Learning how to motivate your students is one of the most important aspects of being a teacher. Amy has put together 10 ways to help you cultivate a thriving learning environment.
It can be hard to ensure that students are focused and motivated to learn in the current educational climate of the UK. The key to motivating your students is making sure that learning is fun. Here are 10 ways to motivate your students.
1. Pass the parcel
Pass the parcel is an exciting aspect of what is referred to as 'WOW' teaching. Implement the strategies, and your kids won't be able to wait to get through your door!
Buy a cheap prize or a selection of cheap prizes and wrap them and layer them in a parcel. Students have to answer a subject-related question each time the music stops and they take a layer off. When it gets to the big prize in the middle, it's a particularly difficult question, and students may be out to help each other.
2. Keyword Bingo
Keyword Bingo is an exciting and fun starter to get the students really excited for your lesson. Give out a bingo card with six or nine squares in those squares, students write key words to do with that particular topic. As you read out your list of keywords, the students cross them off until the person with all of the keywords crossed off stand up and shouts Bingo!
To enhance subject knowledge, make it so that the winner can only achieve the prize if they can explain what all of the keywords mean.
3. Track improvements
Students need to feel like they are progressing and improving. It is important to set short-term and achievable goals to enhance their confidence. This could be done with a progress platter in the back of the book. Or, it could be done with a will chart and stickers. Whichever way you treat shoes to track their improvement, you will find this highly motivating for your students.
4. Praise, praise, praise!
It's all too easy to focus on the negative when we are operating in a highly stressful classroom environment. However, you will find that focusing on the positive, rather than the negative will be much more motivating for students. So make the most of merits, credits or the system that your school has in place for rewards. You may even find the students getting competitive!
5. Give them responsibilities
Students feel more motivated to learn when they are in control of their classroom environment. Assigning appropriate jobs to certain students can make them feel involved end motivated their learning. This could be a simple job like giving out equipment, or a more challenging job, such as a press officer or plenary person.
6. Exciting trips
Students love to go on field trips. This could be to the coast, a theatre or even just a local park. Find out where there are museum exhibitions relating to your subject and call to see if they get a group or educational discount. The students will love it! It also gives you as the teacher the chance to interact on a different level and see them in a different environment.
7. Create an amazing learning environment
The classroom sets the scene for your lessons, so make it an exciting one. Create models with your students and display them. Hang mobiles from the ceiling and cover the walls with their work. If you want to give them responsibility for this, they can contribute one lunch time.
8. Take them outside!
There are plenty of fun activities you can do outside with your students, even the older ones like it. Throw a ball around the circle, asking and answering subject knowledge questions. Or you could try a keywords running race where you have a flip chart and marker pen for each team and they have to do a relay adding to the keywords as they go. At the end, check the spellings and discuss their meaning.
9. Cater for kinaesthetic and audio learners
Not everyone learns visually or academically, so plan lessons that include kinaesthetic learning and audio learning for these types of learners. I had a great lesson once where we did ‘Kung Fu’ plate tectonics! Audios are great in history, English and Religious Studies. We also set an exciting ‘Minecraft Mosque’ homework once in Religious Studies. It was so popular that other schools in the area were asking for it!
10. Run after school clubs
By running an extra-curricular club with your students, you can have fun and learn with them in a different way. It will create trust in you and your classroom. Once they feel safe and secure their motivation levels will go through the roof!
I had a fantastic strategy board games club that I ran with year 7. We played game with a humanities theme, including Dominion and Pandemic. As a consequence, the popularity of my subject dramatically increased, as did the club membership!
We hope that you have found these 10 tips motivating! Share your feedback with us on Twitter and Facebook.