Motivating students

One difficult aspect of becoming a teacher is learning how to motivate your students. It is also one of the most important. Students who lack motivation often have difficulty retaining information and struggle to learn effectively. Such students typically refrain from participating in class discussions and activities, with some possibly displaying disruptive behavior. Various factors can contribute to a student losing motivation. For example, they may not be interested in the subject, find the teacher’s methods disengaging, or might be dealing with external distractions. A student who appears unmotivated may actually have difficulty learning and need special attention.

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While motivating students can be a challenge, the rewards are worth the effort. Motivated students show a greater enthusiasm for learning, frequently participating in class. Some students are self-motivated, with a natural love for learning. But even with students who do not have this drive, a great teacher can make learning fun and inspire them to reach their full potential.

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Here are five ways to get your students excited about learning:

1. Encourage students

Students often look to teachers for approval and positive reinforcement. Fostering open communication and free thinking among students can make them feel valued. Be enthusiastic. Praise your students often. Recognize them for their contributions. If your classroom is a place where students feel heard and respected, they might be more eager to learn.

2. Get students involved

One way to encourage students and teach them responsibility is to get them involved in the classroom. Make participating fun by giving each student a job to do. Give students the responsibility of tidying up or decorating the classroom. Assign a student to erase the blackboard or pass out materials. Ask students to take turns reading sections out loud. Make students work in groups and assign each a task or role. Giving students a sense of ownership can help them feel accomplished and encourages participation in class.

3. Offer incentives

Setting expectations and making reasonable demands encourages students to participate, but sometimes students need an extra push in the right direction. Offering students small incentives makes learning fun and gives them a reason to push themselves, as well as a sense of accomplishment. Incentives can range from small to large. Giving a special privilege to an exemplary student or organizing a class pizza party for an improved average test score are both examples of setting goals for students to work toward.

4. Get creative

Avoid monotony by changing the structure of your class. Teach through games and discussions instead of lectures or encourage students to debate. Enrich the subject matter with visual aids, like colorful charts, diagrams, and videos. You can even show a movie that effectively illustrates a topic or theme. Your physical classroom should never be boring: use posters, models, student projects, and seasonal themes to create a warm, stimulating environment.

5. Draw connections to real life

“When will I ever need this?” This question, too often heard in the classroom, indicates that a student is disengaged or lacks a proper understanding of the concept being taught. If a student does not believe that what they’re learning is important, they won’t see a need to invest time and effort in mastering the subject matter. It’s important to demonstrate how the subject relates to them. If you’re teaching algebra, take some time to research how it is utilized practically and share your findings with your students. Showing them that a concept or technique is used every day by “real” people provides a fresh perspective. They may never be excited about algebra, but if they see its importance and how it relates to their lives, they may be motivated to learn attentively.

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Last updated January 2024