How to motivate students to learn


Motivation is one element that can cause a low-grade student to achieve better grades. Lack of motivation can pull down the ratings of a regularly high ranking student at every stage of student life. This occurs due to many reasons like if students are not able to concentrate or do not put the effort, or simply go through the motions or just give up on studies. All these reasons can be long term or short term.

Here is a look at why students get de-motivated and the various strategies and activities that can be utilized to help motivate students to learn better.

Why do students get de-motivated?

Reasons could be many:-low grades, lack of proper guidance, relationship issues, lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, fear of failure, and stress. It could also be physical like eyesight problems or health problems that make them lose confidence to do well. The numerous distractions like the Internet and too much social cell phone usage is also a reason for the lack of motivation for students to learn.

One of the biggest reasons is that High school students loose direction and vision and College students often believe wrongly that what they are learning may not be relevant to their future. This could be because of peer pressure or that these students were forced into this branch of learning by parents. It becomes a serious problem especially at the College level when students are days/semesters away from their Career life!

This is why educators suggest motivational lesson plans for high school students and college students for inclusion in the curriculum.

Motivation, and how can it be provided at High school and college levels

It is imperative that motivation and learning go hand in hand at school. Teachers can motivate students in many ways. They can join their groups and understand their psyche. They can consider the following for providing motivation in the classroom:

1. Use of motivational activities for college students to grab student’s attention

2. Treat them like adults by offering them control, let them talk about a topic, let them plan activities around a lesson

3. Move around the class during sessions and make eye contact whenever necessary. One is volume and pitch of voice when varied can help to show enthusiasm.

4. Praise students for their efforts for all achievements big or small

5. Adapt different teaching methods Include Motivation Lesson Plans for High school students in your agenda and update regularly

6. Finally, reward them for their effort. Rewards are a sure-shot motivation for students to learn

7. Ask for feedback from students on a particular session/lecture.

8. One very important thing is to restrict access to Electronic devices of modern times that create a distraction to students.

List of Motivational Strategies for Students

Most of the motivational Strategies come under two heads - Intrinsic motivators and Extrinsic motivators.

Intrinsic motivation involves increasing the appeal of the subject for generating interest to learn. Most students take up a subject in college because of their interest in it. They lose motivation along the way, we know why now. Others just take up the subject due to peer, parent pressure, and naturally do not have a flair for it. Intrinsic motivators can bring a turnabout in both the type of students but the process is lengthy and time-consuming.

Extrinsic motivators, on the other hand, include expectations of Student well-wishers like parents, earning potential of a subject, reward system, and grades. This type of motivation yields quick results, but the motivation factors need to be customized according to students’ aptitude and personality.

A mix of both Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivational activities for high school students and college students such as below will achieve the best results. Take a look at a few strategies that can be adapted to Motivate Students to Learn.

(1) Understand your students’ anxieties, capabilities, and weaknesses

Talk to students about their anxieties, expectations, relationships if possible, and show concern. Students who are counseled get more motivated to excel. Teacher motivation has been effective for all ages of students, and High school is no different.

• Know all your student's names and use them regularly. Talking in their language helps. Know what is doing the latest in Student’s social circles. You can use social media for help.

• Encourage them to speak

• Induce humor in your sessions which will even attract the least interested students to join a session.

• Be available to students even during breaks

(2) Highlighting the appeal of a subject

Teachers should show enthusiasm in the subject themselves. In the olden days' Grandparents used to tell stories using sound effects and facial expressions to surprise, stun or emphasize a part of the story. Similarly, they can use storytelling to attract students to the subject.

  • Keep short duration sessions to keep the momentum going. This is to withhold students with short attention spans.
  • Relate lessons to the happenings in the world. For example, you can use recent news related to our environment for your environmental classes. Also, integrate technology into your lesson plans.
  • Show how appealing the subject is. Show how useful a lesson is for the coming sessions or for a prospective career. For example for students of Statistics, you can explain that Probability subject is very important and finds real-life applications in the field of weather forecasting, Insurance sports Strategy, and even in a game of poker.
  • Use of examples, demonstrations, case studies, and discussions can bring home some green points.
  • One can motivate engineering students to complete projects emphasizing how prestigious an engineering job is. You can highlight how they have even the power to change the world as soon as their course is done!
  • Encourage students to share their views and ideas
  • Make students anticipate for the next session by creating suspense in your lecture.
  • Give them a feedback form that is not very complicated. Ask them to test themselves if they really understood the subject. This way you can make them revise the topic at the same time. Highlight that you are ever ready to answer their queries that arise out of this exercise, even silly ones.

(3) Set Realistic goals

Give assignments on the basis of the aptitude of students. Tough assignments will overwhelm them making them more de-motivated.

Understand student’s capabilities and set goals. Advanced students sometimes are far ahead, and the goals set for others may make them wonder –“ What next?” Setting personal goals is the best strategy, and you can encourage students to set short as well as long-term goals.

(4) Testing and evaluating the results

Periodical tests can be undertaken to assess what students have learned. Tests should be based on par with the student’s level of understanding. Tests should be current and valid.

Feedback on tests should be quick to stay relevant. One might wonder how tests can be part of motivational activities for students. However, positive test results or constructive feedback and criticism can do wonders to a Student’s morale!

(5) Track the results of students and reward them for making the effort

Once Goals are set, you can follow through and determine if they have been achieved. The students should be praised for the good job they have done. In case of failures, it is better to provide constructive criticism. Help students correct the mistake by themselves if possible.

All achievements may not be rewarded monetarily. The power of Praise is well known. Give them certificates, give them class points, take them to field trips, and more. Ultimately they should realize that learning itself is the ultimate reward.

