In light of recently honoring our most inspiring educators with our Envisionary Awards, we couldn’t help but wonder: “How do teachers do what they do?” You
spend long hours altering lesson plans and figuring out new and exciting ways to keep those bright young minds interested in learning. Like any good
student, we needed answers (and here at Envision we are constantly learning). We did our research and found five ways teachers inspire and motivate their
1. If You’re Excited, They’re Excited
Enthusiasm is contagious. Use your knowledge and love of the subject to come up with examples your students can relate to and understand. Introduce the
subject slowly through an interesting activity or group project. If you are giddy about finding new ways to implement a pulley system in a Rube Goldberg machine, chances are, they will be too.
2. Competition with Others vs. Competition with Themselves
Competition is tricky. If you’re not the type of teacher that encourages competition in the classroom, a softer approach may work the best. Organize
your students into teams and offer a first and second prize to encourage a friendly contest. Using TV format learning games are always a good idea when
testing subject matter, and you can try the team approach for long term projects. Another way to keep students interested is to promote competition
with themselves. Ask them to time themselves as they answer questions on a fact sheet and challenge them to beat their fastest time.
They can track their improvement weekly and be able to see the comparison firsthand.
3. Reward Them
One motivational method that will never fail is giving rewards and praise for a job well done. Rewards can be general or subject based, and can range
anywhere from a class field trip to a movie day. Ask your students what their ideal Friday would look like, and offer their suggestions as an incentive
to aim higher on their next exam! Even a small gesture like saying “great job!” could make the difference in a student’s attitude and approach to
4. Let Them Take Ownership
Dole out responsibilities for each of your students, or separate them into small task groups. Whether it’s being responsible for writing out the lesson of
the day on the board or taking attendance in the mornings, giving students a concrete role in the class will help them feel more involved and give them a
sense of autonomy when they can actually see their work or task as its being implemented.
5. Student Sourced Lesson Plans
Sit through a Q&A with your students and ask them what subjects they would be most interested in learning and why. Use a multiple-choice format to
avoid “yes” and “no” answers, and figure out how you can work in their favorite subjects throughout the year. Try testing out this method by designating
one day a week or month to exploring your student’s lesson plans. You can even make it fun by hosting a “theme” day!
Do you agree with these methods? What are some of the best ways you encourage your students to stay motivated? Comment below!
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