When describing Emotional Intelligence and Motivation in his book, Goleman was describing adults with high potential of becoming leaders in their field. But does that apply to students as well?
When we deal with students, we see these two types every day: those students who always 'need' to perform well and will eventually do and those who lack interest and, therefore, need some sort of incentive, some kind of encouragement! If we needed to hire the right person for a job, we would definitely choose one from the former group! But at school we need to deal with everyone and address everyone's needs and personal abilities, fears of failure, lack of interest, lack of motivation, worries, low self-esteem and ... the list is endless!
So we always strive to find ways to motivate everyone!
An inspiring beginning of a project creates a positive feeling towards it as pupils feel they are going to have a good time at the project! So, we can find a song that matches our topic and show it to our students, teach the song so that they can learn to sing it. That way they will sing it during the project and it will always remind them of the project! Or we can create our own song as a project task so that pupils make and play the music, write and sing the lyrics! That way, it will be their own song that they'll sing for ever!
So, for example, for the project LYPS (Let Your Passion Shine), the project was introduced with the song 'Shine' (of the group Take That) whose lyrics were exactly the aim of the project! 'You can have it all! So come on! I don't know what you're waiting for! Your time is coming! Don't be late! See the light on your face! Let it Shine!
The best motivation for all people to perform well is having a good time! The chances of succeeding are far more than when they have other incentives! So, why don't we start the project with a game? As the students go through the game, the information on the new project is revealed! (information on the topic, the title, the partners). What a great start!!!
But games can play an important role during the game to keep the students motivated! We can include a page with language games (so that they practise the language as well) as well as games based on the material produced! That way, the students will be 'forced' to read the published material so that they do well at the games!
Look at the 'Useful tools' page for tools to create games.
As we have students with different talents, we need to plan tasks that need all talents for their completion! So, let's have writing tasks for those who love writing and creating texts, let's have drawing tasks to accompany the texts, let's have many ICT tasks for those who love computers, music tasks for the talented in music, puzzles and quizes for the inquiry-type students, videos by students for our 'directors', athletic tasks or dancing tasks for the more energetic students and so on! Let's cater for all types so that everyone can feel that his/her skills are needed and appreciated in the end!
When students have limited knowledge of a foreign language or of ICT skills or their self-esteem is low and they are afraid to be active participants in a project that requires many skills and a different type of action, then the use of groups lightens their burden! They are a part of a group that can perform well even if they are not very active! So, they agree to do a small at least part in their group until they start feeling more comfortable with it and slowly decide to become more active! So, group work can be a great motivator for such 'shy' students!
Goleman mentioned the two types of people and referred to those who need a reward in order to perform well! So, why not having awards for our students as well? Let's have the 'students of the month' announced or awards for the best students in a task or a competition, or the best group for each task! A group competition can be competitive enough but also without stress on the individual members! Why not give awards to the first students who did a task and showed enthusiasm regardless of perfection! We should reward motivation as that will encourage everyone including the weaker students!
Let's not forget the promotion of our project at school and in our (local, national and eTwinning) community! When we do that, we gain acceptance and a very positive atmosphere is created around us and our project! That makes our students proud of their work, which in return encourages them to perform even better! So, let's not forget to:
regularly make posts in the public project Journal announcing the beginning of the project and introductory information about it, the beginning or completion of the tasks, the results of competitions, final products and important news! Do not forget that this Journal is not meant for communication among teachers but for informing all those who do not have access to your Twinspace! Also rememebr that sudents can add comments below the posts so that they express their view on the news mentioned!
have an eTwinning board at school with pictures and materials from the project in a central part of the school so that everyone can see them and get informed on the project! Such boards attract the attention of the students who don't implement a project and who usually ask for one in the future!!! As a result, those who implement this project feel proud of it!
publish information om the project in your school website! That way your school gains more publicity and recognition and then you and your pupils benefit from this acceptance!
present your project to the school community at the end of the school year! Have the board in a convenient place and make a presentation or a video with the project tasks and lots of photos! The students can also prepare the presentation (depending on their age of course!) and have an active role in it! Let's not forget that the dissemination of our project is the 6th criterion for a successful project that will get its National Quality Label!