When you’re smiling: exploring how teachers motivate and engage learners in the further education sector

Wallace, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-1609-3697, 2014. When you’re smiling: exploring how teachers motivate and engage learners in the further education sector. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38 (3), pp. 346-360. ISSN 1469-9486


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This paper is based on a one year research project in the UK designed to investigate teachers' strategies for motivating learners and managing non-compliant behaviour in the Further Education sector. Carried out in collaboration with 203 teachers in three colleges of further education, the inquiry set out to identify, through the use of observations and focus groups, the learner behaviours most commonly identified by teachers as 'challenging', and the methods teachers employ to successfully address these. It also sought to capture teachers' theories about the possible causes of non-engagement, with a view to incorporating findings about both theorising and practice into sessions for initial teacher training and continuing professional development. Drawing on these data, this paper suggests that lack of motivation in the 14-19 age group is a common phenomenon across this range of colleges, manifesting in behaviours such as lack of punctuality, failure to submit coursework and refusal to remain on task; and that experienced teachers are no more effective in managing such behaviours than teachers new to the profession. The implications in terms of teacher education and development are discussed in the final section which points to the evidence that, although positive teacherlearner interaction is found to be productive in addressing the immediate symptoms of disengagement, participants in the study consider the root causes to lie beyond their control.

Item Type: Journal article
Description: Publication subject to an embargo until 1 March 2015.
Publication Title: Journal of Further and Higher Education
Creators: Wallace, S.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date: 2014
Volume: 38
Number: 3
ISSN: 1469-9486
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:42
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:37
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17030

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