My daughter Laura, sixteen years old, has proven the STRENGTH OF MOTIVATION to me: dire hard work and WILLPOWER almost beyond her limits has brought her to the EUROPEAN SPEEDSKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS as well as passing her very demanding school year with flying colours. Here I sit in my camper in Austria at the start of the venue, not worried about what the outcome will be, but reflecting on the arduous road that led us here - sheer motivation and willpower. She is not one of those talents to whom everything falls easy, she has worked hard against all odds to reach her two goals in sports and education.
This has given me a new insight to learning as I tend to believe that curiosity and enjoyment are the best stimuli for learning and retaining what one learns. Motivation is certainly another fundamental ingredient but I feel that for most people it is difficult to find the willpower to do something they don't at least partially enjoy, despite the hard work it may comprise. So I utterly admire those who find the willpower to carry on doing something that may not give them the desired results - or at least not immediately.
Motivating students is therefore one of my top priorities: arousing their curiosity and making it as enjoyable as possible so that they want to carry on learning outside the classroom, using various methods, media, adjustments to their social networks and corresponding with foreigners as well as travelling whenever possible.
That is where technology inside and outside the classroom as well as games make learning much more effective and exciting than it used to be.
My holiday homework always comprises at least DAILY:
- VOSCREEN - 5 seconds listening (as many times as you like) to bits of films, cartoons, ads... before pressing the button which reveals the subtitle in English - to see if you're right!! = 5 minutes a day
- ORORO.TV – TV series & films with subtitles = 5 - 45 minutes a day (depending on your level)
- LyricsTraining - SONGS (LISTENING & COMPLETING):
LyricsTraining is an easy and fun way to learn and improve your foreign languages skills, through the music videos and the lyrics of your favourite songs.
LyricsTraining also has a special Karaoke mode that lets you sing and enjoy the full lyrics = as often as is fun
GAMES to practise your English:
- ESL Fun Games Online
- ESL Revision Fun Games Online
http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/ - ONLINE ENGLISH NEWSPAPER for English kids aged 8 -14 so simplified information
MINDMAPLE - super-easy mind mapping tool for writing up phrases, collocations and vocabulary in context.
- putting Mobile phone settings in English
- putting Facebook (& other social network) settings in English
- putting computer settings in English
- and generally SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH ENGLISH so your brain switches into English mode.
Update on the venue of the EUROPEAN SPEEDSKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Day 1: my daughter Laura helps her teammate make it to the gold medal;
Day 2: she gets pulled down by another competitor onto the asphalt at 40 km/hr, jumps up to continue the race with her teammate (also involved in the multiple fall) when blood streams copiously into her eye: 3 stitches, a black eye, bruised shoulder and various scrapes; luckily her seriously bruised teammate still makes the gold medal!
Day 5: still not allowed to race (doctor's orders);
Day 6: despite a huge plaster covering half her eye she races her 10,000 metre points race to win a GOLD MEDAL and become EUROPEAN CHAMPION of her category in that particular race. Driven by sheer MOTIVATION and DETERMINATION - "Where there's a will there's a way!" - something to instil in our students!!
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My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.