Walking into a class full of students who are apathetic and show little or no interest in the subject matter is daunting and discouraging for any teacher. Not every student comes running to class with his/her homework completed and energetically participates in all activities and discussions. Nearly anybody can stand in front of a class and put words and sentences on the board, however, without knowing how to motivate the student, all lesson points will be lost. If the student is motivated then he/she will perform much better both in the classroom and outside the classroom.
Students are motivated in different ways, either intrinsically or extrinsically. The student who is intrinsically motivated learns because he/she wants to whereas the extrinsically motivated student learns to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. All students can be motivated, either intrinsically or extrinsically, but it is the job of the teacher to make sure that the classroom is set up to ensure student success. The teacher motivates the student by using relevant material, creating a comfortable environment, and maintaining a good teacher- student relationship. (3)
To motivate the student, the teacher must capture the student?s attention and develop the desire within each individual to learn and succeed. To do this, the teacher needs to use and create material that is interesting and relevant to the individuals being taught. If the student is able to relate to the material that he/she is learning, then he/she is more likely to retain that information. Not only will the student retain the information, but he/she will also concentrate on the task. The material given to the student should be challenging but not impossible to complete. Tasks that are too difficult for the student will lead to frustration and discourage further participation. In the classroom, there should be constant positive feedback thus encouraging future participation. (2) (1)
It is also important to create a comfortable environment in which the student does not feel threatened or intimidated. Feeling comfortable in the classroom will lead to increased student participation and student confidence. The classroom atmosphere should be inviting, open and secure. A confident, well-prepared teacher will exude security and comfort. The confident teacher conveys his/her attitude to the students thus further contributing to the pleasant environment already created. (3)
Finally, there must be a positive relationship between the student and teacher. It is important for the student to trust and feel comfortable with the teacher. To promote a good student-teacher relationship, the teacher should be enthusiastic, caring, and positive. During each lesson, the teacher needs to give constant positive feedback encouraging students. Student participation and enthusiasm will increase if the teacher is personable and interacts with the students. (4)
Every teacher desires to have a classroom full of self- motivated and enthusiastic students, however it does not always begin that way. The teacher should invest the time and effort to motivate all students. Not only do motivated students perform better in the classroom, but there are also generally fewer behavioral problems. (4) If teachers can successfully motivate his/her students, he/she will notice an increase in classroom productivity and control. Though it is important to motivate the student in the classroom, the teacher should also strive to motivate the student outside the classroom. Giving students the skills to succeed in many aspects of life can begin in the classroom.
References: (1) http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content2/Student_Motivatationl #Motivation
(2) http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teac htip/motiv
Author: Bliss Mulligan
Date of post: 2007-04-18