This is the second in a series of three blogs about teacher-student motivation I’ve started to write.

This is the second in a series of three blogs about teacher-student motivation I’ve started to write.


I wrote my first blog about this topic having an inspiration from a video about animal imprinting. In that video a newborn duckling started following a puppy upon coming out of its egg. Apparently, ducklings follow the first moving object they see as soon as they hatch.


I started to ponder the question of why our students sometimes follow us as if we were mother/father ducks. It’s an incredibly satisfying moment. I’m not referring to being a mother/father duck, I’m referring to that feeling that we get when we have a sense that we are leaving a positive imprint on our students.


So what makes people feel attracted to our classes? What motivates people to learn with us? Carl Rogers, the American psyhologist, suggested that there are three core teacher characteristics that help to create an effective learning environment. These are: respect, empathy and authenticity.


We may know loads of teaching methodologies which will aid us. From my experience, I can say, I just love learning about the most current trends in pedagogy. I’m also aware that respect, empathy and authenticity are key to generate a positive psychological environment for learning.


“It is our attitude and intentions rather than our methodology that we may need to work on” (Carl Rogers).


People can tell when we have a positive attitude towards them, when we acknowledge them and when they see we are true to ourselves. Students engage in our classes naturally when we respect them and when we take our time to listen to, observe and assist them.


I have a hunch that students will choose to “follow” us when we help to create the conditions for them to feel confident, relaxed and capable of learning.


So what do you think? What can you tell us about your experience? And last but not least, what moves us to teach in such a positive way?


Your welcome to post your ideas, which I will share in my third blog.







Georgina Hudson's blogs are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.



Dear Georgina,
I am really pleased to provide my insight regarding your interesting topic. I definitely agree with you that to build up a positive rapport with your students based on respect, authenticity and empathy. It is a guaranteed way to create effective learning environment. I have a prominent  example for this. I teach English for Kuwaiti students. When I first came to Kuwait, I worked for one of my company’s projects where most of my colleagues had copious problems with their students’ behavior. Teaching a class was a scary nightmare. When I entered my class for the first time, I decided to build that kind of effective atmosphere where I build up a positive rapport based on respect to their culture, beliefs, customs, traditions, and even their individual differences.  I showed that I had a message and I did my best to contextualize my message and I created activities that integrated different language skills. I empathized with their weaknesses and qualms. I could get them all completely absorbed in my classroom activities. Motivating them was really challenging, however I succeeded in encouraging them to respect and like me first before they liked my class. As a result, I was promoted as a training supervisor after a couple of months.  The lesson here is we need to show our respect to our students and that should be an ongoing activity.  
Khalid Fuad

Mr Khalid Fuad,
Your story is really moving. I love the way you say you contextualized your message and created activities that integrated different language skills. The way you managed to empathize with their weaknesses and qualms was really the result of observing them and putting yourself in their shoes. No wonder you could get them all completely absorbed in your classroom activities. Some people emailed me pointing out a good leader can always leave an imprint on their ss. I'm sure that's true. At the same time, in order to lead we need to observe first, show empathy and respect and then lead.
thank you so much for sharing your lovely real story.

Hi Georgina! I think that the topic of motivation you introduced in this blog is very interesting and I really believe that it is a key factor to achieve success in our learners.
Without doubt, the nice words you mentioned about Roger’s beliefs are of outmost importance for  teachers to build good rapport with their learners. I would like to highlight one of these words… “confidence “. I think that one of the most important responsibilities of the teacher is to give her students confidence. And to make learners  feel that if they work hard towards an aim they can achieve it without problems.
As for my personal experience, I’m used to working with little kids. And in this case, there are many things that a teacher should bear in mind to create an effective learning environment. For example you need a comfortable atmosphere. This means that   students should not be afraid of making mistakes. In addition to this, you need a lot of playing inside the classroom so that they can learn and have fun at the same time. Also, you have to provide the appropriate input so that they can understand it without getting a feeling of frustration when you use the target language.
 But I agree with you and Khalid Fuad. The most important thing is to show students  that we care about them. And that their opinions and feelings are always taken into consideration. We also need to show them  that despite the fact that we may make mistakes we are no doubt  doing our best to help them.
 I would really like to read more opinions on this interesting topic.

Ma. Victoria

Thank you Ma Victoria,
It's true confidence is absolutely necessary to be able to lead our students. When learners see we're confident and relaxed about what we're doing they trust us and feel confident as well.
Helping our learners feel they can do things and should go for them is absolutely necessary.
I'm almost done with the third and last blog on this topic and I'm going to bear your ideas in mind.
Cheers! Georgina

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