One of the biggest challenges for teachers today, and the question they ask themselves almost every day is certainly how to encourage students to participate in learning activities, how to provoke and maintain their motivation, and active teaching methods will work best.
Most of you reading this article know for sure from your own experience that not only is it easier for teachers to work with motivated students, but students are also more successful when they are motivated to learn, as well as when they take part in what is being taught.
You may sometimes feel that you lack the resources to motivate students or the knowledge of what motivates them at all. Motivating students to participate in teaching and learning is a specific type of motivation, as all students need to achieve the same learning outcomes, regardless of their personal interests. So, what can you do about it? Here are some tips and tricks you can use to ensure everyone is engaged.
1. Don’t be afraid to use modern tech gadgets
By now you probably know from experience that if you want to catch the attention of the whole classroom, you need to understand their habits, and what they consider cool. Technology is definitely the first thing you need to be updated about if you want them to take you seriously. Secondly, don’t be afraid to use modern technology tools, like interactive displays, to engage them in the learning process. Tons of useful gadgets can be found here, whichever you choose to work with will give results.
2. Make sure you are a positive example
A lot of what goes on in the classroom depends on the way you are. You can have all the best tools in the world, but still, students will feel lazy about participating in your classes. Crosscheck if you are:
- A teacher who is cheerful, approachable, empathetic, and has a sense of humor
- A teacher who is motivated to work with students and loves students
- A teacher who strives to be objective and treat everyone equally, who regularly re-examines his behavior and the views of students with whom he may be in conflict.
- A teacher who is ready to enter into a discussion with students and review the rules, who prefers a democratic approach to an autocratic one
In your profession, it is crucial to continuously work on one’s own emotional competence, communication, and pedagogical competencies in general in order to maintain a positive relationship, trust, and respect with students.
3. Understand that everyone is different
First of all, every person working in the classroom must be aware that each student is different, has his own life experiences, grows up in a specific family, has different intellectual abilities, emotional and social intelligence, interests and preferences, habits and ambitions from other students in the class. It is up to the teacher to find an appropriate way to motivate everyone to take part.
4. Try encouragement and support
It is important not to develop or at least replace in time the bad habits of criticizing, complaining, or comparing students. Instead, the student needs to be supported, encouraged, respected, and believed in their ability to just overcome problems and succeed in whatever he or she wants. That would mean avoiding judgmental statements like “Again, you don’t have homework”, “How can you not understand that !?” Turn on your brain a bit ”, and other statements that destroy a student’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and demotivate him from any further participation in classroom activities.
More understanding in conversation, tolerance of mistakes, and focus on the students and not on their feelings – are important for the student’s motivation for further work. To master the new, every student needs support and encouragement, and the confidence that he can do it. It is important that this support is not just in words and is not in vain.
5. Experiential learning motivates students to be active
Experiential learning is an effective method that can be used in teaching and extracurricular activities to encourage student motivation, as it covers all of the following key aspects of learning motivation:
- Encourages students to get to know themselves better by observing themselves during and reflecting after activities.
- In experiential learning, students are involved in planning activities and evaluating performance, which develops their ability to set goals and achieve them. If the planned activity is challenging, but also in accordance with their abilities, students will participate engaged and concentrated
- Experiential learning necessarily involves the practical application of what is learned. Also, during the activities and in the later reflection, new questions often arise and arouse the further curiosity of the students.
Since the teacher-student relationship turns into a supportive relationship, and the student acts, the student both have the opportunity to see each other in a new light. Through experiential learning activities, students are forced to cooperate more than usual.
If you have ever met a child aged 3-4, you have noticed that they are like real little sponges, always eager for new knowledge and experience. You are familiar with the parental complaint: “Never stops asking why, how, each answer brings 5 more questions.” And only those unpleasant questions, to which we have no answer or go into the realm of intimacy, so parents sweat, answer, or avoid the child in the hope that this will come to an end.
Unfortunately, the end seems to come when they start school. Surprising and saddening is the fact that during school-age most of these sponges full of questions and interests for all turn into haters of learning, to whom school, homework, and especially reading is a burden and torment, a cross they carry every day and can’t wait to get rid of. Unfortunately, there are few who keep the initial zeal and who will still say that they like to learn at the end of primary and secondary school. Hence the importance of using these methods to ensure they stay active, and continue loving learning.