A pair of trainers (and how far they can get you)

By Dr Dimitris Maroulis

A pair of… trainers (and how far they can get you)


Trainer: Andy Hockley is a consultant and trainer with considerable experience of implementing, managing, and consulting on large and small-scale educational projects in a number of different contexts. Andy has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and North America. He has a Master's degree in International and Intercultural Management as well as extensive experience of language teaching and training language teachers. His particular interest is in the management of language schools and in the management of educational projects. He is co-author of "From Teacher to Manager: Managing a Language Teaching Organization" (CUP, 2008) and author of "Educational Management" (Polirom, Romania 2007). He regularly makes presentations and runs workshops at international teacher conferences.

Text by: Dimitris Maroulis

He said: “A good manager needs a set of emotional skills, emotional intelligence, being empathetic…”

The Run

Language teaching organisations (LTOs) are different from the main service sector. To begin with, they do not trade anything, as tangible as books, stationery, or tech stuff, in addition, the service they offer is completely immaterial and it refers to some vague future reward (could be a job placement or academic hard skills). In all different shapes and sizes, LTOs face another limitation: their restrictive organigram, in other words, their employees do not have a lot of chances of promotion or a promising career ladder to aim at. The limitation is translated to poor motivation that leads to unsteady teacher recruitment. This idiosyncratic “brain drain” is not researched and it remains open to interpretation. Hertzberg (1987) has identified two forms of motivating factors: the “satisfiers” – features of one’s job that actually inspire and encourage – and, the “dissatisfiers” – aspects of the job that the absence of which can be demotivating. Andy Hockley decided to investigate further Hertzberg’s findings by surveying 105 EFL teachers from 12 countries. His main research question was: What makes a teacher tick? in other words, what motivates language teachers. His main finding is a list of 6 factors that seem they play a crucial role as “satisfiers”. These are:

  1. Respect for me as a person
  2. Good pay
  3. Getting along well with others on the job
  4. Opportunity to do interesting work
  5. Feeling my job is important, and,
  6. Opportunity for self-development and improvement.

Working in an academic environment and teaching languages call for more anthropocentric motivators than one may expect. The only monetary consideration, this of “Good pay”, is relevant to the context of work and it is directly related to the other five ones, most notably number four, and number five. It seems that if a teacher finds her job interesting and important then moneywise there is a balance between having a worthwhile job and a good pay. In this case, good pay is negotiable. The one factor that stands out is the “Getting along well with others on the job”. It stands out because it also involves the teacher herself. Human relationships is a tango and it takes two to tango. Perhaps what the factor means is that there must be a positive climate, a spirit of camaraderie among the members of the staff. Another interesting motivator is the “Opportunity for self-development and improvement”. It is interesting because there is the sense that teachers are conservative creatures that withstand change and innovation. The truth is though that other research supports this factor. Research in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to “skill flexibility” (Rosenblatt, 2004) as one of the factors that lead to higher job satisfaction among language teachers.

Post-Run Recovery Routine

The reason why research like this is needed is that management, academic management, in LTOs has a great impact (27%) on student learning. This 27% refers to the total management dealing at any level in an LTO, from secretaries to teachers and to the managers and auxiliary staff (also referred to as “leadership density”). It is also needed because it may help us create a more positive, satisfying experience for teachers and teachers are the ones that may materialise the immaterial service LTOs offer.


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