Teacher's Guide to Motivating Students

Keeping your students motivated to learn can be challenging. The hardest part is that you have many different types of personalities and learning styles in your classroom that catering to everyone's particular needs is hard for one teacher to accomplish. Even so, there are ways that you can motivate students and keep your classroom a happy place to learn.

Motivate with Reasoning

Students tend to become uninterested in schoolwork when they do not understand what they are learning or why things are done a certain way. Explaining things goes a long way in keeping your students motivated. How would you feel if you were in a desert lost? You would probably feel isolated and terrified. That is just how some students feel when they are given work to do with no clear direction of how or why the work has to be done. This is a relatively easy thing to incorporate in your daily classroom learning environment.

Motivate with Rewards

Who doesn't like a pat on the back for a job well done? Kids, especially, work very well when they have a reward they are trying to achieve. Small rewards might include something as simple as balloons, a pack of gum, or a bag of marbles. Sometimes even a sticker on a paper that says, "You Did It!" can make a student feel good about herself. You might also consider having bigger goals for students to reach together by offering a pizza party for reaching a goal. Try using a positive approach with students have not done well by saying, "You're getting there" or "You have progressed nicely," instead of "That was terrible work, John."

Motivate with a Caring Attitude

Kids have a keen sense of knowing how someone feels. If you act uninterested in the classroom, chances are your students will act that same way. Give your students a reason to enjoy being in your class by genuinely caring for them and wanting to make their time spent with you meaningful. Take the time to get know your students personally. Ask them questions like, "What do you like best about school?" or "What do you want to do when you graduate from school?" Call your students by name, whenever possible. Kids, as well as adults, like to hear their own name spoken.

Get to know your students and take part in their life. They will respond.

Motivate with Participation

Giving students the opportunity to participate in class helps keep them interested in their lessons. If all you ever do is give them material to read and a worksheet that follows, they will cringe at coming to your class every day. Use times of discussion to flourish their imaginations. Let them write on the whiteboard when there is an opportunity to do so. Involving students in your lessons will also help them to remember the things that they are taught more easily.

Motivate with Visual Aids

Showing a movie in class or using an overhead projector helps students understand what they are learning by seeing it in action. Other ways to teach with visual aids includes the use of maps, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, and diagrams. These make lessons more interesting to students.

Motivate with Movement and Games

Who says you can't learn by playing? Playing games is a great way to get students motivated. If they are moving, then you know their brain is thinking. Playing games is particularly good for reviewing material before a test or quiz. Consider games such as:

  • Baseball review
  • Jeopardy
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
  • Pictionary

You can make your own game up by using ideas found on the Internet, or you can buy pre-made games that come with rules and instructions.

The key is to be innovative with your lessons, and brainstorm ways that you can keep your students motivated. It makes your job easier and more fun, and the students will learn better when they have the feeling that they want to learn.