Twenty Tips on Motivating Students

Twenty Tips on Motivating Students

Few teachers would deny that motivated students are easier to teach, or that students who are interested in learning do, in fact, learn more. So how do teachers motivate their students? Here are some practiced, tried-and tru

Twenty Tips on Motivating Students

e strategies to get (and keep) your students interested in learning.

Know your students’ names and use their names as often as possible.
Plan for every class; never try to wing it.
Pay attention to the strengths and limitations of each of your students. Reward their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses.
If possible, set your class room in a U-shape to encourage interaction among students.
Vary your instructional strategies; use lectures, demonstrations, discussions, case studies, groups, and more.
Review the learning objectives with your students. Be sure students know what they are expected to learn, do, know, etc.
Move around the room as you teach.
Make your classes relevant. Be sure students see how the content relates to them and the world around them.
Be expressive. Smile.
Put some excitement into your speech; vary your pitch, volume and rate.
Give lots of examples.
Encourage students to share their ideas and comments, even if they are incorrect. You’ll never know what students don’t understand unless you ask them.
Maintain eye contact and move toward your students as you interact with them. Nod your head to show that you are listening to them.
Provide opportunities for students to speak to the class.
Be available before class starts, during break, and after class to visit with students.
Return assignments and tests to students as soon as reasonably possible. Provide constructive feedback.
Be consistent in your treatment of students.
Make sure that your exams are current, valid, and reliable. Tie your assessment to your course objectives.
Plan around 15-20 minute cycles. Students have difficulty maintaining attention after a longer period of time.
Involve your students in your teaching. Ask for feedback.

How to Motivate Your Students and Get Them to Listen to You

Give choices to your students.

Examples of choices can include:

  • Read a book of your choice and do a book report on it
  • After you read this paragraph, draw a picture or write a few sentences to summarize what you read
  • For homework, make a poster or write a poem about your favorite activity
  • Write or type your essay

8. Teach your students to treat others nicely, use kind words, and be tolerant of differences. Let them know that you are proud of them and they should be proud of themselves when you see them being helpful or kind to others. Remind them of class rules to be respectful and speak nicely to their peers. Report any bullying to your school team and be aware and follow your school’s protocol for bullying.


9. For younger students, teach them how to share with each other. For example, if a child snatches a toy out of another child’s hand and that other child hits the child who took the toy, teach them and model how to appropriately ask for a toy (e.g., “Can I have a turn playing with that please?”) and how to respond if the other child says “No, I am playing with it.” (e.g., show them how to find another toy to play with). Teach the child who hit to use his words (e.g., “I do not like when you snatch a toy from my hand, I was playing with this”). Teach the children to ask for help from an adult if they cannot work it out on their own. Also encourage children to share and set limits for how long your students can play with a particular toy before they must let another child have a turn. Give appropriate praise when you see nice sharing among students (“I love how you shared the cars with Brian today! Keep up the good work!”).

10. Allow your students to have opportunities for movement throughout the day (other than recess).


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