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How to Motivate Students in Simple Ways

Janelle Cox

If you were to ask a teacher what is one of the most challenging things that you have to do as a teacher, the majority of them would say it’s learning how to motivate students. You may think you have just put together the best lesson in the world, but if the students aren’t excited about it, they will not be motivated to learn it. Motivation is an essential factor in the success of all students, and teachers play a pivotal role in knowing how to motivate students. The challenge for most teachers is finding out how to motivate students to work hard and be enthusiastic about what they are learning.

Here’s how to motivate students in five simple ways.

How to Motivate Students: Appeal to Their Interest

One of the keys to improving student motivation is to appeal to what interests them. If you want them to be engaged and motivated to learn ,then you must find out what motivates them. You can do this by conducting a student interest survey, or taking a class poll. If you find that the majority of your class is into sports, then create a way to integrate sports into your lessons. Studies have shown that when teachers merge student interest into their lessons, students are more likely to be engaged. Appealing to student interest is a great motivator that keeps them engaged, as well as enjoying what they are learning.

Utilize Technology

Embrace technology by giving students the opportunity to use it in the classroom. Studies show that students thrive and are more likely to stay engaged in what they do when they are utilizing technology. Several studies even reported positive effects of using technology on student motivation. Students report that learning is more fun though technology and it makes them feel smarter. Try implementing computer-based programs, use an iPad or tablet for games and activities, or utilize the school Smartboard. Technology is fun, and your students will be motivated to use it.

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Keep Learning Fresh

Mix it up and keep learning fresh, fun, and exciting. Students get bored when they do the same type of lessons and activities day in and day out. To peak student interest, try changing the way you teach. Instead of having students work alone for their science activity like you always do, put them into cooperative learning groups. If you find that your students are bored with writing out their spelling words each week, try having them do spelling stairs. This is when they have to write the first letter of the spelling word on the first line, then right below they write the first and second letter of the word, and so on until the full word is written. By mixing it up, and varying the way you teach, you are keeping it fresh.

Offer Incentives

Everyone loves to win! By offering your students the chance to earn a reward you are motivating them. Things like pizza or ice cream parties, watching a movie, or winning a special mystery prize from the prize box can be a great incentive to work harder. Many people may argue that students should not be offered incentives to learn because then they expect something every time they accomplish a goal. But, when you do well at your job, there is a chance that you may get offered a raise. So, this small incentive may be just the push your students need to encourage them to work hard.

Praise Your Students

Children look to their teachers for encouragement and praise. When they see they are getting the respect and acknowledgment they need for working hard, they are more likely to feel valued and excited about learning. Praise your students, even if it's just for something as little as remembering to write the date on their paper if they usually forget. Recognizing something even this small can help motivate them to want to do more. Be sure to take the time to say "well done" as often as you can. By creating a warm and friendly classroom, where your students feel free to speak their mind and have their voice heard, will go a long way.

By appealing to students’ interests and utilizing technology, we can motivate our students to not only do their work, but actually like it. The whole school day doesn’t have to be all about motivating your students, but students need to feel that school is a place where they can learn and have fun. This will motivate them to pay attention and work hard.

How do you motivate your students? Do you have any tricks or tips that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.