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Motivation is the key!

For a while now I have been questioning why sometimes students that I teach are really motivated to learn, whereas at other times they lack that drive. Some of it I guess is down to human nature &  factors outside of my control. However I know that motivation is something both internally driven & externally influenced. Therefore it’s a combination of the students motivating themselves, but also being motivated to learn by the environment I create in the classroom. From this I have compiled my list of motivational cues. I have called it my 5 to drive!

1. What I do in the first 5 minutes is vital. It has to engage, it has to spark their interest & promote thinking & discussion. This does require often a bit of out the box thinking by me to create this engagement. But it is worth it! Speed dating to recap & talk about previous topics & how they link to new learning was a good one I used.

2. Engage before explain! This involves students taking some responsibility for finding out what we are doing before I do any explaining. If they dont engage with their peers in some form of collaborative study, any talking or presenting from me are just words. My explanation can always follow their engagement

3. Students have to be involved in their learning. This could take the form of pre-planning or co-constructing of the lesson itself. Most certainly they need to be responsible for leading their learning in the lesson.

4. Perceived choice! Keeping their motivation up there by facilitating the students into how they progress their learning. Some may want to talk, some may want to record down, some may want to mind map. They can choose as long as they can demonstrate their learning.

5. A real recognition & praise from me for the resilient approach to always be looking for the chance to do things better. This is something that I try to model as much as possible in the hope it rubs off on the students.

Hopefully my 5 to drive will make my students into self-starters & make them self motivated to be life long learners.

Comments & thoughts really welcomed.


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3 thoughts on “Motivation is the key!

  1. A short and very useful list of ideas. Already given me a tun of ideas for a lesson tomorrow. I think motivating themselves is crucial, you can’t be motivated for the sake of it, it needs to be attached to something meaningful. Your idea of ‘perceived choice’ is something I think I’ve done, but never thought of it in this way. Well put.

  2. Some nice ideas. Could you explain the speed dating starter for me? It sounds a bit like the ‘3 questions’ activity I sometimes do at the beginning where each student has 5 mins to find the answers to 3 questions about the previous lesson.

    I find that time of day is a big issue in motivation too. Often students will come in to me last class asking ‘Can we take it easy today Sir?’. I try not to react badly to this and instead take it as ‘information’ which will help me adapt what it is I want them to learn. Adaptability is key.

    I also like your idea of allowing the student to decide how they record and demonstrate their learning. Does this get you into trouble with the ‘underline your title and rule your margin’ brigade?

    • Hi Damien,

      Many thanks for your comments & thoughts. With the speed dating as a starter I have done it in a number of ways. One was to write down on a series of cards different ideas or prompts around a topic. The students then pair up & one of them tries to impress their date by telling them what they know about the card’s content. Its great for active learning & getting the students talking about what they know. It helps me too understand where they are at.

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