Motivation in the classroom The quest for knowledge is a lifelong


The quest for knowledge is a lifelong objective for many people. Being motivated to learn, for some students, may come naturally while other students may need inspiration and special challenges to stay focused. As an instructor, we can do many things to motivate our students. Some things that may factor into motivation include the needs of the student and their desire to learn, organization of the classroom, involvement of the students, and instructor's enthusiasm.

Why do students want to learn' In most cultures, young students go to school because they have a need to learn and it is the natural path that is laid out for them. For adult students the needs vary. According to an article on What Motivates People to learn, adult needs include 'Goal Oriented (persuing identified objectives), Learning Oriented (learning for the love of it), and Activity Oriented (learning for reasons unconnected with the program or content)'. Needs can often motivate the desire to learn. Adult learners are likely to be more motivated because they have made the conscious decision to participate in the learning process.

Another motivating factor is organization in the classroom. According to an article on Classroom Environment: The Physical Environment, 'Warm, well-run classrooms begin with the room´s physical layout ' the arrangement of desks and working space, the attractiveness and appeal of bulletin boards, the storage of materials and supplies.' The physical environment is a reflection of the teacher and can be used to motivate students. When students are comfortable in their environment they will have a better learning experience.

According to an article on Ideas for Motivating Students, 'One of the major keys to motivation is the active involvement of students in their own learning. Standing in front of them and lecturing to them (at them') is thus a relatively poor method of teaching. It is better to get students involved in activities, group problem solving exercises, helping to decide what to do and the best way to do it, helping the teacher, working with each other, or in some other way getting physically involved in the lesson.' A reward of practicing this style of teaching is that students often bring knowledge of their own to the class and it helps to keep the lessons interesting.

As an instructor, we can motivate our students with our own enthusiasm for the lessons we are teaching. According to Robert Harris, 'if you can make something fun, exciting, happy, loving, or perhaps even a bit frightening, students will learn more readily and the learning will last much longer.' Instructors who take a unique approach to teaching and present lessons that are fun and exciting will do a great justice in making lasting impressions on their students.

Because there are such a variety of students, each with their own set of needs and abilities, no single method of motivation can be considered the answer for all students. Understanding that all individuals are unique and remaining open to adapt to the needs of individuals, an instructor will be better prepared to motivate students to achieve their goals.

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