Can your pupils ‘catch’ motivation?

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The idea that a teacher’s enthusiasm can be infectious is nothing new but, as Dan Worth finds, the issue goes even deeper – to pupils’ status within their social groups and their influence on peers

Can you catch motivation?

We’ve all seen it happen: one of the team comes into school in the worst mood possible and, despite everyone’s best efforts, that ill feeling manages to spread to everyone else. It’s not to the same intensity in the others, but everyone is a lot grumpier than they were when they arrived that morning.

When it is a school leader, the effect is so much worse: those in charge can make or break a teacher’s day.

And pupils? The mood of one can lift – or bring down – all the others, too.

Why are moods so easily “caught” like this? It’s all down to emotional contagion – the idea that our ...

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