How and Why Teachers Should Motivate Students

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Motivation is a psychological feature that evokes a desire to achieve a certain goal. Students have different goals on their studies. Teachers spend most time with students and should be able to motivate them towards achieving their goals. There are numerous ways that teachers can implement this.

1. Rapport/Constant communication

Keeping in touch with students is key to knowing their worries. Teachers should not be afraid to ask the hard questions to their students. Look for a way to strike rapport with your students especially the reserved ones.The questions could help unearth a problem or challenge facing a student. Some kids have low self esteem and only a one on one sessions with a teacher helps them open up what is disturbing them.

2. Switching teaching strategies/Materials.

Teachers need to vary their teaching methods teaching and never stick to one. For example, a text can be read, acted, turned into a poem, into informative flyers and adverts!!!!!A single repetitive method of teaching is boring to any student. Some of the ways of teaching are classroom participation, alliteration, demonstrations and checking for understanding(CFU’S). Switching of teaching methods takes into consideration the slow learners as well as the fast learners. Employ the strategy that brings your particular lesson alive for all taking into consideration their abilities. Group challenges work better than pinpointing a particular student to answer questions – and, students love group work, try them!! Change, introduce, improvise and source teaching aids. Students will enjoy making aids if you describe what you need – include them. Move out of traditional white or black board.

3. Reinforcement

Praise and reward students upon achieving a target. Everyone loves praise! Students get motivated when they are rewarded for hard work. This could be as little as having their names read out during assembly or putting their names on notice board also makes them feel great! If your school has a school magazine, you could publish the top performers in your subject/ class or activity in a the magazine. Organize a road trip for the whole class to museums, game parks or monuments for maintaining discipline for a whole term. Before any reward is given, students should know a teacher’s expectations.

4. Sanctions

Interestingly, sanctions work as well as reinforcement. When you withhold a favor/treats until a task is accomplished or a grade achieved, you are motivating the learner to push his abilities. Careful though! the targets must be achievable If you use sanctions against unachievable targets, the opposite happens – the learner becomes demotivated and can even become resentful if everyone else gets the favor and he is left out.

5. Flexibility

Don’t be overly bossy as a teacher. Be a child at times – children are spontaneous. Create opportunities for students to express themselves in a non learning environment. This way, you learn them; their needs, their soft spots, strong points, their social skills and so on. Now, when you know all these, you are in a better position to tackle issues in their world which could be interfering  with their academic performance. This can be done by picking on a day in the week to do an extraordinary activity. Of course you need to ensure that scheduled learning is not disrupted. Surprise the whole class with a birthday gift/celebration for a student.

You don’t have to be the best paid teacher, the school head, work in a rich school or have the best resources as can be found in stores in order to have a motivated class!! You just need to realize the wonders that motivation performs on learner performance. And it’s spiral! A motivated class makes a motivated teacher.

By Timothy Keter, Impact Study Lead, Eneza Education.