Ministry of Education, Guyana

How to Motivate Students in the Classroom

One of the biggest challenges in the classroom is improving student motivation. The two types of motivation for learning are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic learning occurs when the student already has an interest in learning the subject and is inspired internally. However, extrinsic motivation occurs when other factors, such as a reward or recognition, drive them to participate in class. It is the teacher's responsibility to engage students in learning by tapping into intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Foster a Positive Learning Environment
Your personality sets the overall tone in the classroom. When you show enthusiasm and passion for the subject you're teaching, it can be contagious for most students, who will model your positive behavior. Besides teaching the curriculum, be a role model to reinforce positive actions to motivate students to learn. Ensure that classroom rules are detailed so students feel safe to participate and share their opinions and comments without ridicule. Feeling free to express themselves will encourage students to be engaged.

Build Rapport With Students
Students who have positive relationships with teachers are more engaged in learning. Conduct group discussions about subjects that interest them to uncover their personalities. Give surveys with questions about their favorite books, movies, hobbies and sports. Open up to your students as well about your background and interests to show you are genuinely interested in making connections.

Prepare Engaging Lessons
No matter the subject covered, find ways to make the material fun and exciting for your students. Facilitate student activities that give insight to their interests, backgrounds and future goals. Students often are unmotivated because they are bored. Grab their attention with stimulating music, art and hands-on activities to tune them in to the curriculum. For example, if you're delivering a lesson on poetry, play contemporary music and discuss poetic devices within the lyrics instead of just reading poems. Use technology,to liven up classroom activities.

Give Students Options
Each student learns differently and should have a variety of projects and activities to peak her interest. For example, instead of a written exam, give students a list of assignments to choose from, including writing an essay, delivering a presentation, and drawing art. By doing this, you address various learning styles, such as auditory, visual and tactile, helping students to participate in ways that are most natural to them.

Start a Rewards Program
Rewarding students reinforces positive behavior, and students eventually internalize a desire for learning. A rewards program includes giving praise to students for completing assignments and being active participants in classroom activities.



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