One of the biggest issues that I have as a teacher is motivating students. You have probably spent some time wondering why your students didn’t care about what you were teaching and wanted to find out what to do about it. In the end, it’s always up to the students and whether or not they’re motivated enough to listen in class and to study. However, there are a few things I do to help students find their own reasons to get motivated. It’s challenging, but the results can be well worth it.
Let them have options
Students often feel like they’re simply gliding through things that have been thought out for them already. Sometimes, a student believes that school is also just a routine thing, making them believe that it is not as important as it really is. To take away that type of thinking, give the students a little bit of control in school. Allow them to make small choices that will show them that they are important and that what they are doing is important. Give them choices, such as where to sit, or what type of activity they would like to do, so that they know that they have a say in school and that it is not just something they are expected to do.
Tell them exactly what you want from them
Students may have pre-conceived beliefs that teachers don’t really care what they think or do. Some others even assume that, for as long as they don’t disrupt the class, it’s perfectly okay what they do. Instead of making them feel that way in your class, tell them exactly what you are looking for from them. Tell them that you are expecting them to take notes about what you are saying, and you will find that they are a bit more enthusiastic because at least they know that you expect something from them.
More often than not, a teacher’s language can affect a child. Calling a person lazy or sleepy will simply make them disregard the teacher. Speak positively to create a rapport with your students. Afterwards, they will do what they can to make sure they don’t disappoint you.
Give praise to specific things
A lot of teachers who believe in positive reinforcement choose to praise students, in general, to stay away from communicating bias. However, simply telling a student that he’s good, or another that she’s improving, is actually not as effective a strategy as saying specific things. For example, telling a student that he or she did well on the introduction of an essay will motivate the student to do well on the rest of the essay and on other essay assignments to come.
Ask the student
Sometimes, the students themselves have no idea why they don’t care. At other times, they simply don’t know why they should. In the end, asking them specifically why they don’t want to listen in class or study can open up a conversation that will allow you to convince them about listening and studying. If the conversation doesn’t work, at least you have created a better relationship with the students, which can slowly help improve their motivation in the future.
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