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Motivate Your Students

Think back to your favorite teacher. Did you do more for them and their classes? Do you remember what set them apart? Did they seem to “get you”? This teacher likely made you feel that he or she knew you.  It probably felt like like they knew what mattered to you.

Historically, students will do more and work harder for instructors who seem to care. Applying this concept to your classroom can help you reach even the most unreachable students. How can you show students that you care when you have so much on your plate? It is easy. Ask students what motivates them and incorporate this information into the classroom.

We all have things that motivate us. We may be motivated by prestige, the pursuit of knowledge, or the avoidance of punishment, to name a few. Your students are motivated too. You cannot simply look at a student's face or their track record to know what really motivates them. You have to ask.

You may be surprised by your students’ responses to this question. Use this information to enhance class activities, lesson plans, and communication with students. You may find it easier to reach certain students. For example, students who are motivated by careers or money may be more receptive to class concepts when they are tied back to career readiness. Students who are motivated by the pursuit of knowledge may be respond better to complex concepts that make them feel smart. These students may also be more motivated by feedback that points out their intelligence. Use this information to enhance your classroom activities and practices.

Every person has motivations. Discovering your students’ will help you stand out in the classroom. You will appear to be a more caring instructor and come away with valuable information to incorporate into your class materials. Give it a try. It will make a difference.

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