This blog post reports from the APPI 2012 conference in Coimbra, Portugal.  The theme of the conference is “Motivated Teachers make a difference” – I’m updating as I go, so apologies for any typos, I’ll try and clear those up later.

Scott Thornbury – It’s getting better all the time: Motivating Teachers

Quotes from the abstract: “Teachers typically start out full of illusions, but faced with the reality of their day-to-day work, this intial enthusiasm can soon turn sour.”  Oh how we all recognise that feeling I’m sure!  I’m looking at the title of the session and wondering whether the next line of the Beatles song has some part to play in all this:  “It can’t get much worse…”!  Abstract continues:  “It’s possible to retrieve some of that initial motivation by taking some easy steps towards personal, professional development.”

Looks like we’re about to get underway…

Scott’s managed to find a 1935 English language textbook in a Coimbra bookshop – an interesting insight into the teacher student relationship.  Also, the way the lesson was presented, to me harks back to direct method pedagogy.  An interesting vignette!

A nice video of a pre-service teacher talking about the reasons why he wants to be a teacher.  Some cynicism in the audience….

Lots of reasons why teachers are stressed out:  quoting Mike J Harrison’s blog post on teaching conditions.

The marketisation of education – terms such as outsomces, value added, knowledge transfer

Life cycle of teachers (generally):

  1. Novice – surviving, feeling out of depth and incompetent / stressed out about the additional paperwork.
  2. Mid-career – stabilisation, experiementation, taking stock
  3. Late career – serenity, disengagement
And within ELT:
  1. starting out
  2. becoming experienced
  3. new horizons: professional development
  4. passing on knowledge

Beliefs and attitudes that people hold about themselves are the most important drivers.  Teachers who possessed positive attitudes about themselves

Question to the PLN: What motivates you as a teacher?  Do a quick twitter hashtag search for #motivatingteachers for the PLN responses.

Quotes:  Atul Gawande “Better” and the struggle for

Ask an unscripted question – ask a question about themselves and their learning:  needs analysis techniques that move beyond the prosaic needs and think about ‘living’ in English.

Don’t complain – complaining never solves anything just depresses you.  Be prepared with something else to discuss (fallback topics).  Keep the conversation going.  Now plugging #eltchat as a means of having that conversation woth likeminded individuals and a

Count something.  Be a scientist – If you count something you find interesting, you’ll learn something.  This is the action research cycle, and arguing for peer observation / self observation / videoing your own classes.  (things we might want to look into….?)

Write something:  writing is a reflective process and by writing for an audience (i.e. blogging?)  you can get feedback on your ideas and problems.  Also discussion boards are a good source of feedback (cites the Dogme discussion groups)

Change – look for the opportunity to change, you don’t have to follow every new trend, but recognise what doesn’t work in your current practice and seek ways to improve.

You are not alone.  nvolve the school management, involve the students, publish it, seek feedback and

“Find something new to try!”

Handouts and Powerpoints –