Motivating teachers, those responsible for motivating learners – An #eltchat summary (12/12/12)

A PLN for ELT Professionals

Motivating teachers, those responsible for motivating learners – An #eltchat summary (12/12/12)

This summary was written by Chris Wilson and kindly reproduced from his blog.


On December the 12th a group of teachers gathered round their computer and mobile device screens to take part in an eltchat. Some of them where enjoying teaching, going into every lesson feeling highly motivated. Others came in need of motivating. The following text is a summary of that chat. But first I’d like to share a little video that always motivates me.



Right back to the chat.

The chat started with some introductions and welcoming from various people. @Wiktor_K was very honest about his need for some motivating.

Fairly soon we launched into what motivates people.

Motivating Factors


There was some discussion over the motivation of Money. It certainly wasn’t the main issue discussed but it did appear from time to time. @theteacherjames pointed out “I think money is  a red herring. Of course we need to be paid fairly, but there are many other factors in motivating people.” Perhaps he was thinking about this video on why carrot and stick motivation of salary isn’t always the best way to motivate people, which @JGakonga shared


@buckyacademics wondered if getting paid too much can even be negative! “Sometimes more money can lead to lack of motivation – you get too comfortable” (I’m not sure I want you to tell my boss that!)


Fairly early on people started to rave about their PLN and how it helped motivate them. @Marisa_C said “You are my motivation I think 
– having a great PLN is good for the soul”  Which @Noreen_Lam agreed with!

@Vmorgana shared her thoughts about the difference between a PLN and a Staff room “that’s why I love having a PLN, sharing is not so easy in a school staff room, I’ve often experienced the opposite


@SieAnnan remarked that “I think eltchat often motivates me to make changes for the better

A collaborative staff room

@Shaznozel mentioned “I miss a staff room atmosphere in Greece, love the UK s/room buzz” I’m sure it’s not just the UK that has a great buzz though.

@Noreen_Lam agreed and from her comments, her staff room sounds great “Support & enthusiastic co-workers help motivate! Build on each other’s energy, share ideas, praise,recognition”


Leadership was an issue that came up again and again as an extrinsic factor that can help motivate teachers.

  • Being listened to @SueAnnan “I think teachers need to be listened to by management too
  • Being respected
  • Being allowed to experiment @buckyacademics “If management are willing to let you experiment and invest in CPD, that’s motivating
  • Rewarding extra effort @Marisa_C “The problem with motivating Ts is not just about money #ELTchat it’s poor leadership which does not reward for the extra mile we take”
  • And knowing your school isn’t going down the pan all seemed to be factors @Wiktor_K “Confidence – knowing where company’s been and where it’s going, & own role in the process. That’s motivating, lack thereof – scary

Professional development

@jankenb2 “Developing a greater understanding of the underlying philosophy of your subject domain is hi motivating, like EFL, EAP or children

@Wiktor_K phrased it in selfish terms saying that his desire for self development motivated him.

Conferences (and webinars?)

There were a few mentions about going to conferences but no really quotable tweets unfortunately! Ah well.


@buckyacademics “ I agree! DELTA was extremely motivating to me. Always questioning why and striving to do better

@adaptive learning “Getting my MA online was the best career move I ever made. I had a high learning curve, but it’s opened huge opportunities

Teacher training

@Louisalix86 “I find teacher training mega-motivating as have to keep on the ball. Can never rely on old stuff.


@hartle started us of with “the main thing that motivates me is still my stds after all these years” Which many people agreed with.

Seeing a difference in students lives

@theteacherjames commented that when he feels his job is making a difference, that is motivating.

Motivated students

@MarjorieRosenbe commented about students who are interested “Also something to be said for having a captive audience to tell stories to. Motivating when they listen & respond


Shaznosel brought up something which I hadn’t really considered. When parents thank you “Being appreciated by parents and ss is what I live for as no time for chat with colleagues” It was an interesting twist after people like @theteacherjames had been complaining about being a glorified baby sitting service.


@louisalix68 commented that her volunteering really motivates her “I have 1 free tutoring session per week, mega motivational when kids turn up voluntarily after school and we see grades go up!

What leads to demotivation?

of course the other side of motivating factors is that there are things which can be demotivating and make teaching classes very hard

Poor leadership

@theteacherjames described it as “Absolutely. Poor leadership is a major cause of demotivation across a variety of occupations.

@Marisa_C made the comment about leadership “Have you  noticed how bad bosses all have very nice lives, cars, pools, holidays and Ts can barely make ends meet in some contexts”

Being over controlled

@Noreen_Lam “Demotivating when mgmnt over-control & don’t give Ts freedom 2 expt, b creative, develop selves & teaching

@Davedodgson “Personally, I find pressure to adhere to certain principles/tests demotivating

Being abandoned

@Davedodgson talked about being abandoned when problems arise “Lack of support (from colleagues and school) when dealing with problems is an issue

Not getting paid or being underpaid

Wiktor_K described it as “Money is not key – but in hard times little money translates to fewer opportunities, and less motivation, right? #eltchat”

Where as @pacogascon talked about reduced purchasing power for his classes being a factor.

@Marisa_C gave us some insight into the situation in Greece when she informed us that “Money is really important – locally hourly rates have hit bottom – so Ts need to work extra to survive”

How can we create a motivating environment

Perhaps the most controversial idea revolved around Profesional development. there was a general acceptance that us ELTchatters value CPD and enjoy learning more about teaching. However, there seemed to be a general recognition of teachers who don’t, don’t try to progress and generally try to, as @davedodgson put it, ”just do the job.”

@theteacherjames wondered if setting an expectation of doing some Professional Development and asking teachers who don’t to leave would cause a transformation.

This led to some discussion of what form of CPD and as @marisa_C pointed out, it isn’t always costly.

Intrinsic, extrinsic or no real difference?

There was some discussion about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation with @MarjorieRosebe asking what the balance was. @theteacherjames offered some ideas for each “Intrinsic – self expectations, pride, professionalism. Extrinsic – PLN, societies perceptions of ELT” @Noreen_Lam asked if we could separate them and @Wiktor_K commented that both were needed and that there was a difference between an immediate burst of motivation and longer term motivation.

@TimJulian60 set up a Facebook group for his teachers to share ideas and resources with each other and saw great results.

There was also talk about the need for Goal setting by management and reward for achieve those goals by @Marisa_C and @Davedodgson.

@hartle mentioned that working as a freelance was more motivating for her.

@DaveDodgson mentioned that Leading by example (no specification over whether it needs to be Senior teachers or peer teachers)


Final notes

I haven’t included every tweet posted and I’m sorry if I didn’t include your tweet. Sometimes someone else said the same thing but in a snappier way, sometimes I just missed the tweet and other times the tweets were completely irrelevant, didn’t engage the topic and were generally trying to distract people from the topic.

What tips would you give for staying motivated?

One Response

  1. […] by the ELT practitioners who took part in a recent #ELTchat on Motivating Teachers, summarised here. Namely, that we can be motivated (and de-motivated) by many different […]

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