Marisa Pavan

Challenges in Teaching – Marisa

Motivating teenagers, ready to meet the challenge? Marisa Paven

Nobody can deny that teaching is a highly challenging job and that is what makes it really interesting. As to one of the challenges teachers should meet – how to motivate students — I have decided to focus on teens because most of my students are in that age group. Besides, I also teach adults but I don’t find motivating adult students is as challenging. Adults need to develop confidence but they are naturally motivated. They come to the class because they have made the decision to study a foreign language for whatever reason it may be, and are ready to make efforts to learn the language. On the other hand, teenagers are not willing to make efforts and most of them study English because their parents think it is important or necessary, and they are forced to study the foreign language.

Throughout my teaching practice, I’ve noticed that motivating teenagers requires teachers to develop a special sensitivity to their interests – in addition to loads of patience.

As to the current generation of teens, it is essential to motivate them in order to encourage them keep in contact with the English language outside the classroom. This demands a lot of creativity from teachers. One of the keys is the use of technology as a way of keeping in touch with students and of sharing online tasks that will contribute to the development of their skills.

Some years ago, thanks to the members of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) I came across wikis for educational purposes. Ever since, I have created a new wiki for every class I have had and I use it to upload interactive online activities for my students to practise during and after lessons. The challenge here is to make students remember to visit the wiki regularly. They are informed about updates via e-mail but my students are not using their e-mail accounts at present and they are only interested in using Facebook.


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As teachers, we should be ready to deal with any obstacles that may appear and that would block the students’ skill development. My students have an endless number of excuses not to practise after lessons and I should always be ready to offer a solution. The following chart shows some excuses my students have given me and my suggestions to overcome these issues.

I didn’t remember to visit the wiki. Remind students to visit the wiki every class.


I didn’t know about the update because I never use my e-mail account. Choose a representative student of the class and send a message via Facebook to that student reminding them to tell their classmates about the updates. Or


Create a group in Facebook with a specific class so as to inform them about the updates.



I couldn’t print the exercise because the printer didn’t work. Tell students they can send the exercises for correction via e-mail.
My computer is out of order. Students can be invited to come to the language school at any time it is open to use a computer.

As in our lives, challenges appear as a kind of test of our willingness to be flexible, to adjust ourselves to different situations and to grow in the process. That forms part of the adventure of teaching and … of living.




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Marisa Pavan

Marisa has been teaching ESL/EFL in a variety of contexts for over 20 years. She's a translator, an interpreter and an assistant to the supervisor of an educational consultancy firm that takes Argentinean students to London on cultural trips. She is a life-long learner who's passionate about sharing with educators from all over the world. Her favourite tools are wikis, which she creates and shares with her students so as to develop learners' autonomy. She has a personal wiki called Linguistic Consultancy.

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