Every teacher has those days where the students seem to be on a different planet… you know what we mean. Those days when a normal tone of voice goes unheard, when the students just refuse to pay attention and continue with banter and chatter while you desperately try to get their attention and try to motivate your students.
Then there’s the students themselves. Some of them simply aren’t interested in learning, others have problems paying attention, and yet others are disorganized and might perform poorly despite trying their best. It is important for a teacher to maintain control of the class while encouraging students to improve their skills and achieve better academic performance. Here are some ways to motivate your students in a constructive manner.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivational Factors
Motivation is both intrinsic and extrinsic. Environmental factors, the teacher’s personality and preferred teaching method, the classroom environment, the child’s home environment and other students in the class are all external factors that could influence a student’s motivation. Intrinsic motivation in terms of confidence, a sense of accomplishment and a frame of reference to better understand the relevance of information and skills is equally important.
When both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors are fostered, the student will have a greater chance of succeeding at a personal and academic level. Creating a classroom and homework routine that foresees healthy motivational factors is one way to motivate your students. For example, setting up clear classroom rules that encourage respect, cooperation and tolerance will help students get along and listen to the teacher when attention is required. External motivators could include communicating clear expectations to parents about homework responsibilities and the importance of routines that encourage getting enough sleep, spending time outside and following a healthy diet in order to focus better in class and learn to the best of their ability. Motivating factors are paramount to ensuring that students enjoy the classroom enough to be interested in learning more.
How to motivate your students
Before we quickly jump into the motivational strategies, it is important to understand that there are three types of students. Deep learners who respond well to mastering complex and difficult subjects and are intrinsically motivated, strategic learners who are primarily motivated by rewards and perform well when there is competition and opportunity to defeat others and finally, surface learners who are only motivated by the desire to avoid failure. Here are some of the motivational strategies that could be implemented in your class:
- Become a role model to your students. When students are at home, they look to their parents as the role models for their behavior and actions. When they are at school, they look to the teacher. Your passion and interest in learning will inspire them to behave similarly and therewith benefit their learning.
- Get to know your students better so as to tailor your class sessions to the particular background and concerns of each individual. This will foster closer relationships both peer-to-peer and teacher-to-student.
- Use real-life examples to show your students why an academic concept is important and useful. Inform them why learning the concept will prepare them for future opportunities – after all, you wouldn’t want to learn something that felt irrelevant either!
- Use various student active teaching styles like teaching by discovery to encourage creativity and exploration. This includes using practical class sessions in the laboratory, the field and anywhere else that seems applicable. Be creative and make it fun!
- Set realistic performance goals for your students and assist in achieving them. It’s a good idea to find some way to track the progress of each student so they can see how they are developing and feel proud of what they have achieved.
- Place emphasis on grading and testing but make sure to emphasize that the development of other skills is equally important. While some students thrive in academic performance, others try just as hard but are more suited for sports or arts. Provide positive feedback and encourage continued progression at whatever level each student may be.
- Use constructive criticism and praise generously. A good way to provide feedback is to assess the work that has been done, as opposed to pointing out problems with the student’s personal traits or habits.
- Give your students control of their own education by allowing them to choose a project or a paper that interests them. The teacher can motivate students and help them choose good topics by providing more information and making helpful suggestions.
These are just some ways to motivate your students. There are many online resources that can assist with materials for the classroom and fun activities to further motivate students. Remember to be consistent in your teaching method, make learning fun and always bring your positive attitude and smile to the classroom – even when you are tired! Happy teaching!
By Maria Hill – Edu Aid
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