When motivating students, I think back to when I was their age and in their shoes. That’s one of the best ways in which I relate to them; I share with them stories about how I was in school, which they find humorous but also relatable. This allows them to open up to me and listen to what I have to tell them. When I speak to the students, I’m like an older brother to them. I show genuine concern for their circumstances and I genuinely want them to do well, which they can pick up from my persona.
If teachers try to demand respect and are always dictating to the students, what they should and shouldn’t do, students switch off and lose motivation. Although they still have a lot to learn, they feel like they know it all, and teachers have to now be smart with the wording they use to get their point across. I’m not saying become scared of students and step on eggshells when around them, but what I am saying is lets understand where they are coming from, empathise with them and allow them to realise they you are both playing for the same team.
One tool that I’d like to share with you briefly is that students are motivated more when they are having fun. If you look at the school system today, especially between years 7-9, I can pretty much guarantee you that if you ask students to name their favourite subjects, it will more than likely be P.E. It’s a subject that is practical, fun and keeps them active.
In life in general we switch off when we find things boring; if you find that students are not motivated in your lessons or getting work done, it more than likely means that they find it boring. Now I know you cannot make everything you teach fun, but as a teacher you have the liberty to implement different tools to enhance the lessons. For example, you can add ice breakers at the beginning and in-between the lesson; what this will actually do is help to keep the attention span of the pupils, along with helping to keep them motivated. Creating a high-energy, fun learning environment will definitely help to motivate your students.
I could go on forever on different ways teachers can motivate students, from helping students to find out why they want to be successful, to how to build rapport with students and also rewarding students. For now, lets focus on making learning fun; when students have fun learning their energy and motivation levels will increase. Lets accommodate the generation we have today and adapt to the times we are in, lets use technology to our advantage and other tools that have proven to be successful in engaging students. Until next time, keep up the great work and continue to transform, motivate and inspire our students to greatness.
Do you have any tips to get students motivated? Leave your stories and personal experiences in the comments below.