How to Motivate Your Students
Everyone needs motivation at some point in their life. Whether you’re young or old, you need encouragement to succeed. This applies throughout the teaching profession, as the learning process is taxing on the mind, body and more often than not, soul!
In fact, students may need it more than most. Many students have their own problems at home or may have difficulty imagining the uses of the subject that you’re trying to teach. For that reason, you need to be the beacon that lights the way to better learning. Or something like that anyway.
But how? How do you motivate those that may be struggling? A pedantic would probably just ask you to “do your job.” Ultimately though, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Involvement is Everything
You’ve probably heard this before, but active participation results in a better learning experience. This doesn’t just apply to the student, as it often helps the teacher too! Instead of reading from a book for an hour, why not create an activity or discussion about a topic? In order to stay motivated, a student needs to feel like they belong, and that they have a vested interest in learning.
That interest doesn’t need to be financial or even educational. (On the surface, anyway.) Some students prefer creative activities, while some prefer to talk to or even teach other students. Lesson variation is important and keeps students interested in topics that may have overstayed their welcome. You also need to be there for them when they’re struggling, in order to provide encouragement. In short, you need to be involved, and you’re students need to be and feel involved.
Throw Away the Textbooks
Textbooks are extremely useful, that much is certain. More often than not though, it’s how they’re used that truly makes an impact. If you’re sitting your students in front of the same book every day, they’re going to get bored and lose motivation. As mentioned in the previous section, you’ve got to provide variation.
Use the textbooks to create a lesson structure, but don’t bring them out in the lesson. You could be copying the textbooks word-for-word, but the students don’t know that. While these books are useful, they could be a physical and mental block for some students. So keep them away for a lesson or two. Your students should become more engaged as a result.
Praise Goes a Long Way
We all know this to a certain extent, but praise should be given to students that work to your specifications. Praise doesn’t have to be verbal either. A small written note inside their workbook goes a long way for a student that isn’t as confident in the classroom. You shouldn’t dish it out all the time though, as it may lose its impact.
Praise lets a student know that they’re on the right track. If they’ve spent a long time on a task, let them know that you’re proud of their work ethic. If they didn’t get to the right conclusion but made great strides in their methods, tell them that they’ll get it next time. Some students need to have a constant sense of support in order to remain motivated. For those students, a little bit of praise goes a long way.
Stop to Look Back
There may be a point where your entire class struggles. This often happens with data-driven subjects, but it also affects creative disciplines too. At this point, it may be worth reminding your students just how far they’ve come. You could tailor an entire lesson around this, by quickly running through topics that you know your class has worked on successfully.
This will boost their confidence, giving them a better chance of tackling the tricky subject that is sapping their motivation. You don’t even need to go to this extreme. Just remind them how much they’ve learned since they started your class. It’s a simple gesture, but it goes a long way.
The Right Role
If you just can’t motivate your students, it may be an issue with your current role. REESON Education has an excellent reputation with schools and teachers throughout London, and we’re happy to help you with your job hunt. We have many opportunities for someone with your skillset. All you have to do is ask!