Student motivation is crucial to student learning. Teachers have a significant role and responsibility in influencing the motivation levels of their students. Here’s 9 questions you can ask to identify what you need to do differently.
1. Am I genuinely enthusiastic about what I am teaching?
This question surpasses all others. If you are not fully engaged and completely enthusiastic about what you’re teaching, you will find that motivating your students is incredibly difficult. The best way for you to ignite interest and energy in your students, is to be interesting and energetic yourself. Be a teacher who is passionate and who actually cares about what they’re teaching, and more importantly, who they’re teaching.
2. Have I clearly communicated what I expect of students?
Many times, a student lacks motivation simply because they do not know what is expected of them. You must ensure that you clearly outline your expectations to students, be it about classroom procedures or specific learning tasks, and also give the students a specific timeline in which to accomplish those expectations.
3. Do I intentionally arouse curiosity in my students?
The start of every lesson or learning experience should do something to immediately capture students’ attention and arouse their curiosity. Think of ways to spark their interest at the very beginning, and then keep check on how their motivation levels are going throughout the lesson.
4. Do I sometimes change the program, timetable or lesson location to re-engage students’ attention?
When was the last time you did something ‘out of the ordinary’ with your class? Changing the ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ way of doing things is a great strategy to motivate your students. Mix up the usual order of things. Change the physical location of your lesson (this could even be within the classroom – move to a different spot to teach or get the students to move somewhere). Do a ‘surprise’ lesson that your students aren’t expecting. You will also find that this is a good boost for your motivation too!
5. Am I making the content relevant?
Are you intentionally making the content relevant and relatable to the students you’re teaching? Great teachers find ways to make the subject content interesting and palatable to the students they are teaching. Often students lack motivation because they cannot see how the content relates to them personally. Ensure you find a way to bridge this gap.
6. Am I generous with encouragement?
Regardless of our age, we all thrive on encouragement. Whenever someone encourages me, I feel a huge surge of energy and I find am intrinsically motivated to keep going and keep moving forward. Take every opportunity to praise and encourage your students.
7. Do I give the students opportunities to be involved?
There is no replacement for involvement. Involved students are engaged students. And engaged students have high levels of motivation. How often do you involve your students in your class? When was the last time they were an important part of your lesson? Increase the opportunities for your students to be involved and you will notice an immediate increase in their motivation levels.
8. Do I regularly use a variety of teaching strategies?
Think about your last five lessons. What teaching strategies did you use to engage your students? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and teach your students the same way, with the same strategies, for every single lesson. Brainstorm some different strategies you could use to motivate your students and get them involved.
9. Am I a good example of an engaged learner?
Students are always watching. Our example as their teacher has a powerful effect. Students whose teacher is engaged and focused are typically engaged and focused themselves. Be a teacher who models the kind of behaviour you expect from your students.
This week’s assignment:
In what area can you make some small changes to help re-engage your students and increase their motivation levels? Try it this week and notice the positive change.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
QUESTION: How do you motivate your students? What works for you? You can leave your comments here.