To motivate, inspire and work smartly

This month, I have been coming home later than usual due to extra hours spent helping my students prepare for their International tests (IELTS – International English Language Testing System, TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language, CAE – Cambridge Advanced English and BULATS- Business Language Testing Service). These tests are designed to assess the language ability of individuals to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication. Last year, world-wide, IELTS alone had over 2 million takers who wanted to study in universities in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and tertiary institutions in several European cities, such as Paris and Amsterdam.

My international test preparation students are highly motivated, and this is because they have a goal (i.e. to obtain the required grade for university admission). Their motivation shines in their attitudes and behaviours during our lessons and in the quality of their assignment.

I believe that motivation is a major key factor of success: the more you have it, the quicker you reach your target. My students are motivated by high grades and acceptance into higher education, which can lead to a successful career that has implications on their personal and social lives.

Not so long ago, I received a compliment from our Director of Studies with these statements: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” (You can replace ‘teacher’ with parent or boss).

Do I motivate or/and inspire my students? Motivation is doing something that you are supposed to do and may not always be positive while inspiration (from ‘spirit’) is having a passion – the burning desire to do something and the end result is self satisfaction/fulfillment (and not necessarily money or fame). Yes, I always try to motivate and inspire my students by being a coach and not a critical teacher; being encouraging and not a confidence buster; and recognising and valuing good work and efforts.

One (e.g. parent, boss or trainer) can’t motivate and inspire someone if s/he isn’t motivated and inspired her/himself. When individuals are not motivated or inspired in what they do, they become apathetic and unenthusiastic; whereas when they are, they enjoy every effort and time they put into the tasks and don’t consider this as working hard.

They don’t work hard but smartly by getting rid of everything that steers them off the track and stops them from accomplishing their goal, as this takes time and energy).

The following are two of my favourite quotes that motivate me when inspiration is temporarily absent and there are hurdles along the way:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time,” Thomas Edison.

(from my website BRolade Societal Blog -


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