Motivating Students INTRODUCTIONStudents become what they


Students become what they live with. If they live with encouragement, they would learn to be self-confident. If they live with praise, they would learn to appreciate.

1.Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Students need to be encouraged to become self- motivated independent learners and teachers could motivate the students by:

•Giving frequent, early, positive feedback and praise and honest appreciation that supports students’ beliefs that they can do well and strengthen the students’ self- motivation.

•Assigning tasks to students that are neither too easy nor too difficult to ensure the students’ success.

•Students need to be shown how to find personal meaning and value in the course material, which should be relevant to their level of ability and capability.

•An atmosphere that is relaxed, open and positive would ensure that an environment is created for learning.

•Good rapport between teacher and students in order for students to feel that they are making a valuable contribution.

2.Goal setting for students with realistic expectations

They need to set realistic goals for themselves and need to evaluate their progress continually by critically examining their own work.

If you as a teacher believe your students to be motivated, hardworking, and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so. Give the students a fine reputation to live up to.

The standards must be high enough to motivate students to do their best work but not so high that students will be frustrated in trying to meet those expectations. Provide them with early opportunities for success.

3.Course Outline / Material and how to succeed

Students need to know what is expected from them and what they need to succeed. Most students respond positively to a well organized course taught by an enthusiastic teacher who has a genuine interest in students and what they learn. Students should be given the opportunity to succeed right from the beginning of the course and the content and objectives of the course will help them to achieve their goals.

The difficulty level could gradually be increased and therefore make it possible for them to experience success as well as challenge. To enhance the students’ motivation, a variety of teaching activities and methods to promote learning should be included in an ongoing manner, e.g. role playing, debates, brainstorming, games, etc.

4.Do an analysis of students’ needs/their strengths and interests

Find out what the students’ needs are via a needs analysis. Why students are enrolled in the course and what their expectations are and then design activities to address these kinds of needs and interests.

Many factors affect a student’s motivation to work and to learn such as interest in the subject matter, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem as well as patience and persistence. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others and others by overcoming challenges.

5.Giving students feedback as quickly as possible and reward success

The teacher should refrain from public criticism of students’ performance and rather give positive feedback as they are more likely to be affected by positive feedback and success.

Students should be given an indication of how well they have done on any assignment or test paper as soon as possible and it is important to reward success publicly and immediately. Anything as simple as saying to a student that “the essay was well written or that a student’s response was good” with an indication of why it was good or if it was a team effort, to mention their names.

If the student’s performance is weak, show the student how to improve and let them know that you believe they can improve and succeed over time and avoid remarks that might create feelings of inadequacy. Let them find the solution first in order to experience a sense of achievement and confidence that will increase their motivation to learn.


Motivate the students to get actively involved in the learning and solving of problems and not just be spectators on the outside as passivity dampens students’ curiosity and learning. Students learn by doing, making, writing, designing, creating and solving problems.


Carnegie. D. “How to win friends and influence people”. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1964.

Davis, B.G., “Tools for Teaching”. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1993.

Ericksen, S.C. “The Lecture.” Memo to the Faculty, no. 60 Ann Arbor: Center for Research on Teaching and Learning, University of Michigan, 1978.