Teachers know that a student’s motivation can make the difference between a successful learning experience and failure. Motivation to learn is as important as the actual imparting of knowledge. However, it’s challenging to motivate students who grow up in a world that thrives on short attention spans and does not place a high value on academic achievement.
To prevent the educational process from stopping at the classroom door, the challenge for the teacher is to find ways to encourage a high level of motivation outside of the classroom. Here are several ways to achieve that.
1. Accentuate the positive
Whether inside or outside the classroom, a student needs to feel that they are capable of success and expected to do well. Praise, encouragement and acknowledgement of progress can go a long way in motivating students.
2. Set expectations and consequences
Students must be clear about what they need to do to succeed. Set expectations for each assignment and encourage questions. Teachers must also give consequences for not living up to these expectations. Consequences for unfinished homework or projects teaches students accountability.
3. Introduce competition
Most children are naturally competitive; this can be a powerful tool to motivate students outside of the classroom. Making an occasional contest out of homework can make accomplishment fun.
4. Introduce collaboration
The opposite of using competition to foster motivation is collaboration. Encouraging teamwork on projects get students helping each other and using their individual strengths to accomplish a goal.
5. Connect to their world
Relate homework and outside projects to students’ lives. Turn everyday experiences like family meals, vacations, taking care of a pet or a sibling, saving an allowance, and so on into educational opportunities.
6. Plug into technology
Students already use computers, tablets and smartphones. These multimedia tools have the potential to enhance curriculum engagement. Create projects using these tools to allow students to collaborate with each other, and encourage parents to provide valuable, real-time feedback.
7. Get parents involved
Getting parents involved in a home project is a great way to motivate students, and most parents will appreciate the opportunity for hands-on involvement in their child’s education. Involved parents will also ensure homework completion.
8. Get students involved
Allowing students to participate in the creation of homework and have a choice in the subjects they study outside the classroom will encourage creativity and boost excitement.
9. Use the television
Like it or not, kids spend a great deal of their time outside of the classroom in front of the TV. Turn this into an advantage by assigning educational programs which can be a part of classroom discussion the next day.
10. Consider the student
Teachers should engage on an individual level with students and find out what challenges they may be facing at home. Assigning homework that is unrealistic for a particular students’ situation is a motivation killer. Sometimes a tailored approach is necessary. Take individual learning styles into account too.
Motivation is key
Amid the various distractions our technologically advanced world has, motivating students should be at the forefront of educator’s goals. Getting students motivated to learn when they are outside of the classroom can be accomplished with some creativity and imagination. Teaching students how to learn at home will motivate them to love learning for a lifetime.