It won’t really matter how much you know your subject or how much material you give your students, if they are not engaged with your teaching, they won’t feel excited or motivated. Whether you are new to teaching in the UK or you are new to teaching in general, it is important that you develop a teaching strategy which involves motivating your students. Obviously, every student will be different in what will keep them motivated, but if you use a combination of different strategies, you will find that this could make a real difference. These are some simple teaching methods to incorporate into your plan to make your classes more effective.
One of the most effective teaching methods to motivate your students is to actually be excited yourself. If you come across as positive, happy and excited about the subject matter, your students will feed off this and will get the same buzz from your classes.
Mix up the classes
If your classes always involve the same setup and environment, you mind find that even the most motivated students start to get a bit restless and bored. Instead of always keeping your classes in the classroom, mix it up a bit by taking your students on trips or changing the general surroundings. You may even want to try getting a guest speaker in occasionally to spark the interest of your students.
A great teaching tool which has proven to be effective time and time again is a reward system. If your students have goals to reach, with rewards for achieving these, you will find that they will be more motivated and excited by your classes. The rewards don’t need to be anything lavish, they might just include a bar of chocolate, an early finish or maybe the opportunity to watch a movie. Every student will be different in terms of the type of reward they will like, so consider this before you work out a system.
One thing which is usually lacking in both the classroom and the workplace is positive feedback and this can be a great tool for motivation. Don’t be afraid to let your students know when they have done a great job and focus on the positive rather than the negative. It doesn’t matter what age group you are teaching, everyone loves positive feedback. You may want to follow this up by sharing their work on social media or another outlet if they are happy for you to do so.
The classroom should not just be a place where you talk at your students, they listen and there is no further engagement. Many classes are like this and this can cause students to become bored quite quickly. Instead of using the same set up each time, it is important to give your students different experiences. For instance, you might want to try group discussions or times when students can go away and read on their own. It may even be a good idea to combine your classroom lessons with hands-on experience.
Everyone is different and your classroom is likely to be a shrine of personalities, all looking for unique motivators from their lessons. A good teacher will be able to identify these personalities and encourage students depending on their needs. For instance, if a student is particularly anxious, putting them in uncomfortable situations where they need to speak to the entire class will be unlikely to help them. However, you can gently encourage them with small group situations and rewards for speaking out. This should be done in a subtle way though, as singling students out will have the opposite effect from what you want. It is important to take time to really know your students and what interests they have, rather than just trying to remember their name.
Students will be more motivated if they feel that they have control over some elements of the teaching plan. Encourage students to decide on the set up of the class occasionally and give them different options for what how the class is set up.
Although education is essential, it doesn’t mean it has to be dull and boring. Education can be interesting and the more fun it is, the more your students will look forward to your classes, which of course, is the ultimate goal. If you make your classes light and enjoyable, your students will be more motivated as a result.
Goals are one of the best ways to motivate and these can be a great way to track the progress of your students. If your students feel like they are progressing, they will be more excited about the classes and will feel motivated for success.
Rather than always giving the feedback, you might want to try allowing your students to provide feedback about your classes. Without knowing how your students feel, you might have no idea if they are enjoying it. The more you know about the classes, the more positive changes you will be able to make.