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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Motivational interview – conversation map that enhance student participation in education process

by Ruzica Madzarevic
Language: EN

In the previous blog post, we talked about the motivational interview (MI) as one method we can use to enhance student’s internal motivation regarding the educational process.  When we want to motivate students to learn more, do their homework, stay in course, continue their education, be active during class- MI may be our method.


In this text will briefly present what are the main process of the MI conversation and in future blogs, we will take a detailed look in each of them. If you want to learn more about it start from book Motivational interviewing in schools* which also the main resource for these blog posts.


MI conversation has four processes as basic building blocks in the conversation.  It is like four steps that we take with our students toward to goal. One step builds the other one and if one is not in the good shape we need to revisit, do something different and then move forward. Bear in mind that all these steps are guiding steps, not a directive instruction to the student.


The first step: Engaging


Engaging is a process of actively establishing a connection and a helpful working relationship with a student. It is demonstrating collaboration through questions, comments and the general tone of the conversation from the beginning to the end. Sometimes it looks like we need a lot of the time, but there are some questions that can help us to create engagement fast.


The second step: Focusing


Focusing is an observable process that describes how people in a conversation decide what change to talk about and which direction the conversation should go. Sometimes we know what is the most important and how to solve the problem, for example, the student is not present at classes and it is important to change that and to be present at classes. Other times it is not easy to focus the conversation, for example, if someone has bad grades from many subjects and then we must figure out to we want to continue the conversation about our class only or learning habits in general.


The third step: Evoking

Evoking is the process of drawing out the student’s ideas about why and how to change. This the part of the conversation when we aim to identify and increase student’s internal motivation. We want that student to talk about their why and how they might change. We are there to guide them by our curiosity and attention to the language of change.


The fourth step: Planning

Planning is the process of helping the student decide how to make the change, what to do and when. In this step, we will notice that our students need information and advice as well as encouragement that they can do it. Also, it is very important that this phase does not become a conversation where we as the teachers have all the answers and students’ task is just to do it.




Follow our next blogs to learn more about each of these processes.








*Rollnick, S., Kaplan, S. G., & Rutschman, R. (2016). Applications of motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing in schools: Conversations to improve behavior and learning. New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

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