Student motivation, especially intrinsic motivation (the motivation that comes from within ones self), is a critical part of the education process. Motivation is a necessity so that learning becomes a continuing, improving, interesting and hopefully enjoyable process
A teacher, must develop and encourage classroom motivation, i.e. think of and find ways to motivate students to reach their potential, their goals and their dreams. Children locked into classroom discussions are no different than adults locked into boring, irrelevant meetings. If you do not understand how something relates to your goals, you will not care about that thing. If an adult cannot see the relevance of the material covered in a meeting, and has no desire to score political points, he will tune out or drop out. If a child does not understand how knowing the elements of the periodic table will help to address the concerns of his life, and he is not particularly interested in pleasing the teacher, he will do the same.
Because we do not want our children to be motivated solely by a desire to please the teacher, what we need to address is how to make the content of the curriculum fit into the concerns of the child. Sometimes, this is easy. The child who wants to design a roof for the family doghouse will gladly sit through a lesson on the Pythagorean theorem if he understands that the lesson will teach him how to calculate the dimensions of the roof he needs. If a piece of content addresses a particular concern of a student, or even a general area of interest, that student will not tune it out.
Most children, as they work through their years of school do, in fact, find areas of study they genuinely enjoy. However, these areas are different for different people. The general problem of matching individual interests to fixed curricula is one that is impossible to solve. People obviously have different backgrounds, beliefs, and goals. What is relevant for one will not be relevant to another. Of course, we can force something to be relevant to students–we can put it on the test. However, this only makes it have the appearance of significance, it does not make it interesting.
Some children decide not to play the game that our rigid education system offers. Instead, they continue to search for ways in which what is taught makes sense in their day-to-day lives, becoming frustrated as they realize that much of what is covered is irrelevant to them. If children are unwilling to believe that their own questions do not matter, then they can easily conclude that it is the material covered in class that does not matter.
What is left, then, if the content has no intrinsic value to a student? Any teacher knows the answer to this question. Tests. Grades. When students do not care about what they are learning, tests and grades force them to learn what they do not care about knowing. Of course, students can win this game in the long run by instantly forgetting the material they crammed into their heads the night before the test. Unfortunately, this happens nearly every time. What is the point of a system that teaches students to temporarily memorize facts? The only facts that stay are the ones we were forced to memorize repeatedly, and those we were not forced to memorize at all but that we learned because we truly needed to know them, because we were motivated to know them. Motivation can be induced artificially, but its effects then are temporary.
Create Student Motivation in the Classroom
1. Encourage students to set goals.
2. Give students more control – a chance to create their own personal choices. Establishing their own rights, is a very resourceful motivational technique.
3. As much as possible relate assignments and class projects to real life situations.
4. Practice the assertive discipline (positive discipline) techniques.
5. Most teachers come across students who are difficult to motivate and who do not care about what happens in school. For this teacher needs to create incentives. There are ways to motivate students. Doing unique activities, creating situations where they can work in small groups, creating a reward system are just a few ideas. Colourful certificates, stickers, awards and school passes are some examples of rewards for students of primary grade.
6. Having students help with some of the many jobs that need to be done in the classroom, will not only help a teacher but classroom jobs are also a great student motivational tool.
7. Games are fabulous classroom team building activities that are great for creating motivation in the classroom. It is amazing how it does wonders for students’ self-esteem and camaraderie.
8. Another classroom activity for team building is a classroom meeting between teacher and students where held a Special talk and teacher and students together choose Student of the Week. Students will love it! This is another excellent student motivational tool.
Two important thoughts to keep in mind by a Teacher:
1. Always display care, concern and encouragement for your students.
2. Never give up on any unmotivated students or they will give up on themselves.