How to Motivate Students 

Ginger Abbot

Feb 17, 2023
classroom movtivation

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Sometimes students can find it harder to focus on school work. They might have outside stressors or just be ready for the summer. As a teacher, it’s essential to keep your undergraduates engaged all semester long. Here are a few tips for how to motivate students. 

1. Give Them Some Choice

While creating the lesson plan, try to provide some room for flexibility. For example, let the undergraduates choose how they want to learn the lesson. This could include reading a textbook chapter or watching a video. 

Keep in mind each kid has a different learning styles, such as auditory or visual. So, if you cater to their specific type, they may concentrate more. Also, they may feel inspired to work harder if they feel a sense of control.

2. Have Clear Expectations 

Kids find it harder to complete assignments with limited instructions. You want to clearly state the assignment’s goal to prevent confusion. Suppose the kid feels unsure of the expectations. They’ll be less motivated to finish the task and more inclined to procrastinate. 

So, start of the semester, by laying out objectives. This gives your undergraduates something to aim for and keeps them focused. For example, a goal for an English class could be to improve one’s critical thinking skills. 

3. Vary the Classroom Setting

Starting at concrete walls can cause students to feel burned out. So, on a nice day, take your classroom outside. It can provide a change of scenery and allow them to refocus. Plus, the fresh air can boost people’s mood, and it’s good for their health. You can also take undergraduates on field trips or bring in guest speakers. 

Museums are great places for history or art lessons. You can even just take a trip to the library to reinforce positive study skills, like sticking to a schedule. 

4. Create a Safe Learning Environment 

One way to motivate students is through positive reinforcement. While you need to set boundaries, you want your classroom to feel like a welcoming space for everyone. If you reaffirm a kid’s abilities, they are more likely to try harder and keep a positive attitude. So, give praise whenever it’s earned. 

However, consequences can make people hesitant to make a mistake. This can then disrupt their motivation. You can even offer rewards if your undergraduates exceed your expectations. It can be something as simple as a pizza party or movie day. 

5. Provide Friendly Competition 

Consider some light-hearted competition to encourage motivation. Students will do their best to excel if they are being compared to someone else. For example, you could have a series of games related to the course material. This is an excellent way for kids to show off their knowledge. Just set clear rules, so the competition doesn’t get out of hand. 

You can also encourage people to work together. Social interaction can make them feel more engaged in the lesson plan. Also, they can motivate each other to reach a common goal. Although, keep an eye on the groups to ensure everyone is pulling their weight equally. 

6. Offer More Chances for Student Leadership 

Allow people to take on more responsibility. Many undergraduates will see a leadership role as a privilege and do their best to impress you. They may also take the responsibilities and try to motivate others to work harder. 

In addition, they may feel valued and will work harder to complete the task. So, have your students take turns leading class discussions. Have them develop a lesson plan and be in charge of the classroom for a day. It could even be their mid-term assignment.

7. Encourage a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is when you believe that talents are cultivated through hard work. This is the opposite of a fixed mindset, where you think you’re born with specific abilities that can’t be changed. 

A fixed mindset causes kids to shy away from challenges since they don’t want to fail. Yet, those with a growth mindset see failures as a chance to improve. One way to foster a growth mindset is to provide kids with praise for their efforts. Also, don’t focus solely on their abilities, such as being good at math. 

8. Create Strong Relationships with Your Students 

Creating bonds is a great way to motivate students to work harder. If they feel valued, then they will come to you with questions. It also makes them more excited to reach your expectations. So, try to get to know kids’ hobbies and interests. Learn more about their family situation. 

You can use this information to help motivate them in a way that will be meaningful. For example, if they like to watch sports, use a football analogy to teach the math lesson. You can even learn these details by having kids share some good news at the start of class. 

How to Motivate Students Effectively 

As a teacher, your job is to instill knowledge into the next generation. However, it can take patience, especially when you have an unfocused classroom. So, follow these tips for how to motivate students successfully. 


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