Top Strategies to Foster Student Motivation 

Top Strategies to Foster Student Motivation 

Motivation plays a vital role in students' learning. Highly motivated students tend to have the best learning results.

Motivation is particularly helpful in encouraging persistence in applying effort to a learning task and testing new approaches. Although motivation is strongly influenced by student characteristics and varies across learning domains, the classroom environment also plays a vital role in influencing student motivation. Besides, there are many motivational strategies for students that teachers can use to encourage and motivate their students. But, to motivate students, teachers need to work on engaging the students in the classroom. 

Now the question arises, what drives student's engagement?

As per the researches, children have certain basic psychological needs and are more likely to become engaged in the learning process when the learning environment is compatible with those needs (Newmann, Wehlage, & Lamborn, 1992; McCombs, n.d.). 

For example, humans are driven by a need to achieve competence (Newmann, Wehlage, & Lamborn, 1992), and their beliefs or expectations about their ability to perform specific tasks successfully influence future learning. When learners perceive that they have been successful in an endeavour, they are more likely to be motivated to learn in the future and to persist when faced with a difficult task; conversely, when learners have a history of failure, it becomes difficult to sustain the motivation to keep trying (Anderman & Midgley, 1998). 

Besides, a feeling of "worthiness and love and respect" is also required to make them feel valued (Stipek, 1996, p. 101). They are motivated to achieve when they feel that they can positively contribute to the group (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). The researchers have also claimed that students' engagement is also driven when they are made genuine members of a community, the group is organized around a clear purpose, and they are treated as valued and respected members of the group and also treated with fairness (Newmann, Wehlage, & Lamborn, 1992.) 

Motivational researchers stated that tasks with some personal meaning for learners are more likely to engage learners and boost students' motivation (McCombs, n.d.; Stipek, 1996). As Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (1999) write, "Learners of all ages are more motivated when they can see the usefulness of what they are learning."

How can you motivate students to learn?

Herein, we have enlisted quite a few top strategies to keep your students motivated throughout the learning process. 

Let us have a look!

  1. Build strong relationships

Rightly said by Robert Marzano, "Positive relationships between teachers and students are among the most commonly cited variables associated with effective instruction. The stronger the relationship, the more effective the educational strategies will be." 

The establishment of positive relations with students is strongly linked to positive motivation and better achievement. 

The emotional and social support a student receives from the teacher influences the student's level of motivation. Meanwhile, students who assume their teachers are not interested in their learning are negatively motivated and experience less success. 

Therefore, teachers must show their support and concern for all students and take an interest in their ideas, experiences, and what they produce in class. Ensure that you communicate a 'feeling of compassion' for how each student is doing. Showing sensitivity and kindness to students will improve the emotional environment of the classroom. 

  1. Encourage students

Students are more enthusiastic about learning when they believe that teachers and peers accept them socially and that their educational environment is fair, trustworthy and focused on the well-being of all. It is necessary to encourage them to take on the task or participate in classroom activities even if they are not confident; else, they would not take part in the learnings. 

Motivation to learn tends to be lowest in environments where students perceive as not very welcoming and unreliable. If students have a strong 'sense of belonging to the class and school, they are more likely to embrace the values endorsed by the school. 

Provide plenty of opportunities for positive interactions with and among students. Besides, create a "sense of belonging" while also valuing students' social and cultural identities. 

  1. Enhance task interest and engagement

Classrooms with a positive environment, emotional support, and higher interest levels in the assigned tasks report more elevated motivation and competence perceptions. Students engaged in-class activities and tasks relating to their interests find learning more effortless, more enjoyable and more related to their lives, and they perform better than those without personalized content. 

You may also link the provided content with the student's existing interests; it helps students correlate their prior knowledge to academic learning and motivate them to learn. 

