Motivating studentsI would hate to think that my students are bored. That would be a failing on my part'
Can the way you teach motivate your class? I am motivated by people responding positively to me, so that is one thing I always try to be with my students."
Published in TES Newspaper on 13 January 2006 by: Sarah Matthews
‘Motivation is an extremely important factor in learning and is closely tied to involvement and empowerment. In the twenty-first century this is not simply something to be bolted on as an afterthought, it is part of children
's rights as recognised under international law’.
(Wyse and Hawtin, 2000)
Being a motivated person and always adopting a sunny disposition whenever entering a classroom, will encourage positivity and get students to respond with positive vibes. Offering a more comfortable learning atmosphere.
Above all else try to point out the things that students are doing well and move them on from there. If you have any teaching issues, try not to do it at the beginning of a lesson. Being positive doesn't always mean showering your students with compliments but saying "Those of you who got above '10' questions correct really extended your learning through extra revision and research and that was impressive," However make sure there is also plenty of praise. "That picture was amazing Ellie. How long did it take you to do that?" Teachers should structure their lessons so pupils of all aptitudes have a chance to shine. On this occasion, a lesson on can/can’t with introductions to the key concepts and animal vocabulary worksheet, followed by an activity to draw a fantasy animal. Try to vary the tasks so that different students get the opportunity to excel.
The motivation of students has always been a matter of concern to educators. What has changed is that the focus on motivation is now often at the expense of the intellectual content of the curriculum or program. Many motivational and behaviour-management techniques used in schools
foster an anti-intellectual climate in the classroom. Today, an elusive quest for a boredom-free classroom leads to a one-sided reliance on techniques and gimmicks that distract students from engaging with a challenging curriculum.
Motivational techniques are useful tools for encouraging students, but on their own are rarely successful in nurturing an effective learning environment. More worryingly, the current obsession with motivation often contributes to the deterioration of the academic ethos of a school, as well as to its standards of discipline. It encourages a culture where the question of how to keep students interested overrides the issue of what the content of education that must be taught is. That’s why some curriculum planners take the view that since it is not possible to motivate children to read books it is preferable to show them DVDs or give them more worksheets.
Experience of life and the desire to improve one’s life chances has often served to motivate children and adults to take their education seriously. Within the school it is the authoritative guidance and the inspiration provided by teachers that has helped to motivate young people. The aspiration to learn and the motivation to study are outcomes of family and community influences, and the authoritative leadership provided by schools and talented teachers. Real motivation is not the outcome of a clever technique but of a school culture that takes education seriously.
Motivation is essential if students are to achieve the highest possible standards in their work. This motivation can only be achieved if students are offered regular opportunities to make decisions about their learning. In terms of writing this means sometimes being encouraged to generate their own ideas and carry them out. It also requires the recognition that in order to learn, students need to make mistakes and to have those mistakes viewed by their teachers as positive moments in the learning process.
Note: Something that maintains motivation is to return a students work together with their assessed
grade and targets for improvement while it is still fresh in their memory, i.e. quickly! They are more likely to see their work as important, if you do too!