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(A Thought to Sensitize)
Tapash Das, Assistant Teacher

One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a teacher is learning how to motivate your students. It is also one of the most important. Students who are not motivated will not learn effectively. They won’t retain information, they won’t participate and some of them may even become disruptive. A student may be unmotivated for a variety of reasons: They may feel that they have no interest in the subject, find the teacher’s methods un-engaging or be distracted by external forces. It may even come to light that a student who appeared unmotivated actually has difficulty learning and is need of special attention. Interested in developing your skills as a teacher? Explore online education short courses designed to give you an in-depth understanding of various skills in teaching. While motivating students can be a difficult task, the rewards are more than worth it. Motivated students are more excited to learn and participate. Simply put: Teaching a class full of motivated students is enjoyable for teacher and student alike. Some students are self-motivated, with a natural love of learning. But even with the students who do not have this natural drive, a great teacher can make learning fun and inspire them to reach their full potential.

Here are five effective ways to get your students excited about learning:
1. Encourage Students:
Students look to teachers for approval and positive reinforcement, and are more likely to be enthusiastic about learning if they feel their work is recognized and valued. You should encourage open communication and free thinking with your students to make them feel important. Be enthusiastic. Praise your students often. Recognize them for their contributions. If your classroom is a friendly place where students feel heard and respected, they will be more eager to learn. A “good job” or “nice work” can go a long way.

2. Get Them Involved: One way to encourage students and teach them responsibility is to get them involved in the classroom. Make participating fun by giving each student a job to do. Give students the responsibility of tidying up or decorating the classroom. Assign a student to erase the blackboard or pass out materials. If you are going over a reading in class, ask students to take turns reading sections out loud. Make students work in groups and assign each a task or role. Giving students a sense of ownership allows them to feel accomplished and encourages active participation in class.

3. Offer Incentives: Setting expectations and making reasonable demands encourages students to participate, but sometimes students need an extra push in the right direction. Offering students small incentives makes learning fun and motivates students to push themselves. Incentives can range from small to large giving a special privilege to an exemplary student, to a class pizza party if the average test score rises. Rewards give students a sense of accomplishment and encourage them to work with a goal in mind.

4. Get Creative: Avoid monotony by changing around the structure of your class. Teach through games and discussions instead of lectures, encourage students to debate and enrich the subject matter with visual aids, like colorful charts, diagrams and videos. You can even show a movie that effectively illustrates a topic or theme. Your physical classroom should never be boring: use posters, models, student projects and seasonal themes to decorate your classroom, and create a warm, stimulating environment.

5. Draw Connections to Real Life: “When will I ever need this?” This question, too often heard in the classroom, indicates that a student is not engaged. If a student does not believe that what they’re learning is important, they won’t want to learn, so it’s important to demonstrate how the subject relates to them. If you’re teaching algebra, take some time to research how it is utilized practically for example, in engineering and share your findings with your students. Really amaze them by telling them that they may use it in their career. Showing them that a subject is u

Why is motivation important?
A motivated teacher is crucial to a successful classroom. They will look at teaching through a different lens, and, in doing so; motivate their students in their learning too. Motivation helps to energise, direct and sustain positive behaviour over a long period of time. It involves working towards goals and tailoring activities to achieving this purpose. It also helps to drive creativity and curiosity, sparking the desire needed for students to want to learn more. It isn’t just a case of getting pupils interested in learning in the moment, but also in growing the underlying goals and aspirations pushing their entire academic studies. It is about motivating them beyond the initial task or feeling of accomplishment and appreciating how ‘deferred gratification’ plays into the role of education in order for them to work towards a greater, larger goal. This is known as ‘intrinsic motivation’ and research has found it to be of key importance. How to introduce motivation into the classroom Part of being a motivated teacher comes through your general behaviour and attitude. There’s a lot to be said for people that regularly smile, offer a happy and cheery outlook on life and generally come across as upbeat and pleasant to be around – regardless of how they’re actually feeling. Making your classroom a warm, colourful and stimulating environment is also key to creating a positive space. It’s also important that you reward your students for good work as you go along. It doesn’t have to be all the time, as then it will come to be expected and will hold less value when you do praise them. But recognising hard work and offering praise will ensure your students stay encouraged and feeling as though their work is on the right track forwards and that you’re noticing their efforts. Mixing things up is also key. If you’re doing the same thing all the time, it’ll start to become boring and repetitive. Look at the materials you’re teaching and think about how you can put a new spin on them. Perhaps you turn something into an acting activity or maybe you can turn facts or figures into a song that will help to make it more memorable. Perhaps you can get students working together on a group activity – this is a great way of helping students motivate each other. Be creative – use posters, offer visual aids and diagrams, show movies and play games. Additionally, working in a different environment will help to keep students on their toes. Research has found that when we move around in various spaces while learning, we are able to recall more information better than if we had just stayed in one space. This is due to the associations the brain makes. The more you encourage movement in learning, the more the information is absorbed. Perhaps you do some work in the playground, some in the classroom and some off the school grounds. Maybe you look at taking your students on a field trip that will add a real-life dimension to their studies. Setting expectations in the classroom is the key and gives your students a standard to work towards. However, when you find your students need a nudge forwards, offering small incentives can help make learning fun. Encouraging a competitive energy can help fuel students and push them further – this could range from offering a special privilege to having a class pizza party if they all achieve a certain grade. There’s a reason sales companies offer staff bonuses – it always motivates!

Finally, showing students how information they’re learning is useful to real-life scenarios will help them to see the practical application that it holds. Often students will switch off when they don’t see how it will ever benefit them, but if you can connect it to life outside the classroom, it will give it new importance and motivate them to listen more attentively.


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