As a teacher, one of your most important functions is to motivate your students to explore and learn. Teachers should try to instill in their students, the concept that learning is a lifelong adventure, but it can be a fun, satisfying and productive experience.
Teachers must keep the motivation for learning alive and growing in their students. From a very early age, children have that curiosity to explore everything around them. Teachers have a responsibility to their students to motivate them and develop that curiosity into a desire for knowledge.
There are so many ways for you to motivate your students but here are 7 methods or tactics that I have found very effective.
1. Establish a strong teacher-student relationship by showing your students that you care about them and are interested in what they do and accomplish. Respect them and hopefully they will respect you. Develop an atmosphere of trust in a positive learning environment.
2. Showing respect for your students means giving them more control over what they do and how it’s done. Allow them to make some of their own decisions and choices, even if you have a better way and even if they make some mistakes. Just be sure that the choices are reasonable. Motivating students in this manner builds character and is extremely effective.
3. Prepare your students for the outside world by incorporating real world applications into your lesson plans, and your students class assignments and class projects. Students want to feel that they are spending their time on things that will be useful to them. As well, in our technology based society, take the opportunity to use computer applications such as Powerpoint for presentations, the Internet, video (You Tube), etc. to keep your students motivated, focused and interested.
4. A reward system is a terrific motivator for your students and can be of great benefit to you as well. Everyone wins. Introduce a reward system and allow your students to win simple and inexpensive prizes that you can buy at the dollar store. You can also offer other classroom awards such as giving “free time” or having classroom parties. You’ll need to adjust the rewards but all your students young and older will love it. You win by keeping your students motivated (at least by the prizes). Be sure to reward your students only if they finish their work, assignment, project,etc. and not just for taking part.
5. Classroom games and class meetings to discuss personal topics like hobbies are fabulous for motivating students and team building. It’s amazing how it does wonders for students’ self-esteem and camaraderie. Games and team building activities may also attract the unmotivated students you have in your class.
6. Another WIN-WIN for both teacher and students, is allowing them to help you out with many of the classroom jobs. Young and older students love to help the teacher and offering this as a reward, motivates them to try harder and do better with their work. It’s a bonus for you too, since there’s less for you to do.
7. Most kids love to show off to their peers, teacher and parents. So let them by displaying their work in the classroom. It makes them feel that the classroom belongs to them and it’s great for motivating them to work harder and produce better results. Displaying your students work around the classroom will also create an inviting atmosphere in which to teach and learn.
Two important thoughts to keep in mind as you finish reading this article. Always display care, concern and encouragement for your students, and never give up on any unmotivated students or they will give up on themselves. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone involved!
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Honey Krumholz has taught elementary school for 33 years. She is now a college supervisor and mentor to student teachers. She presents seminars on teaching strategies at York University in Toronto. Visit her website and get her effective teaching strategies on a wide variety of topics, for example, her strategies on classroom awards.