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Everyone who has ever taught knows the gulf in emotions between teaching a class that wants to learn (a heady mix of euphoria and self-fulfilment) compared to one that doesn’t (a soul-sucking combination of helplessness, frustration and grinding of teeth).It is during the low moments, when everyone struggles, that the most common question is why? Why are we doing this? Why are these rules here? So in this piece, we aim to examine each of these questions and possibly provide some new perspective as there is nothing worse than facing these questions and not having any sort of answer.

The narrative: It is just work for the sake of it. Not even the teachers want to set it.

The counter: Homework is your chance to practice. If you can make it all about showing improvement in some way, then you can graduate the amount of homework based on results.

How can ESP help? The skills-map gives students control of their progress by giving them access to not only their marks, but their learning objectives and their skills progress.
The narrative: We are never going to use this stuff anyway.

The counter: Connections. The more we can show how our content fits into different situations the more relevant it appears. Connections are also a vital part of how we make the difference between learning and understanding.

How can ESP help? By adding skills foci to different learning materials, you can approach topics in different ways as well as always having the relevance of working on the skill, as well as the content.

The narrative: Tests place unnecessary pressure on students, and most of them don't count towards anything anyway.

The counter: You should never worry about a test. Just try your best and try to improve. Tests are just there to help everyone establish where we can get better and as long as we can treat them as opportunities to show off what we can do, then we can get the best out of them.

How can ESP help? By collecting lots of smaller data points using the skills criteria, you will be getting a much more detailed picture of progress and areas for concern, making formal testing less pressurised. Students will also be far more aware of the areas in which they can improve.
The narrative: We were just having a laugh. That teacher doesn't like me.

The counter: We care too much about your progress to allow this to simply be ignored. That is why we have to record things.

How can ESP help? By having the ability to record both positive and negative actions by merely flicking a spot on your touchscreen, you can take the confrontation out of the incidents and congratulate or sanction patterns of behaviour rather than get bogged down into the details of any single event.
Marking and feedback
The narrative: Unless teachers are writing paragraphs in every student's book then they don't care.

The counter: Teachers make students feel included by the advice and guidance they give, but it is the student that must provide their own motivation as this can only come from them.

How can ESP help? The skills criteria provide the details that allow a student to take control of their progress. The details can also provide the framework for a dialogue with the teacher and part of the reporting procedure.