Motivation is something every educator struggles with at least a few times in their career. The real questions is, when you are faced with this problem. How to you combat it? How can we as teachers avoid this rut and excite our students into learning and engaging with the lessons of that particular day? We need to look to involve our students in the learning process more. Here’s a few ways to do this:
Give students the power to decide
By giving students options, they will pick things they are most willing to do and therefore, what they will be the most engaged with. I am not suggesting a free for all, but rather the option to pick between reading assignments or even pick specific topics of interest for them to study. Giving students choices also makes them feel like they have more of a hand in their education. Plus, if you give them choices, they may even feel more accountable for them!
Provide them with your own real-world experiences
Take time to think of personal or relatable real world experiences based on lessons. Relating what you are trying to teach with what is going on around students will help them make the connections to remember what you are teaching. They may also think more about a topic if they run into a similar situation outside of the classroom.
Open their minds to the outside world
Get students excited to engage with these topics outside of the classroom. Provide homework assignments that allow them to interact with their own world in a way that will excite them. Making work seem like fun to students will be the easiest way to get them engaged. You can have them write a character evaluation of a favorite video game character, have them help with budgeting a grocery shop, or even have students interview a family member and write a report based off the interview. Taking this interactive approach will have your students working diligently without feeling like they are doing an assignment.
Every year, every class, and every student will interact with your lessons a different way. Be open to this. Not every lesson will be a hit, but a less than exciting lesson will give you the opportunity to rework it and engage the whole class. Be patient and willing to make tweaks when needed. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to tailor lessons to individual classes and students.
Exciting your students will be harder some days than others, but seeing you class light up at the idea of making their own choices or being engaged with an awesome lesson will be extremely rewarding. Your students will thank you and their test scores will reflect it.