Being a teacher, there can be nothing worse than coming across an unmotivated student. Come to think of it – All your effort to plan and prepare lessons can go waste if the student is not motivated to do better. Trying to encourage a student can often feel like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. Teenagers are tough to motivate- every teacher remembers that one stubborn student in every class couldn’t be persuaded to move an inch! Or the ones who’d always do the opposite of what was told. And worst of all, the ones who’d mentally be on some other plane of existence entirely!
There’s no doubt that teaching is one of the most challenging jobs. Being responsible for students’ mental and emotional growth is no joke! Here are a few ways to motivate your students, when the need arises:
Providing regular positive feedback is one of the best things you can do to motivate your students. If done correctly, your feedback could create an atmosphere that promotes growth and learning at each turn. Instead of giving praise for abilities, give credit for effort, attitude, and investment. Making statements like “Have you been practicing maths at home? It reflects in your work”, “You have really worked hard on this project- well done!” or “I enjoyed reading your assignment- looks like you’ve put a lot of effort into it”. It can boost the student’s desire to do better. New-age schooling platforms like Schoolmojo.in provide options to provide feedback for assignment submissions that can be used to achieve this objective. It assures them that their efforts are being noticed and appreciated and inspires them to keep up the action.
Building good relationships
Building a good relationship is also essential to keeping your students motivated. Your students need to trust and respect you to seek guidance from you. While you continue to give students feedback, consider the flipside too. Ask them for feedback on your teaching methods and material. Your students are the best source of information on which strategies work and what they find engaging in the classroom. This practice also fosters trust, and students see that you are invested in their progress and willing to make changes for their benefit.
The foundation of a good relationship lies in getting to know your students. Make time to interact with all of your students – learn about their interests, dislikes, what’s going on in their homes, who their friends are, etcetera. Every student is different, and hence they have other triggers and motivational strategies. It might take a few tries to find the right one, but if you can get to know them more at a personal level, you will be better equipped to find the strategy that works for them.
Wherever possible, give students choices. Students are used to parents and teachers dictating every aspect of their lives. Having the autonomy to make choices for themselves can be a major motivating factor. Within the set curriculum, give students options on how they would like to learn the material. Another good idea is the 20-time method. You allocate 20% (or say 10%) of the time for students to pursue their chosen projects. This method was adopted by companies like Google for their employees with excellent results. For students, this nurtures curiosity and independent study.
Another option is to let them choose their form of assessment. When giving an assignment, let students choose between a video report, an oral report, and a PPT presentation. Students will be able to play to their strengths or choose a method they enjoy creating. Either way, they will be better off having a choice.
Establish expectations and set goals
Be vocal about your expectations from your students. Create boards or charts for tracking goals and achievements, or encourage them to create one themselves. Having a public board proves more beneficial, as we are more likely to accomplish goals when they are shared. www.makeavisionboard.com can help you create a vision board with your students. Set aside time for reflecting on the goals they have achieved and how to work towards the ones they haven’t reached yet.
Wherever possible, lead by example. If you want your students to behave with compassion and empathy, practice it in the classroom yourself. Students always learn by example. Create examples of the students who consistently put in efforts and work hard, whether it reflects academically or not. If you are assigning a project, and are looking for specific outcomes, show examples of what you expect. Only discussing or talking is not enough for motivation. Examples help children get an idea of what is expected of them, which motivates them to meet those expectations.
Summing it up
Even the best students have times when they feel demotivated or uninspired. As a teacher, it is essential to practice methods that help them stay motivated to succeed throughout the semester. Allowing students the chance to play to their strengths and a level of autonomy within the classroom can significantly increase their motivation. Emotionally, the bond you have with your students makes it easier for them to seek and accept help whenever they require it. Use Student Discussion features available on schooling platforms like Schoolmojo.in to stay connected with your students without breaching your privacy! Students do not always know what they need, making it challenging to help them. As a teacher, the best you can do is pay attention to their problems and find solutions together. Progress, whether emotional or academic, is not achieved overnight. Have patience and be prepared to consistently offer help and guidance to those who need it most. Remember, when you are a teacher, you are shaping the future. Don’t be too hard on yourself!