Many people who go on to become educators have had a strong academic background throughout their lives. Many people, including myself, enjoy reading. A trip to the bookshop or library sounded more appealing than a stop at the ice cream parlour. I used a flashlight to read at night and a Remington typewriter, which belonged to my father, to secretly write poetry. When I told the first student I met that he would have to fail my class if things didn’t go as planned, he just shrugged and said, “So.” It is much more common than novice teachers realise that students are not motivated to learn. It was difficult to believe that such a bright student could be so disheartening. These are the three methods of motivating students that I have used successfully over the course of my forty years of teaching.
#1 Pay Attention to the Benefits
“The moment you begin to doubt your ability to fly, you lose your ability to do so for all time.”
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Panhttp://www.jmbarrie.com/PeterPan/
Many students have never experienced success and do not believe that it is possible for them. Many students harass other students in order to divert their attention away from their own efforts to succeed. These were some of the students I encountered while working as a substitute teacher at an alternative high school in Southern California.
In a workshop, I learned how to hold discussions about outcomes and to reward students with positive post cards whenever they succeed. As opposed to focusing solely on the grade, ask them to consider the impact receiving a good report card would have on their parents’ feelings about them. Positive emotions are an extremely effective motivator.
First and foremost, students must believe that they are capable of achieving success. A slow and steady approach by the teacher can persuade students that success is possible, despite the fact that many of them did not believe it was possible. A teacher’s job is to instil confidence in students that success is possible, and then to teach them how to achieve success. The younger the students, the more likely it is that their success will continue.
#2 Hold one-on-one conversations with each child.
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of caring individuals to make a difference in the world.
Because, in fact, that is all anyone has ever had.” Margaret Mead is credited with coining the phrase
Students give their all for the people who matter to them. They are concerned about those who are concerned about them. This is why teachers who take the time to understand the difficulties a child may be experiencing and the needs of their students are far more likely to assist them in succeeding.
Randy, a young man from Texas, was sent to parochial school by his parents to improve his academic performance. The problem was that Randy didn’t want his friends separated, so he caused chaos at school in the hopes of being reinstated at his previous school. Randy and the school could have had a more positive experience if Randy’s teacher had taken the time to talk with him and assist him in adjusting to a new peer group during the transition period.
However, even if the teacher is in the hallway between classes, it can still be a valuable source of information for the students. It is possible to increase the success of students simply by conversing with them in the hallway. Students must understand how to set small and large goals in order to be successful in school or in life. Individual conferences with students on a regular basis allow the teacher to guide the student in setting and revising goals while also reassuring him or her that they are concerned about his or her success. Some students may not be able or have the time to establish these kinds of relationships with their parents for a variety of reasons.
Establishing Classroom Procedures is number three.
“Almost all quality improvement occurs as a result of the simplification of design, manufacturing… layout, processes, and procedures,” according to the authors of the study. Tom Peters is a well-known author and journalist.
It is more likely that students with learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorders will succeed if they know what to expect in class each day. It is a wise decision to put together a set of procedures.
After being asked to alter classroom procedures, students can become agitated or even aggressive. If they are aware of this, they will be more likely to bring a book, a notebook, and a pen or pencil to school each day. Knowing that every class begins with a specific activity, such as silent reading, interactive debate, or problem-solving, will allow them to spend less time wasting their time on education and more time learning.
These procedures can be timed or set to music to make them more enjoyable. They may even include physical activity. As they danced to rock music, one teacher had his “line leaders” pass out materials while they were doing so. As students entered the classroom, another teacher distributed treasure maps to them. Students had to search the room for clues in order to find the correct answers to a quiz they had to take that day. Another person gave daily quizzes on the work that had been completed the day before. The key to achieving success is to keep repeating the same steps.
There are a variety of approaches that can be used to encourage students to return to school. Don’t give up on them just yet. The best course of action is to consult with other teachers about a strategy that may be effective for your student. There is no one method that will work for all children. There are a variety of options.
One student wished to drop out of high school in order to find work. I brought the classified advertisements to class with me. He looked at the prices of apartments and automobiles, and I informed him of the costs of food, fuel, and other essentials such as electricity and water. His calculations revealed that he should pursue further study while also seeking employment with a higher salary. In the suburbs, the young man had a beautiful home with his wife and three children, and he was well-off. He expressed his gratitude to me for assisting him in comprehending the significance and enjoyment of learning a trade.
It is possible to motivate those who are not motivated.