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Motivation is powerful. Fostering motivation in students equips them with a fundamental skill that will benefit them in many areas of their life. Teachers hold a tremendous amount of influence in the classroom, so it’s vital for them to understand the magnitude of their impressions. Take a moment to think back on your previous teachers. Can you identify two teachers from your past; one that made you excited to learn and one that made you hit the snooze button? What did they do differently? You may be able to pick out several differences, however, most of them can be correlated with the teacher’s motivations. What motivates you? It is important to have a very clear vision as to why you became a teacher and to home in on those motivators. It is beneficial for teachers to identify their motivators, not only for themselves but also for their students. Feeling fulfilled as a teacher will have an effect on your students. You should carry enthusiasm and excitement throughout your lessons and express your desire to engage with them. Be aware of the energy you transmit and how it’s received and passed on to others. Your attitude towards learning and your devotion to them can enhance your students’ motivation towards their personal and educational development. Becoming a role model to your students is the seed that cultivates a motivational environment. Teachers should take the initiative to learn more about their students. It may be easy to identify their learning ability through tests and assessments, however, how do you determine a student’s motivational capabilities? Take time to find out their interests, extracurricular activities, career goals, and/or passions. Harnessing this knowledge as a teacher can better help you connect with their motivators. Create activities that display an association between the material inside the classroom to their life outside the classroom. Help them discover their potential to achieve their goals and give them the opportunity to take control of their actions. Provide a balance of praise and constructive feedback and encourage them to be persistent. Incorporating these skills as part of your teaching methods will inspire your students to naturally harvest a growth mindset. How does mindset affect motivation? After reading the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., I became acutely aware of my thought process and the actions I have taken to achieve my goals. The author uses examples to illustrate the differences associated with a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. She directly applies her research to four major areas: parenting, business, school, and relationships. A growth mindset is when someone believes they are in control of their abilities and can improve their development with dedication and hard work. A fixed mindset is when someone believes their abilities and talent are fixed traits. [Dweck 2006] It’s challenging to motivate students to work harder if they simply believe that they are not smart and no amount of schooling will fix that. Teachers have the unique opportunity to change the mindset and nurture the motivational skills of their students. Take advantage of your position as a teacher to share the goals of the classroom, search for opportunities to grow, avoid language that limits performance, praise their efforts, and embrace the learning process. A teacher must accept the responsibility of being at the front line of the learning experience and that beyond the material of any lesson, teachers provide their students with the ability to grasp life skills and take control of their dreams. Various forms of motivation can be used depending on the age-range and comprehension of the students, so it’s never too early or too late to plant the seeds. Approach teaching with mindfulness towards motivating your students to develop their skills through effort and hard work. Ignite their minds with inspiration and encourage them to never give up.