Do you have a Passion for the English Language?

As teachers of English, we are usually eager to share our enthusiasm and pass on our knowledge to our students because of our passion for our subject.

However, after weeks, or months, or even years(!), of students looking disinterested and disengaged, we can become resigned to simply going through the motions, but without feeling our spark. We go through the course book, unit by unit, and follow the syllabus that's set for us, but we do not feel we can share our passion, which means we have a low-level of job satisfaction. 

Now, I am not blaming anyone in particular, instead I would like to make some suggestions on how we can insert some of that passion back into our classrooms. 

How do you feel, would you like to connect with your students better through English?

First of all, sharing our own personal stories with our students can be a great way to create a spark of interest, of course I do not expect anyone to tell their deepest darkest secrets to their students, however, sharing some basic truths about our lives outside of the classroom allows the students to see part of us which makes us human and they will be able to understand us better. We can share small stories from our weekend, our travels, or simply about our favourite food. By understanding us better they can relate to us more and this helps build rapport. Building rapport is a key factor to motivating our students and helping them engage with the materials being taught.

In addition, we should be proud to stand in front of the class as ourselves. By showing up in the classroom as our authentic selves, students will see us for who we are and they will respect us more and gain a better appreciation of our passion. It will also help students feel more comfortable about being themselves in our classrooms, and we can encourage them to develop their own passions.

When we open up and share part of our true selves, students will feel the sincerity and will respond in kind. We all know when someone is lying to us, and our students are no exception, in fact, I sometimes wonder if our students notice more than we imagine. We must be honest in order to gain their trust and this will enable them to share in our passion.

Another important instrument we can use in our lessons is our tone of voice. Our voice can be used in order to connect with people around us and this is especially true for our students. Using intonation and showing warmth and passion through our tone of voice can help others understand us better and we can connect with them in a more meaningful way. Through varying the tone of our voice we can capture our students and help them join a common passion. Have you seen Janene Heron's TED Talk? If not, do watch it, it's brilliant.

Finally, we can ask our students about their passions. If we are not interested in our students’ passions, why should they take an interest in ours? There are many questions we can ask, just a few could be:

·        What are our students doing in their spare time?

·        What can they talk about with enthusiasm?

·        What gets them excited?

·        How can we create space for our students interests in our classes?

By genuinely showing an interest in what makes our learners tick, we are increasing rapport. Building rapport in the classroom increases motivation and helps students connect with what is being taught, which in turn increases learning. So by showing an interest in our students’ lives outside the classroom we can actually help them get better results in school.

Building rapport takes time and will not happen overnight, however, consistent and genuine interest will lead to being able to share our passions with each other, which will enhance learning for our students as well as ourselves.

So, are you ready to develop deeper relations with your students? Let me know how you get on and what you do in order to share your passion with your students.