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Motivating StudentsMotivating students can be an arduous and sometimes draining task for teachers, especially if students do not particularly wish to be taking part in the lesson or learning in general. There are, however, many tactics a teacher can use in order to engage students and increase their level of motivation. I personally believe in the inclusion of more non-traditional methods of teaching to help motivate students and get them in the spirit of learning. There are two different motivation types to consider – intrinsic and extrinsic.
There is much debate and study done on the difference and importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for learning. External rewards seem necessary in the world we live in but does it detract from internal satisfaction? In my opinion, there needs to be a good balance of both. Too much emphasis on one over the other can backfire but a lack of one entirely can negatively affect a large population of students and hinder their motivation. While extrinsic motivation has validity, I choose to focus on using intrinsic motivation for students.
Facilitating extrinsic motivation can be anything from giving out grades to stickers for a job well done, etc. While this can be motivating for students, it can potentially take away from the beauty of learning for the purpose of learning and the natural benefit that materializes from learning in itself. It also can put into the mindset of a student that once external rewards are no longer present, students will lose interest in learning. Intrinsic motivation can be defined when a student’s competence and control come together in a recognized state. It is important to build up students (not in an unrealistic and untrue way as that will result in a false sense of security and success) but in my opinion, focus on the positive aspects of what a student is accomplishing and work on weaknesses. A student should never ever be told that something they did was stupid or any other harsh words along that line. I did have one teacher in my past that constantly degraded the students and it did not promote a safe and productive learning environment. There are certain tactics and tools teachers can use to promote intrinsic motivation. Implementing a predictable environment can put students at ease. While to a certain extent this can be helpful with a student’s need of control, and is something I think is useful in a classroom, it needs to be used to a certain extent. If there is too much certainty in what is going to occur, the class structure can tread a fine line and risk becoming a boring environment. Also, certain lessons might require a teacher to think outside the box a little or approach it from a less traditional or established way. Surprises in a classroom, although might be initially off putting to a student, can end up reaping rewards. All lessons should have a certain level of predictability as I do think routine is important, especially when teaching children
, but deviation from usual protocol in certain situations is necessary.
Goals and purpose are necessary for students to fill from within and are essential for motivation. It is a teacher’s job to help students map out and establish these for effective learning. Students feel their participation is warranted and valuable if they feel they have a purpose and makes it easier to work towards achieving goals. When people lack a purpose they seem to flounder through any sort of pursuit, so it is an important part of a teacher’s job description to keep students on track and focused in the right direction. Setting appropriate expectations and seeing a student’s goals come to fruition is rewarding for both parties involved.
From my vantage point, student motivation is one of the most challenging tasks a teacher can encounter, which is why I picked this topic. You can prepare a lesson such as grammar, vocabulary, etc. but preparing for student participation/involvement is not as clear-cut and can be a lot more challenging.