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10 Super-quick and easy ways to intrinsically motivate your students

Meredith // March 8th 2012 // 

Intrinsic motivation in schoolToday, the LearnBoost team is happy to share thoughts from veteran teacher, Julia Thompson, on ways to encourage intrinsic motivation in the learning environment. Her strategies hinge on formulating thoughtful lesson plans with goals to really engage students in the content. Don’t forget to include a motivation activity in your LearnBoost lesson plans! Without further ado, let’s see 10 ways to foster intrinsic motivation in the classroom.

How to promote intrinsic motivation

Although “motivation activity” rarely appears on any standard lesson plan template, devising ways to appeal to your students’ interests is certainly worth the time and trouble. Students who are intrinsically motivated will want to do their work, will want to stay on task, will want to succeed. And what teacher would not want to encourage that behavior?

1. Offer encouraging, focused feedback as well as general praise to encourage students to work with purpose.

2. Recognize and praise effort. Help your students develop self-efficacy by helping them see the connection between effort and achievement.

3. Make success possible. Begin each assignment with the easier material, question, etc. Creating confident learners will encourage them to keep trying.

4. Offer students a variety of ways to self-monitor their work. The easiest way is to offer them checklists to keep track of completed tasks.

5. It’s almost magic. If you think highly of your students, they will tend to behave better for you than for the teachers who obviously do not enjoy being with them.

6. Provide plenty of models, samples, and examples so that students know what to do. Examples of bad work are also helpful because they can show student what not to do.

7. Give clear written and verbal direction so that your students can find it easy to stay on task. Students who know how to do their work well will be less apt to be off class than those who do not know what they need to accomplish in class.

8. Arouse student curiosity about a lesson and you will find that inherent motivation will prevent many discipline problems.

9. Spend two minutes at the start of a lesson: ask questions, show photos, play clips, give quick teamed activities…anything that will encourage students to want to learn more.

10. Spend time setting goals with your students. Looking forward in this way gives your students practical reasons for wanting to do their work.

Julia ThompsonWith over 30 years of classroom experience as a public school teacher, Julia is helping new and veteran teachers everywhere with tricks of the trade. We’re excited to share Julia’s brilliance in a series of posts on the LearnBoost blog. She’ll be sharing tips on classroom management, best practices, and strategies for new teachers as they encounter the daily ups-and-downs of classroom life, and more! Last month, Julia advised us on 10 ways not to ruin your teaching career, so be sure to check it out if you missed it.

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