The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.Plutarch
I’ve been a teacher for 6 years and during my teaching days, I’ve learned a lot about teaching strategies. I believe that the best lessons, books, and materials in the world won’t get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they’re not motivated.
Inspiring students is crucial to ensure their success and motivating them to fulfil their dreams. Students who are inspired by their teachers can accomplish amazing things, and that motivation always stays with them.
So, before learning about the ways to motivate students, let’s learn a bit about motivation and its types.
What is motivation?
Motivation is an internal process that makes a person move toward a goal.
Types of motivation:
1. Intrinsic Motivation:
Intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something without any external rewards. You do it because it’s enjoyable and interesting, rather than because of an outside incentive or pressure to do it.
An example of intrinsic motivation would be reading a book because you enjoy reading and have an interest in the story or subject, rather than reading because you have to write a report on it.
2. Extrinsic Motivation:
Extrinsic motivation arises from the outside. When you’re extrinsically motivated, you do something to gain an external reward. This can mean getting something in return, such as money, or avoiding getting into trouble, such as losing your job.
An example of extrinsic motivation would be competing in sports for trophies or completing work for money.
Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned and educated teachers lack the skills to keep kids on track, so whether you’re a new teacher or an experienced one, try using these methods to motivate your students and to encourage them to live up to their true potential.
1. Encourage Students
A student looks to teachers for acceptance and positive support, and are more likely to be enthusiastic about learning if they feel their work is recognized and appreciated.
Be enthusiastic. Praise your students every now and again. Recognize them for their contributions. If your classroom is a friendly place where students feel heard and respected, they will be more eager to learn. A “good job!” or “well done!” can go a long way.
2. Develop a Reading Atmosphere
I’ve noticed that children who develop a love of reading, develop a love of learning. Children who struggle with reading, struggle with learning.
Reading not only helps children develop a much richer vocabulary, but it also helps their brain learn how to process concepts.
So, fill your classroom with reading materials (novels, posters, storybooks, newspapers, magazines, etc.) to create an atmosphere of reading that will illustrate to your students just how important reading is.
But don’t forget, the idea is to make reading fun – not frustrating. If a child decides that reading is boring or frustrating, they won’t want to read and their ability to learn will be decreased. Let children pick their own books to read, help them read, and create activities for them that make reading fun.
3. Adopt Game-Based Learning
This is my favourite methodology among all. Game-based learning can be incredibly beneficial for many reasons. Using games as an education tool not only provides opportunities for deeper learning but also motivates children to learn.
Moreover, game-based learning is an effective motivation for team-based learning. Students typically try harder at games than they do in courses as games are more engaging and entertaining.
4. Celebrate Achievements
No matter how small they may be, it’s important to recognize and celebrate your student’s achievements. This is especially important for elementary age school children who require constant positive support to keep them motivated to learn and challenge themselves to do better.
It can be anything like finishing a difficult project, doing well on a math test or remembering some complex vocabulary from the last class. Any of this could call for an ice cream party.
5. Make Students Active Participants
Students learn by doing, making, writing, creating, and solving. Inactivity dulls student’s motivation and curiosity.
Ask questions! Encourage students to suggest methods to a problem or to guess the results of an experiment.
Give them responsibilities. Younger students could enjoy being in charge of a particular classroom job such as wiping the whiteboard or distributing worksheets. Older students can help lead games, write homework on the board, or “teach” a five-minute class on a topic of their choice.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin
6. Be Careful with Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is an extremely powerful thing and can lead to a negative class atmosphere.
Whenever, you identify a student’s weakness, make it clear that your comments relate to a particular task or performance, not to the student as a person.
Try to cushion negative comments with a compliment about the aspects of the task in which the student succeeded. Instead of saying- “You need to work on the grammar”, you can say-“You need to work on the grammar but I’m really impressed by your vocabulary. Keep it up!”
7. Encourage Them for Team-Work
Team building exercises are a great motivator for students in classrooms. Working in groups naturally excites students since they can get together with their friends and have more interaction but it also benefits the class as a whole.
Working in groups can help shy and introverted students to come forward and participate in class, something which they would not voluntarily do. Group projects also help students engage in fun activities, solve problems faster and work together.
Every Student is Different!
Even though motivation and encouragement are important, as a teacher, you should make a note that motivation should be in a healthy and positive direction and does not have a negative impact on the student.
Help your students focus on learning instead of their performance. It is also important to understand that every student moves at their own pace and pushing their limits is not always the best solution. In the end as a teacher, it is your job to create a balanced atmosphere in your classroom where students are encouraged to learn and grow at their own pace.
“Don’t try to be perfect. Just try to be better than you were yesterday.”
If You’re Excited, They’re Excited!
Enthusiasm is contagious. When teachers are excited about teaching, their students will be more excited about learning. Use your knowledge and love of the subject to come up with examples your students can relate to and understand.
Inspiration is one of the most important gifts a teacher can give students. A teacher that inspires is a role model, an influence that goes far beyond academic achievement.
Teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts; it is acquiring understanding.William Arthur Ward