Motivating students I have worked with many students at my


I have worked with many students at my university before and I have trained them also on motivating themselves. A lot of the times this students asked me why they should work hard for their exams and why they should do extra work. They asked me how I keep myself so motivated and how come I'm always so enthusiastic when they meet me. And you know I have to tell you I could not tell them right away. I knew what to do for myself to keep me motivated and to get through hard times, but those things would not work for them like they would for me. So I sat down and thought about the things I do and why they help me stay motivated. Then I evaluated those things and started to write down the basics. I also did some research on what keeps people motivated.

The probably most known theory was formed by Abraham Maslow. He had the theory of the pyramid of needs where he puts different needs on different levels. On the bottom you will have all the needs a person needs to survive like eat, drink, have a roof over the head etc. On top of that there are the security needs like to feel save, keep the standard of life etc. Those two will have to be fulfilled in order to be motivated to do something else. And then there are three levels on top that will help you to motivate yourself: social needs (to be in a peer group, have friends, get respect, etc.), prestige and self-actualization. Those three parts help you to get yourself motivated. You can have them as goals and reasons for why you are doing something. A long term goal will always have you motivated, but of course we all know that the long term goal is far away and till we get there, there are going to be times when it is hard and sometimes even boring and not so easy. Therefore we need to find ways and strategies to motivate ourselves in short terms.

Most of the people make the big mistake to overload themselves and not leave any room to be motivated. In order to prevent that there are some rules you need to follow when studying. First of all you want to set the bar high but not too high because then you just give up without trying cause it is impossible to make. Therefore you should take you personal requirements into consideration so you don't ask yourself something impossible just because someone else with different requirements might be able to do it. One of the most important things is to set yourself little goals and celebrate your achievements. It is always great when you reached a goal and that feeling motivates you to do more. Don't just split you big goal into little ones but also make sure you have a specific plan of the steps. The better you know what to do the better you will be able to follow your steps. And here come the one point you should never forget: have fun!!! There are always ways to have fun while you are learning.

You can play games to study, watch a movie in English or travel to an English speaking country. But let me tell you that you don't always need to have the studying part of your fun. Sometimes it is better to take a break and come back refreshed. For the teacher there is one more thing that is very important: To praise. Tell your students that they are doing a great job. If they hear it from you it will motivate them even more to get even better and possible impress you more and more and that will be a joy for the both of you.

Source: -Maslow, Abraham H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, p. 370-396 -My own experience with teaching about motivation