For better and worse

4th March 2005 at 00:00
I am delighted the parliamentary education committee is looking at motivation in schools and that it has given Alan McLean two hours of its time (TESS, February 18).

I am also pleased you took the teachers' unions to task in your editorial that week for focusing too much on the external factors affecting pupils' motivation and not enough on what influence schools and teachers have.

We have been using Alan's work extensively throughout Scotland for more than a year now. While not ignoring factors that are outwith the school's control, Alan's model forces teachers to look at what is within their circle of influence - the climate in the classroom, the quality of relationships and the quality of learning and teaching.

We do so by asking teachers to reflect on how other people have affected their motivation during their lives - for better and worse. Their answers are very revealing.

They suggest that pupils' motivation does not just depend on teachers' motivation but on how effective they are as teachers - a key argument for increasing the quality of CPD, not just the quantity. Perhaps the MSPs on the education committee should look at that.

Ian Smith

Learning Unlimited

Renfrew Road, Paisley

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