Finding motivation when falling behind

February 1, 2021


Running is both healthy and fun to do. At least, that is what I think. But finding motivation to run can be a challenge. And your students might find motivation a challenge as well, especially in these challenging times.

Estimated time to read this article: 4 minutes

Getting ready to run

Last week I sent a message to a group of fellow runners asking them when they are running. Due to the current situation, we are not allowed to run together and I really need a bit of extra motivation.

Actually, it is even worse: I have not run for over a month now. I know that all of the progress I made before will need some catching up.

This demotivates me even more. Being behind my own schedule for a running match in the near future, I now have to do even more work.

Don’t worry, it is a virtual one of sorts, with GPS and such.

Not a real running match with hundreds of people at the same time trying your best to run a new personal best, being cheered on by people standing next to the route and music playing to keep you going.

I miss it..

Anyway, I digress.

Key Take Away

Finding motivation to run is a lot like finding motivation to study: both can be challenging.

Motivation when already behind schedule

This feeling of losing motivation because you might already be behind anyway is something I think you recognize.

Teachers' challenges

Maybe you are teaching online and find it challenging to keep all of the students engaged.

Maybe you struggle with the online tools to use, barely keeping up with the schedule you planned.

Or maybe you have to catch up on lost time and feel you are constantly sprinting.

Students' challenges

And what about your students?

I can imagine they might feel the same way as well.

They might have ‘forgotten’ to do their homework, or even missed a lesson.

Or two.

Or three.

Catching up is hard, motivation to keep going is even harder.

The effect on students

I read an article last week young people in The Netherlands actually give their live an insufficient grade at the moment.

Whereas before they would grade themselves in the top 10 happiest young people in the world.

Key Take Away

Both teachers and students can experience challenges with motivation, especially nowadays.

Motivation in a CLIL lesson

“Okay, so far so good, but what does this have to do with CLIL” you might ask.

I am glad you asked 😉.

Losing motivation because you are already behind with your work is one thing.

But it does not help if the language is a barrier that is hard to cope with as well.

Now that many of us have to teach online or in a hybrid way,

The language might prove an even higher barrier compared to regular lessons.

What can you do?

In my opinion, there are a couple of small things you can do to help motivate your students.

For the record, they are not some kind of magic pill to instantly increase motivation.

But they might help students to be aware of the fact you know they are struggling.

  1. 1
    Tell them you know it is hard, especially with the additional language component in a CLIL lesson
  2. 2
    Switch back to L1 every now and then if you feel students are struggling
  3. 3
    Scaffold the language elements even more than you would normally do

What do you think?

Are your students struggling with motivation in the (online) CLIL lessons?

What do you do to motivate them?

Let me know in the comments below or share in the FB group!

  • Great topic and a big issue as well.
    The way to success is not a straightway.
    Keeping that in mind,
    reduces self-criticism and feeling like a looser.
    So never mind falling behind
    it’s human
    get up and start again.

    • Indeed, yet our students are often focused on the short term and can feel they are not able to catch up. As a teacher it is important to at least try to motivate them, but that is a challenge!

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