Motivation: Getting Students to Engage In Learning
BY KEVIN FABER
Motivating students is the goal and dream of nearly all teachers at all educational levels. But it’s often easier said than done, considering something like 40% of high school students are “chronically disengaged from school.” While you obviously cannot force anyone to do anything, and should never come across as too pushy in your good intentions, here are some of the ways you can try to motivate your students into action.
It’s important to not go so over the top as to come off as a caricature, but showing your genuine enthusiasm and love for a particular cause or subject is, in the long run, the best way to motivate students. Roughly 88% of adults will tell you that they truly appreciated a particular teacher or professor who made them passionate about a subject or encouraged them to be their best. Make an effort to be that teacher for someone.
Reward Effort And Specific Actions
It’s usually best to avoid materialistic rewards, though they can be used to good effect if you use them only to get your students to attend events and get active in the first place. Their motivation must come because they truly want to do something, not because they feel they will always be rewarded for it. You do, however, want to give praise for effort and specific actions – doing so demonstrates to your students that they are in charge of their successes, not how they might have been naturally bestowed with talent.
Use Social Media
The students of today use social media to communicate, sometimes primarily. You can take advantage of this by being a user yourself and using it to not only spread the word about meetings and events via Facebook’s events feature, but also to share interesting content and information that will interest your students in your subject of choice. You could also use an email marketing firm to best target students on campus. Using a email marketing company can be very beneficial as they have the tools to increase open and click-through rates of your emails.
Evaluate Your Students’ Abilities And Point Them In The Right Direction
Not everyone is cut out to be in certain occupations. Not every student is even college-grade material. The best teachers are the ones who can understand their students’ abilities and limitations and suggest the best paths forward for them to take. Help your students take action to find the career that is right for them. For example, you might have a student who really wants to be a doctor, but simply doesn’t have the grades or the personality to be a good doctor. You should take a measured approach – encourage the student to follow their dreams while instilling in them a realistic sense of their abilities and what they might really be best suited to doing. Instead of being a doctor, for example, you could suggest he or she looks into nursing or healthcare administration, which require different abilities and skill levels than a doctor but are critically important roles that make a lot of difference in people’s lives as well.
Motivating your students is not always the easiest job in the world, but neither is being a teacher, and it’s a crucial part of your work. Mastering the ability to motivate your students will make you a very successful and popular teacher as well as result in the next generation going out and truly making a difference in the world. So try the methods outlined in this guide and your students are sure to be motivated to take action.
Give Away Free Food
As many student organizers of college clubs can tell you, it’s difficult to get college students to show up at all, because they’re often busy with schoolwork, having fun when they can squeeze it in or busy with other extracurricular activities. Simple laziness can be a problematic force as well, especially when they work so hard at other things throughout the day. To get the attention of students who might be interested in taking action for various causes, offer free food at club meetings or other events. The students who are interested will continue to come back while the ones who only came for the pizza will not. It’s a good way to jump start getting students interested and involved while weeding out the ones who are not truly interested.
As students what would motivate you to act?
Kevin Faber has experience starting his own business from the ground up and he is passionate about helping others achieve their goals. His background is in finance/investing.