Psychology / Motivating Students

Motivating Students

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Autor:  anton  09 November 2010
Tags:  Motivating,  Students
Words: 762   |   Pages: 4
Views: 523

MOTIVATING STUDENTS

Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need-or expect-their instructors to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them: "Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher's ability to maintain the interest in the first place". Whatever level of motivation the students bring to the classroom will be transformed, for better or worse, by what happens in that classroom. Unfortunately, there is no single magical formula for motivating students. Many factors affect a given student's motivation to work and to learn: interest in the subject matter, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as patience and persistence. And, of course, the same value, needs, desires, or wants motivate not all students. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others, some by overcoming challenges. Researchers have begun to identify those aspects of the teaching situation that enhance students' self-motivation To encourage students to become self-motivated independent learners, instructors can do the following:

• Give frequent, early, positive feedback that supports students' beliefs that they can do well.

• Ensure opportunities for students' success by assigning tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult.

• Create an atmosphere that is open and positive.

• Help students feel that they are valued members of a learning community.

Research has also shown that most students respond positively to a well-organized course taught by an enthusiastic instructor who has a genuine interest in students and what they learn.

Thus activities you undertake to promote learning will also enhance students' motivation

Make students active participants in learning. Students learn by doing, making, writing, designing, creating, and solving. Passivity dampens students' motivation and curiosity. Pose questions. Don't tell students something when you can ask them. Encourage students to suggest approaches to a problem or to guess the results of an experiment. Use small group work.

Hold high but realistic expectations for your students. Research has shown that a teacher's expectations have a powerful effect on a student's performance. If you act as though you expect your students to be motivated, hardworking, and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so. Set realistic expectations for students when you make assignments, give explanations, conduct discussions, and conduct examinations. "Realistic" in this context means that your standards are high enough to motivate students to do their best work but not so high that students will inevitably be frustrated in trying to meet those expectations. To develop the drive to achieve, students need to believe that achievement is possible -which means that you need to provide early opportunities for success.

Help students set achievable goals for themselves. Failure to attain unrealistic goals can disappoint and frustrate students. Encourage students to focus on their continued improvement, not just on their grade on any one test or assignment. Help students evaluate their progress by encouraging them to critique their own work, analyze their strengths, and work on their weaknesses.

Tell students what they need to do to succeed in your course. Don't let your students struggle to figure out what is expected of them. Reassure students that they can do well in your course, and tell them exactly what they must do to succeed. Say something to the effect "If you can solve the questions from these books or test papers, you can pass the exam.

Strengthen students' self-motivation. Avoid messages that reinforce your power as an instructor or that emphasize extrinsic rewards. Instead of saying, "I require," "you must," or "you should," stress "I think you will find . . . " or "I will be interested in your reaction."

Avoid creating intense competition among students. Competition produces anxiety, which can interfere with learning. Reduce students' tendencies to compare themselves to one another. Research shows that students are more attentive, display better comprehension, produce more work, and are more favorable to the teaching method when they work cooperatively in groups rather than compete as individuals. Refrain from public criticisms of students' performance and from comments or activities that pit students against each other.

Be enthusiastic about your subject. An instructor's enthusiasm is a crucial factor in student motivation. If you become bored or apathetic, students will too. Typically, an instructor's enthusiasm comes from confidence, excitement about the content, and genuine pleasure in teaching. If you find yourself uninterested in the material, think back to what attracted you to the field and bring those aspects of the subject matter to life for your students. Or challenge yourself to devise the most exciting way to present the material, however dull the material itself may seem to you.



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