As we all know, teachers spend years of hard work to become experts in their content areas. They endure hours of professional development so students are well-versed in all the current educational pedagogy and use the best practices in the classroom. Teachers also develop assessments for students so that they can track their progress. With the help of Pandai, it can ease their burden as all chapters, practices, and textbooks are well equipped not only for them but for the students too!
However, why there are students that are still unmotivated to learn?
Even with the perfect lesson plan in place, an unmotivated student will not learn. A great teacher recognizes that student motivation is necessary for success in learning and that teachers are in the perfect position to improve student motivation. Here are some strategies that can be used in the classroom to help motivate students:
1. Promote a growth mindset over a fixed mindset.
A fixed mindset suggests that people are born with or without certain abilities that cannot be changed. Fixed mindset learners try to prove themselves and will often shy away from challenges because they do not want to appear to be struggling. A growth mindset learner, on the other hand, believes that abilities and talents can be cultivated and improved through hard work. Growth mindset students enjoy a challenge and see struggles and failures as necessary parts of growth. Learners with a growth mindset are certainly more motivated to work hard.
How do we foster a growth mindset in the classroom?
One of the most powerful elements of feedback for our learners is to praise them. Praise for their abilities and efforts reinforces the fixed mindset that they have the power to improve their academic success. We are all learners and should be encouraged as such.
“I can tell that you have been practicing your reading”
“The practice is paying off on your time’s tables”
Throughout a learning cycle, teachers assess student progress by incorporating formative and summative assessments. Some formative assessments are a thumbs up/thumbs down check for understanding, a quiz in small groups, or an exit slip at the end of a lesson. This cycle of learning will improve results on a later summative assessment.
As a teacher, they can model the growth mindset. Have courage and ask students for feedback about your teaching and be willing to make necessary changes. Be dedicated and work hard for students and share how hard work and dedication translate to success and growth. This feedback shows that we, too, are learners. It also invites the students to continue on the learning journey alongside us. Students are always willing to work hard for a teacher that is reciprocating that hard work.
2. Develop meaningful and respectful relationships with your students.
If we are going to truly inspire and motivate all of our students, teachers should know each of them on a personal level. We need to know their interests and hobbies, who they hang out with, their family situations, and what gets them excited. Each student is going to require different motivational strategies, and we have to know them to be able to predict what strategies might work.
In order to begin that “knowing,” try allowing for five minutes where students may share “Good News” session. This is an opportunity for us to learn about the students as people and to let them know that we care about them individually. This also provides an avenue for teachers to share some details about their lives outside of school. When teachers are willing to share personally and become vulnerable, students are more likely to do the same. When learners see one another as whole people, they are more willing to take risks and ask the questions they need to ask in order to obtain success.
3. Grow a community of learners in your classroom.
Students need a classroom environment that is safe, where they are willing to take risks and struggle. To achieve this goal, the students and teacher must work together towards common collective goals. Students must be willing to work with and assist other students in class. The struggle should be acceptable and encouraged as a part of the learning process.
Traditional teaching consists of teachers lecturing and learners taking notes, followed by the learners doing independent work to check for understanding. Transforming this outdated model to collaborative group work should be the activity between the teacher’s learning and independent work. This is the time when students can digest information and ask questions collectively. Learners participate in what could be considered the “problem solving” phase of their development with new ideas, and together they come to new learnings.
Also, student work should be proudly displayed throughout the classroom. This sends a message to students that they are active participants in creating knowledge in the classroom. Additionally, teachers can use language that promotes the community of learners – including the teacher – rather than a room full of individual learners.
4. Establish high expectations and establish clear goals.
Setting high expectations and supporting students as they struggle allows learners to rise to meet those expectations. When expectations are transparent, students know where their learning is headed and are motivated to get there because it seems possible: the path is visible. Working towards daily, weekly, and yearly goals gives students a purpose and meaning for the hard work that they do.
What teachers can do is establish the “goal of the day” at the start of the lesson gives students a purpose for their learning. Students can also formatively assess themselves at the end of each lesson by checking to be sure they have met the learning goals. If we expect students to interact in a certain way together, we need to teach them how and hold them accountable. Teachers need to model it and expect it. Once the routines to support expectations are established and clear to the learning community, learning becomes the most important action in the classroom.
5. Be inspirational.
Inspirational teachers represent success to their students. Through their triumphs, students can learn what success looks like and go after it. Once our students decide that they want success, they pay close attention to the behaviors and choices, and even sacrifices that led us to our success. These behaviors include hard work, willingness to struggle, and the ability to learn from our mistakes. Students internalize our behaviors and strategies as a way to accomplish their own goals. We give them an opportunity to do so in our everyday routines, assignments, and encounters with them.
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