep track of their progress  themselves by re-reading their learning diary (if any), supervising their progress, recording themselves and then comparing the performance.

Apart from the teacher and the students, there may be other agents coming into play. It might be a good idea to involve other proficient speakers of the target language to guide our students and motivate them.

Teachers can advise the frequency of the learning process but it is eventually up to the students to decide on their own pace.

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • involve students from the beginning so you can finetune to your students and get them involved as early as posible.

  • make the process of learning attractive eg by using gamification, recording, modern technology, apps…

  • gradually provide students with activities and sources to prevent a loss of motivation due to too many choices.

  • choose activities for the specific problem that has to be approached

  • advise students about their learning plans. They have to be feasible and workable.

  • provide a short instruction about recording possibilities for those students that are not familiar with technology. Recording your own progress is a powerful tool for individual learning

  • offer a monitoring mechanism to prevent abandonment

  • incorporate the action research process in the curriculum

  • find ways to minimise an excessive workload such as group feedback, group diagnosis, online feedback, etc.