6 ways to better motivate students

+12.1.14 | 02:20 PM

Looking at student drop out rates and college completion statistics, it may seem like motivation is a missing trait in many of today's students. High school dropout rates have exceeded 8 percent so far in 2014, and this trend is expected to continue. In order to encourage students toward success, we need to consider what motivates them and how to boost that motivation so they become self-starters and owners of their own path.

At Grand Key Education, we believe that motivation is one of the most important factors in the owner mentality. This is what pushes students to strive for success and not fall victim to negative thinking. Motivation drives use to overcome the odds and stop thinking like a victim and start owning our own potential – traits that need to be developed in today's students.

There are a few things you can do to help students become more motivated and more likely to succeed. Here are a few suggestions:

Eliminate threats – A threat-free environment will go a long way toward motivating students. A more supportive classroom that doesn't focus on the fear of failure, but the rewards of success, will foster motivation to perform better and a positive attitude toward that effort. Rather than rule by fear, the classroom should be ruled by positive motivation.

Encourage self-reflection – Success is a variety of things, and it might be different for every student. Even a poor grade might be a success for a student who has only utterly failed before. Encouraging self-reflection will help students determine their own goals, setting an expectation that they will feel more comfortable with and allowing them to focus on their own strengths and weaknesses.

Give them a sense of control – Having a sense of control over their own success is critical for motivation. Students who feel in control of their destiny are less likely to become overwhelmed and will continue to perform well. This can be as easy as offering choices, rather than making blanket assignments, so that students can do work that focuses on their strengths and builds up their weaknesses, rather than struggle.

Offer variety – Variety is the spice of life, and the same is true in education. Not all students react the same way to a style of teaching, so changing it up with some frequency allows all students a chance to succeed. Furthermore, varied lesson strategies will keep students focused and engaged, which is important for motivation as a whole.

Reward success – Rather than punishing failures, focus on rewarding the successes of students and offering praise when earned. This creates a more positive environment, and rather than fearing failure they will look forward to success, a completely different mindset for today's students.

Spread excitement – Enthusiasm is a critical part of motivation and if you are excited about the work the students are doing, they will become excited to do it. This encourages ownership thinking and provides significant motivation on its own, but also helps to develop that positive learning environment that is beneficial to overall student motivation.

Whatever inspires a student to do and be better will be their motivating force, and as a teacher it's your job to help them discover what that force may be. These tips can help move students toward discovering their own motivating force, and how they can use it to become owners of their own lives.

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