(6) Challenging as a strategy

A section of students may be lacking in motivation but will be ever-ready for challenges Challenge these kids to take up a session involving all others in finishing a project. These students will surely pull other de-motivated students into the fold to complete the job.

  • Push students to research. Ask students to delve into the topics, move from facts to concepts, read a higher level of books.
  • Give opportunities to speak up in class
  • Give creative challenges that the students can perform, show, and exhibit creativity which does not mean only art, but it can mean thinking deeply and in another perspective. For example in an English class, you can ask students to give different interpretations of Shakespeare dramas.

(7) Educational resources and technology

Usage of software, iPods, Internet blogs, and educational resources can be done occasionally. Since it has a global reach, you can help students to connect with peers across the globe. New friends and new experiences will increase interest in the subject and motivate the students to learn.

Teachers can also use technology for carrot and stick policy. Stop them from using devices in the classroom but allow them a short duration of texting time as a reward for learning.

(8) Let students work together

Teachers can club students in pairs or groups to achieve certain goals. Fast-learners can give a helping hand to others and motivate them to achieve common goals. Groups can be created across classrooms as well. There should be something in common say, for example, a project or course that has to be completed.

(9) Encourage self-assessment

Students at higher school and college levels can be gently guided to self-assess themselves. Your positive feedback will do wonders for motivating them ahead.

• They write a small brief about what they just learned.

• You can set parameters and ask them to self-evaluate

• Some posers such as can be utilized for self-evaluation.

(a) What they enjoyed most in a session

(b) What do you think was the easiest part of a project

(c) What would you like to change in case you redo a particular assignment?

(10) Help students to work independently

Students can be given a free reign in setting personal goals and taking up sessions. They can also structure quizzes or games galvanizing their whole class into action.

Ultimately a mix and match of the above strategies can be your way to motivate students.

Motivational activities for students

Here are some Motivational activities to implement the above strategies in the classroom.

1. Playing it

Parlour games, student games, and word searches are baits to attract even the most reluctant learners. Either student participates or takes sides to make their team win. Either way, this is enough motivation to last the semester.

A.) Twenty Questions game

This is a parlor game that can be incorporated into lesson plans. The class may be divided into a few groups. The first group will think of a topic and give a small clue while the next group asks 20 questions in the process of guessing that topic. This creates interest in the subject, and the students will be motivated to come prepared with the information regarding that topic.

B.) Word Lightning Games

In this game, players have to list many words that start from an alphabet (announced by the teacher or referee)in a very short duration; For example, the Accounts lecturer can divide students into groups and play this game. Care to be taken in choosing alphabets that form words that are common in Accounts terminology.

2. Quiz competitions

Quiz competitions are very popular Motivational activities for High School Students. A good way for the teacher to motivate is to involve the entire class so that all students are motivated to do well.

3. Content for the Internet

The teacher may ask students to make commercials, podcasts, videos, and content for the Internet. This could be incorporated into the curriculum and done as a project.

4. Field trips

Field trips to interesting places relevant to their subject can be arranged by the teacher. History students can visit Museums to see ancient things like coins, dress material, furniture, etc.; things that have been carefully preserved for study.

5. Involve in Teaching

One of the Time tested Motivation in education activity involves giving Students free hand to handle sessions. Time duration may be set. Students can use visual aids, diagrams, technology to bring home the points of a particular concept, lesson, or idea.

Interactive sessions with feedback can motivate students to do better in the forthcoming sessions and indirectly increase their interest in the subject.

There are the following steps to stay motivated in school or college.

School and college students motivation steps

1.) Make a list of your routine work

According to your workload list, you can create a plan. To decide what is your main priorities, rank your work accordingly. After that, you can devote more time to those tasks which have the highest impact on your work.

2.) Make new challenges

To stay focused and interested in what you are doing, you need to change your approach. Students are bored or de-motivated to do similar kinds of work again and again. For example, you got a similar assignment that you did in the past; then you need to see the same assignment from different points of view and set up a challenge to complete before the deadline.

3.) Create your small goals

Try to break any big task and complete it into small tasks. For example, If you see the big task and it will take lots of time, then break down into many small chunks and consider each step of your task individually. This kind of practice will help you to stay motivated and achieve a big task.

4.) Search for a support group

Search a group of similar work that can guide you or resolve your enquire. In this group, you can find mentors, teachers, a similar group of students and can help to give you proper guidance.

How to customize Motivational Strategies for High school students with different learning styles

The ultimate aim of motivating is to induce the student to learn. Here are some effects achieved through School Motivation.

1. Advanced learners

Advanced learners are ones who have mastered the subject but are at present de-motivated due to various reasons. Once they receive motivation stimulus, they are able to master even complex concepts in a short duration of time.

2. Students who motivate themselves for rewards

This category of students needs to be challenged every time to get results. They will not study unless there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They usually study for exams or some extrinsic prize. Such learners have to be made to analyze the subject by tests, assignments, and projects.

3. Surface learners

Some students want to just pass and be done with the subject/semester. They prepare just before exams by completing a part of the curriculum which they feel will be tested in the exam.

The motivation for such students can be in the form of progressively-complex assignments which will induce them to delve deep into the subject to help them.

The motivation for students need not always be the duty of a teacher. Self-motivation can be achieved through reading motivational books and seeking peers or teachers who can motivate you. Setting goals and completing them with enthusiasm will keep you motivated until the end of your student life.

Motivation in education has a positive effect on students learning and behavior. Students will initiate projects or work on topics they were hesitant to do until now. Learning motivation also helps students to ignore distractions and to come out of college with flying colors.

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