Inspiring teachers: State school teachers of English in China and Indonesia who generate long term motivation

Dr Martin Lamb discusses the features of inspiring teaching and presents results from a research project funded by the British Council. May 2013, Manchester.

About the seminar

Learning a second language (L2) beyond early childhood is almost always a long haul, requiring extended effort inside and outside classrooms over many years. How important are teachers in creating and sustaining people’s motivation to learn languages? How do teachers inspire their learners? And how did they learn to be inspiring? These are the questions Martin Lamb is addressing in an ELTRP project in China and Indonesia and which will be talked about in this presentation.

Most research into L2 motivation has focused on the learners’ own characteristics (e.g. are they integratively or instrumentally motivated?). Recently some studies have looked at teachers’ motivational strategies, that is, their deliberate attempts to boost learner motivation in class. However, very little attention has been given to the notion of ‘inspiration’, of changing a learner's relationship to a subject area such that they are stimulated to invest effort in learning it outside the classroom, over the long-term.

The presentation reports the findings of a survey which asked learners in the cities of Guangdong and Jakarta to nominate and describe an inspiring English teacher they had had in their state school, to say how they had inspired them and what they did as a result. The second part of the presentation focuses on the nominated teachers themselves. Short video extracts from interviews and clips of their teaching are shown, in the hope of identifying how they came to be ‘inspiring teachers’ in the often very challenging circumstances of national state school systems.   

Watch the seminar

The seminar has been divided into four sections. You can watch the entire playlist, or choose a section from the list below:

Part 1: A quest to find inspiring teachers

Part 2: Methodology and key results

Part 3: What do inspiring teachers do?

Part 4: Can we generalise about what makes for an inspiring teacher?


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