How to Motivate Students
Tutors or instructors can find several excellent opportunities to determine what motivates students. One way is through observation. In fact an instructor or tutor that wants to succeed with a student will make time to observe, do it with purpose and do it often. Discussions or structured conversations reveal a wealth of information about a students tendencies and preferences. A more direct method of gleaning information about a students motivations is by asking direct questions about a student's interests. You can do this in an interview or through questionnaires. Sometimes you will suddenly find that a particular teaching strategy, a certain book or an activity imparts some vital piece of information that helps you to motivate your student. What ever means you use always record your observations or findings. Make not of what works, what doesn't and then modify subsequent learning experience to further pique a student's interest and participation.
Eventually we expect students to learn to motivate themselves - where they do their best because they instinctively want to and they enjoy it. Good educators help advance that process by understanding what motivates students and what discourages them and using all the tools at their disposal to keep their students excited about learning and achieving. The ability to motivate a student is the difference between an inspiring extraordinary teacher and a mediocre lecturer.
Tips for Motivating Students
Find something positive and good about every student. Write the names of all your students on a sheet of paper and beside each name write down one good thing and one positive thing.
Use every opportunity to recognize your students for all their their improvements, accomplishments, extra efforts, and contributions of ideas to a discussion or work on a project.
Complements and encouragement to one student in front of a group inspires the whole group.
When you catch a student doing something right act quickly to acknowledge this good performance.
Respect each student as an individual and treat them fairly. Don't make assumptions. If you are not sure ask the student.
Choose a reward carefully so that it cannot be viewed as a form of bribery.
Make each student feel important. Make time for each student, especially when they are seeking you out for advice, clarification, or just to ask a question or make a comment.
Create opportunities for each of your students to be a winner. You can do this by personalizing the instruction or assignments, choosing familiar topics for a discussion. Suggest learning tools that would be helpful. Direct a students' attention to an interesting book in the library or event in the community that might have relevance to the course material.
Clearly define what you expect in assignments or classroom work. Every learner comes to class with varying levels of experience and skills. Not all students will know how to manage their time efficiently, overcome procrastination, improve study skills, how to complete an assignment that meets an instructors expectations.
Give the student some power that affects his learning. Ask students for their input or feedback about learning outcomes, course content, goals and expectations. This keeps them involved in the learning experience and give them a sense of ownership.
Challenge students by introducing new learning experiences and giving them responsibilities. Group work keeps students engaged in the learning experience.
Show students that you care and that you are interested in their educational growth and future. Encourage students to explore their academic options or career opportunities. Show them that anything is possible, that their opportunities know no bounds.
Support your students by demonstrating that you are on their side.. Listen to their concerns or complaints. Protect your students from institutional politics and policies. Keep the students abreast of any school decisions that you think might impact them.
Be sincere. This is one of the most important factors in motivating students. Adult learners can easily recognize phoney praise. Verbalizing your approval is not the only way to praise students. A simple thumbs up gesture can be very meaningful. Use your good/positive list as a reminder of a student's good points when conveying sincerity is difficult
Make learning fun. Human beings enjoy doing things from which we derive pleasure. Therefore we must as educators make our instruction fun and meaningful so the students will want to learn.