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Motivational tips for the lesson

Motivational tips, students, Activate the students, training tip,
Motivational tips for the lesson

So that everyone is on the ball

What could be nicer for teachers than motivated and curious students who are looking forward to the lesson? Unfortunately, everyday life often looks different. Some students make it more or less clear that they are not interested in this subject or the current lesson content, that the plaster on the walls, the view out of the window or just staring into space interests them more than that lessons. What to do?

It goes without saying that students do not love all subjects or are enthusiastic about every lesson. After all, most people are only interested in certain things or topics, while other content tends to leave them cold. But for the acquisition of a solid basic knowledge and the construction and development of knowledge and skills, all subjects in school have their place.

Educators know about the importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how much the inner drive has to do with learning success. But if the intrinsic motivation doesn’t work at all, you need help from outside. And that help is you! In the best case, the extrinsic motivation of the students becomes intrinsic.

But how do you manage to motivate students for a subject or a topic that they are not really interested in, or only slightly interested in? It’s worth considering how you can arouse your own interest in a topic that doesn’t seem very interesting.

Attract attention with teasers

Just think about the last thing you read, for example an online Magazine. Certainly you not  interested in all categories and topics. But when do you click further from the teaser to the actual article? Sure, with interesting topics. But maybe also with the less interesting ones, because the headline and teaser made you curious? Because a question has asked there but not answered. Because the headline contains an assertion that has not yet proven in the teaser. A promise is initially made, but the teaser ends with the sentence: “The whole thing only has one catch.” You can use this trick in class as well. For example, by making a little mystery out of the subject of the lesson and starting with an amazing claim that you don’t even substantiate at first. With a bit of luck, you have already aroused the interest of your students in the subject of the lesson.

More motivation through everyday reference

Or you can start with a question from everyday life and then, in the following steps, work out exactly what the subject contributes to this topic. This approach works at all school levels.

You can also strengthen the practical relevance through cooperation with extracurricular institutions and experts in the classroom. Or you put learning in direct relation to your own well-being: “Without these vocabulary and idioms, you will definitely make a fool of yourself on the student exchange. However, if you can do the translations, you will skillfully avoid any linguistic faux pas.”

Rely on success

Another possibility: You use the expectation of success. Because the prospect of success is a strong component of motivation. But beware! Don’t make the tasks too easy just for the guarantee of success. Pupils usually have a keen sense for such tricks. Only when the task is actually a challenge for them do they develop ambition and willingness to perform. But the exaggeration in the other direction is not effective either. Anyone who feels that they are not up to the challenge soon loses motivation. So give the challenges a structure and ensure small successes with subtasks. Reward systems can help you with this. What is also important: Give the students enough time to complete the tasks successfully.

Freedom and responsibility for students

Give clear work instructions that still leave enough freedom for your own decisions, for self-determination and responsibility. A good example is station learning, which is particularly successful at primary schools, but also at secondary schools. Also allow unconventional trains of thought, ideas and solutions – especially with older students. Don’t take the phrase “Mistakes make you smart” as a mere phrase, but use potential mistakes made by the students for additional discussion and further approaches to the topic. And ask the right questions throughout the lesson. Avoid the old formulation “Do you have any questions? And rather ask more precisely: “What do you already have / what do you already understand?”

Activate the students

Let your students try something, create something and work together with others to solve a specific problem. The more active the students can be, the more they feel included in what is happening, the more their interest in the subject of the lesson grows. You can involve older students in the planning and design of the lessons. For example, as far as the forms of work are concerned, the proportion of group and project work suggestions for possible excursions, other media or experts. If not just the “guru” standing in front of the class makes all the specifications, the confidence in one’s own abilities grows and that spurs on!

It’s all in the mix

Rely on a mix of methods. Always the same method and always the same schedule have a tiring and demotivating effect. The same applies to the media mix. In addition to books, worksheets, blackboards or other traditional media, these are the digital media. Elementary school students are enthusiastic about small tasks on a PC or tablet, for example when they create tables, use the calculation functions of Excel or design the lesson topic in the form of a brochure. Older students feel motivated when you, as a teacher, rely on their competence as digital natives.

Your own motivation

However, it has not just among the students that the motivation sometimes leaves a lot to desired, even as a teacher you are not always highly motivated. That depends on how well you are doing on the day, on possible private problems and, of course, on the stresses that teachers are exposed to in the school system. Constantly motivating yourself has not always an easy task. But one with great effects, because – and this has perhaps the most important thing – the motivation of the teachers has transferred directly to the students.

Training tip

Targeted motivate – skillfully demotivate

When students are praised, they become more alive and active. Praise releases energy. If someone has constantly criticized, they lose the desire to do something. Criticism drains energy. In order to maintain the class’s enjoyment of learning, it has critical that praise outweigh criticism.