Dear teacher: This is the question you’re NOT asking your students.

This is the question you're NOT asking your students.Recently I was watching a video from one of my favorite authors. The video introduced a unique way to think about a problem and how to solve it. It was basically about how we approach problem-solving and how we need to look at a problem differently by asking ourselves a different question. This means we stand from a different perspective that will allow us to look at the problem more deeply.

I think one of the typical problems a teacher has is actually why our students don’t get the breakthrough they are expecting or why some of them don’t seem to be motivated in class and therefore seem far away from their goals.

So I tried to ask myself a different question and then it came to me.

I have never, ever, asked my students what they LIKE to do in class, I’ve never asked them -directly – what motivates them.

It may sound silly but I go to class, having prepared before, I give my best energy, carefully select the materials and focus on the outcome, and I somehow get an idea of my students’ level of satisfaction by the look on their faces. Although it is actually embarrassing to admit this, I also have to say that I don’t remember any teacher asking ME what I liked to do in class. I don’t know why!

I mean, how can we raise our students’ level of motivation if we never make them part of the process? How do we expect them to partner with us in the success of the English language program we’re providing?

Asking this question may require a higher level of commitment. I may need to change the program, I may need to talk to the program director or to Human Resources department in order to make some changes to the original plan, it may mean getting uncomfortable. But I think it will be worth it, don’t you? Have you ever asked this question to your students?


About Susana Castaneda

I am a Business English teacher, teacher trainer and business owner. I write based on my experience and knowledge as an entrepreneur and teacher in Lima-Perú. If you find these useful, thanks in advance for your comments ;)
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