7 Ways to Increase Motivation for Students

Written By: Cudy

1st July 2022

Here are 7 Ways to Increase Motivation for Students. Use them as a tool to help you in teaching.

1. Be Intentional

Intentionality is one of the most important things you can do to increase motivation for students.

Being intentional means being purposeful in your approach. It means making a plan and following through with it, rather than just doing what comes naturally. It means having a plan of action for getting to where you want to go.

You need to be intentional about your goals, your classroom environment, how you teach, and how you interact with students.

When you are intentional, you have an action plan and are more likely to follow through on it and see results.

Intentionality increases motivation because it gives kids a sense of direction, makes them feel like they are working towards something important, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment when they reach their goals.

When you are intentional with students, they will be more motivated by what they do in class because they know that what they do matters.

2. Set High Expectations

High expectations are a key component of increasing motivation for students.

We know this might sound like it contradicts the last tip I gave about being intentional, but I am not talking about raising the bar so high that kids can’t reach it or getting frustrated when they don’t make the grade (although this does happen).

What I am talking about is setting high expectations for yourself as an educator and then letting your students know what those expectations are by showing them that you expect great things from them as well as yourself.

By setting high expectations for yourself as an educator and sharing those expectations with your students, you set the tone for high standards and give kids something to work towards throughout the year.

They have a sense of purpose, rather than just doing things because they are fun or easy or there is nothing else to do (which often happens in elementary school).

You will be more motivated by teaching if you have higher standards than if you don’t.

7 Ways to Increase Motivation for Students

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash.

Likewise, kids will be more motivated by their learning if they know that teachers expect great things from them (as long as those teachers follow through on their promises).

As a bonus, research shows that when teachers have higher expectations for their students academically—even if those teachers don’t always meet those expectations themselves—students tend to do better academically over time.

This makes sense: when teachers have higher academic expectations for their students than other teachers at the school level, all other things being equal, kids tend to do better academically over time.

3. Get the Right Tools

There are lots of tools out there to help you increase motivation for students, including games, apps, and manipulatives. But you need to choose the right tools for your classroom environment and your students.

The last thing you want to do is use a tool that will cause more harm than good or that will not fit with your teaching style or classroom environment.

For example, games are a great way to increase motivation for students in many situations. However, if you are trying to teach something specific that is hard to understand or memorize, they might not be the best choice.

They can be distracting and take away from what you are trying to teach (or take too much time).

Also, if your students are still struggling with basic literacy skills, reading instructions and playing games may not be appropriate at this point in their development (although it might be in a few years).

Another important thing to consider when choosing tools is whether they will fit with your personality and teaching style.

For example, if you don’t like being on stage in front of a lot of people, using a tool like Jeopardy might not be the best choice because it involves being on stage and acting out clues (even though it would increase motivation for kids).

Similarly, if you aren’t comfortable using technology in class or aren’t sure how to use it effectively, then games like Minecraft may not be the best option.

Choose tools that fit well with who you are as an educator and with what is going on in your classroom. Otherwise, they won’t help increase motivation as much as other options might.

7 Ways to Increase Motivation for Students

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash.

4. Use Games & Challenges

Games are a great way to increase motivation for students because they can make even boring tasks seem fun or exciting—and this can make kids more motivated to complete those tasks.

It is important to note that not all games are created equal.

Some games have no point and are just for fun (e.g., “Guess What I Am Thinking”), while others have a point and interestingly teach a skill or concept (e.g., Scattergories). It is also important to note that some games can be played over and over again.

Meanwhile, others can only be played once or twice (e.g., “The Match Game”) because they lose their novelty after too many plays. I think the most important thing to remember when using games is that they need to be designed with a purpose in mind.

It’s either as an activity for review or as a tool for teaching something new.

Otherwise, they will just seem like pointless fun and won’t help increase motivation for students very much.

Related Article: How to Become a Good Tutoring Teacher?

5. Set Small Goals

Sometimes kids are not motivated by big goals because they feel like they will never reach them; instead, they are motivated by small goals that they can achieve on their own, even if it is only one small step at a time.

When you set small goals, you don’t have to wait for the end of the year or the end of the school year to see results. Instead, you see results every day when students reach their goals.

It makes them feel successful and gives them something positive to talk about with other people at school (and even at home).

As a bonus, small goals can also give kids something to work towards every day rather than just once in a while.

This helps them feel more connected with what they are doing in class daily rather than just doing things because there is nothing else going on (or no homework left to do).

This sense of connection leads directly into my next tip.

7 Ways to Increase Motivation for Students

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash.

6. Give Kids Ownership Over Their Learning

I mentioned this idea briefly above but it is so important that I wanted to highlight it again here: giving kids ownership over their learning makes them more motivated.

It makes them feel successful, connected with what they are doing in class daily, and like their work matters (even if it doesn’t).

There are lots of ways you can give kids ownership over their learning: choose projects that allow students to make choices about what project materials should look like or what type of project should be done.

Let students choose how they want to show what they know (e.g., writing a book report, creating a video about their topic, etc.). Allow students to choose what they want to do in class.

Also, let students make choices about how they want to learn something new (e.g., “You can read the book or watch the movie for this assignment; it is up to you”).

When you give kids ownership over their learning, you give them a sense of connection with what they are doing in class daily, which makes them more motivated by their work.

It feels like it matters and is connected with who they are as people.

7. Make Learning Fun

Fun activities increase motivation for students because they get excited about what they are doing in class and get caught up in the moment.

I know that when I have been able to make my teaching fun—even if it was just for a few minutes—my students were more motivated by the lesson.

It’s because they got caught up in the moment and are not thinking about how much time was left or whether or not there was anything else going on that was more fun.

The great thing about making learning fun is that you don’t have to use games or activities that require too much planning ahead of time.

You can also just make learning fun by changing your teaching style and being silly from time to time (or always).

Even though there are lots of different ways you can make learning fun, my favorite way is through singing songs with students—not only do songs increase motivation for kids but singing together has been shown to help kids pay attention better during lessons!

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Written by

Cudy

Cudy is an online marketplace for real-time learning where students can achieve mastery over their subjects by learning live from educators who are passionate about providing the best learning experience for their students.

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