All children, including those with special needs, often lack motivation when it comes to learning. This lack of motivation can adversely affect students in the classroom. A key to school success is developing strategies to address a student’s lack of motivation. There are two types of student motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsically motivated students are naturally motivated to complete their work. Externally motivated students are motivated by rewards. Here are some ideas for motivating students:
Develop relationships with them.
When you know more about your students, you will be able to tailor your instruction to their needs. Taking a personal interest in your students will also inspire their trust in you and make it more likely that they will be open to learning new material without being afraid to fail.
As often as possible, use examples. Students want to see a finished product so that they fully understand what is expected of them. They will feel more confident as they learn new concepts, which will increase their motivation to learn.
Hand over control to the student whenever possible.
Students are much more likely to be committed to the lesson if they have control over it. Students should have the choice of how the material will be presented and what type of activities they will engage in for reinforcement of the lessons. Let students know how they learn best. As a result, you will be able to offer differentiated instruction to students who require different methods of instruction. The students will also know that you care about them and are willing to do your part to ensure their success.
Use all types of technology available to you.
We live in an age where technology is constantly changing and evolving. For this reason, it is important that students are taught to use different types of technology at a young age. Lessons presented on computers, Smartboards, or Ipads will help even the most distractible students focus because they see these devices as something fun and “cool” rather than something boring like traditional books.
Praise students for both small and big achievements.
Display their work around the classroom and let visitors know about it. When students learn a new concept that you know they had difficulty understanding, tell them you are proud of them. Recognize when one student does something kind for another. Recognize your students for following the classroom rules for a day or a week. Please send POSITIVE notes home to the parents and let the student know that you are doing so.
Create a token or point system.
Motivating students requires external rewards. There are those who may see this as “bribery” and thus, undesirable. We all work for external rewards; we just call it a paycheck. In addition, rewards give students something tangible to remember an accomplishment by.
The use of games to reinforce material learned is fun for students, especially if there is a prize at the end. Visual aids like charts, diagrams, and videos can motivate students. You can make your classroom more exciting by using posters, seasonal themes, and displays of student work.
Routines should be established.
When students enter a classroom, they need to know what to expect. It gives them a sense of security and comfort. Students who feel comfortable and in control are much more motivated and open to learning.
Smile and be expressive.
Every day, greet the students with a smile and tell them that you’re glad to see them. When you show that you’re happy and motivated, they’ll respond in kind.