Furthermore, interest can be stimulated by well-chosen texts and resources and activities that arouse students' curiosity through provocative questions or suspense. To increase interest, you can offer a selection of activities related to learning content. This will encourage student participation and help adapt academic issues to a context within their areas of interest and eventually motivate students to learn. Parallelly, you need to maintain a positive climate in the classroom, it can help improve students' attitude towards the subject being taught, and strategies such as humor can enhance their enjoyment of the topic. Teachers' enthusiasm for the topic or task can also help to generate student interest. 

  1. Let them decide what they want to learn

A classroom that allows students to choose "what to learn" and "what not to learn" motivates students in a positive way. You can also practice the Genius Hour session (commonly called "20% of the time" or "Passion Time"). Allow your child to utilize their "best thinking time" in the most productive way possible; it will help them pursue their creative projects in their comfort zone and come up with excellent outcomes. 

  1. Let students choose how they want to learn something

Generally, teachers abide by the set curriculum objectives and goals and do not give students the freedom to choose their learning topics; but allowing them to do so can be highly fruitful. You can give students their own choices on how to meet their learning goals. You can provide them with "Choice Boards" that allows them to tailor their learning activities to individual preferences. It will not only boost student's motivation to learn but also help them achieve outstanding results. It may help stimulate their decision-making skills, 

  1. Give students responsibility

Another motivational strategy is to teach them to be responsible by involving them in-class tasks. Assign work to individual students. For instance, make them responsible for setting up desks and benches or decorating the classroom or erasing the blackboard. You can also assign reading or carrying out tasks to individual students or form a small group. In a nutshell, giving students a "sense of ownership" will help them see classroom work as an opportunity rather than a burden and work harder to meet expectations. They will feel a "sense of accomplishment" and encourage active participation in the classroom. 

It is also believed that the one who "works" is the one who "learns." If you want your students to learn more, make sure they are working in your class, not just listening to lectures casually. 

  1. Offer rewards

Not all students are bright; not all students are cheerful. So, to encourage them to participate, you have to drive them in the right direction. You can offer students small incentives or prizes for their best performance. Not only does this make learning fun, but it motivates students to surpass themselves. These rewards can range from recognition in the form of stars (based on performance level), badges or even certificates for "outstanding performances." Besides these, you can organize a small class picnic or celebration if the average test score rises. These awards give students a "sense of accomplishment" and encourage them to work towards a goal and motivate themselves to learn. 

  1. Establish links to real life

Students often believe that certain sections of the subject are less likely to be used in real life, which indicates that a student is not engaged. If they do not believe learning is essential, they do not want to learn. It is, therefore, essential to show how the topic relates to them. If you teach gravity in physics, take some time to research how it is used in real life and share your findings with your students. Astonish them by telling them how useful this might be, how it is present in our life. 

This would not only show that a subject is used every day by a "real" person but would also add a "sense of importance" and motivation in learning. 

  1. Use memory work and recitation

This may be an aged strategy, but it is a potent tool to keep the students motivated. You can ask your students to recite facts or passages together, and those who may not help but learn along the way. You can make the recitation enjoyable by pronouncing it quickly, by varying the voice students use, by varying who says it, pronouncing it during the day, etc.; you can add variety and interest to the recitation. 

  1. Put your child more at work

It is not unusual to see children withdraw from their learning due to excessive control or even control. They are likely to expend the effort required to learn if pressurized much or find that they have no control or choice over their learning. Researches also claim that children are more likely to be motivated to learn when they believe that their actions are internally initiated and when they have opportunities to regulate their actions or make choices (Alderman, 1999; McCombs, and.; Sheldon & Biddle, 1998). 

Therefore, it is essential to guide students through the learning process and allow children to have control of their own learning experience. Let your children have the opportunity to contribute directly to their learning choices. Provide them with multiple options and allow "learning space." For instance, when assigning a project, allow them to conduct research and pick a topic related to that to work upon. You may allow them to choose their extracurricular activities. The more control and input you can provide a child with respect to their learning environment, activities, and style, the more engaged and motivated a child will become to learn. 

Do you have more motivational strategies for students to boost their interest in learning? If yes, do write to us. 

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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