Sure, students are coming back to school and may be naturally motivated by a new school year, but here are some great thoughts and ideas of how to keep that going throughout. ~EMP
Every student learns a little bit differently. As a teacher you are well versed in this. You also know how hard it can be to try to accommodate all of those different learning styles and preferences in a single lesson plan. You’re only one person; you only have so much time. Here are some resources that can help you out.
There are two basic types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Basically, extrinsic motivation is based upon a student’s surroundings and environment. Intrinsic is more of a personal motivation. For instance, a child who is extrinsically motivated will be more inspired to learn if you can show her how what she learns is beneficial to the world, particularly in her immediate environment.
An intrinsically motivated student, on the other hand, gains inspiration from finding out how a lesson will be personally beneficial. Finding ways to relate your lessons both extrinsically and intrinsically (even if in a general sense) can help keep your students interested in their lessons.
Look to Adults
Children’s brains are fundamentally different than the brains of adults. Still, looking at what motivates adults and learning how to lead a group of diverse adults to a single conclusion can be very helpful in the classroom. Taking an advanced lean principles and tools certifications course, for example, can be very helpful for your classroom. These are classes that help business leaders learn how to lead a team toward profits and productivity—even when motivation levels are low and personalities conflict. This naturally applies to the classroom as well.
As a professional teacher, you know that showing enthusiasm for a subject yourself is one of the best ways to inspire your students to want to learn more about it themselves. Unfortunately most teachers, especially new teachers, take this only at face value. They think that showing enthusiasm means being loud, excitable, highly energetic. Sometimes this is good but if you aren’t careful getting your students too excited can lead to classroom chaos. Who wants that?
Instead, spend some time learning the art of Zen and enthusiasm. It is possible to show enthusiasm without turning into a Nickelodeon character. Learning how to be outwardly calm while projecting inner enthusiasm is important for every teacher.
There are just some hours or even days when nobody feels like learning. Off days are common, particularly in the middle of terms when students are done reviewing but don’t have upcoming report cards to motivate them to stay on task. It’s okay, on these days to change things up a little bit. Structure is the goal—kids need structure to feel safe. Still, if something isn’t working, trying to force it isn’t going to help anybody. It’s just going to frustrate you and you run the risk of making your students hate a subject completely because of how it was forced upon them.
There are lots of ways to keep your students inspired and motivated. Allowing yourself to think beyond the traditional teaching methods you learned while going after your credential is the key to finding the way that really works for you and for your students.
Jenna, I love what you said here about enthusiasm. It’s not just about jumping up and down excitedly, but can also be that true passionate interest or curiosity we show and share with our students.