Successfully Motivating Your Students
Oct 7, 2011 Teaching 2603 Views
During a teacher interview, you will more than likely be asked the question: How do you motivate your students? Of course, we know that motivating students and piquing their interest in learning is a key factor in their success in the classroom, so what methods have proven successful in capturing their attention and driving successful mastery of the material?
Below we will examine the best proven strategies for motivating students. Used in combination, they will ensure success with your students and will also ensure a great answer during your next interview.
Define Your Expectations. Tell students from the very beginning of the year what they will need to do in order to be successful in your class. Have students set high but realistic performance goals for themselves, and have them monitor their own progression throughout the year. Let students help guide the direction in which their studies will take them, giving them as much control over their own education as possible.
Provide Opportunities for Success. Struggling students need to succeed in some small ways in order to be motivated to achieve in greater ways. Without lowering your expectations, find ways to allow these struggling students to succeed. This may require adding simple questions to homework assignments, or asking a few basic questions when introducing a new topic and ensuring that the weaker students have a chance to answer.
Be a Role Model. To spark students' interest in a lesson, you must model the desire to learn. Your enthusiasm about the subject will help direct your students' attention. To retain that attention, vary your teaching methods and present examples for them to relate to that demonstrate why the subject is important. Don't just lecture -- have students participate in the discovery by using a variety of interactive teaching activities, keeping this proverb in mind: "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand."
Know Your Students. Each child is different and requires different motivation. What works for one child may or may not work for the rest of your class. Finding what motivates each student will help increase student achievement. Dig deeper to learn your students' strengths and interests, then use these to help direct their self-motivation. Emphasize understanding and mastery of the subject matter rather than the final grade. Increase the difficulty of the material as the semester progresses to maintain interest and offer continuous challenges.
Give Feedback. Provide feedback to students on their work as quickly as possible, and be specific when giving negative criticism. Yelling and threatening students is not an effective way to motivate though. Remain positive when providing criticisms, and focus on achievements. Always praise students' successes, even the small ones, as students learn to recognize that these milestones lead to bigger achievements. This will motivate students and help to create mutual respect for each individual and for learning.
Getting students fired up and excited about their learning can sometimes be challenging, but once you have them onboard, the opportunities for achievement are limitless!