Motivating individual staff to share their professional and personal development is a key factor in school improvement. This CPD Week offers ways in which individual staff can be helped to nurture their intrinsic motivation and offers a useful checklist for future referencepdf-9359878

CPD Week info sheet – Motivation.pdf

People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Zig Ziglar

Motivating yourself and others
As levels of expectation and responsibility continue to rise in the world of teaching, it is essential for staff to feel that they have the opportunity to develop, at the very least, to meet the new demands being made of them. If they don’t sense that level of support, the only outcome is de-motivation.

It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that without motivated staff, schools cannot hope to achieve what they might, and bad habits in day to day processes and practices are inevitable. While a general atmosphere of motivation across the whole school environment is important, the individual levels of motivation within each member of staff are also critical. The most useful key to this is self-knowledge, so any development that supports this basic aim will also support intrinsic (i.e. emerging from within rather than imposed from outside) motivation. These ideas will also help:

  • Think about the role that life coaching might play in your school. When organisations take a holistic view of staff, the outcomes are typically very positive. The more your school can recognise that its staff are fully rounded people, with varied needs, the more likely it is to get motivated input from them.
  • What are the levels of individual optimism in your school? Being optimistic is very closely linked to motivation levels. What do staff at your school have to be optimistic about? Is that conveyed to them?
  • Are staff expected to carve their own path through work-related negative stress or is there an orchestrated approach to this through continuing personal and professional development?
  • When goal setting is intrinsic, rather than imposed upon someone, there is bound to be a higher degree of attached motivation. Is this how your performance management and induction processes work? Is ownership of goal setting made explicit enough?
  • Encourage staff to use their current position to develop for their next step. Personal and professional development should not simply be about doing the current job more effectively. Rather, it would usefully involve preparation for future roles in combination with improving expertise in current roles.
  • When training and development is personalised, it is easier for staff to form an attachment to the process and outcome. To what extent has the idea of personalised learning been embedded within the CPD culture in your school?
  • Create forums in which staff can share their learning or publish reflections on training. Some professions require members to contribute to the overall knowledge base of members but somewhere along the way, teachers have been dissuaded from doing this in their profession. It’s time to reclaim …!
  • Does your school embrace collaborative projects and research work? It’s a great way of encouraging the growth of mutual learning and expertise and can significantly affect motivation in a positive way.

In the grand scheme of things, CPD might usefully be considered as the path by which staff can be better than they were at some point in the past. But there has to be a why, and that emerges most effectively from their sense of intrinsic motivation.

Find out more…

This e-bulletin issue was first published in December 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.