The beginning of the school year often sees pupils more determined than ever. However, it can only take several months for some to lose their drive. It’s around this time of year when standards can start to drop if people are not careful. This can lead to negativity in the classroom, poor exam results and incomplete homework. If you are currently teaching in the UK, you will no doubt want to nip this in the bud at the first sign and re-motivate your pupils. Luckily, there are some ways you can go about doing this. Here are just eight techniques that should guarantee quick results.
First and foremost, under no circumstances should you even hint that the work is uninspiring. Whether you are teaching trigonometry in maths or the periodic table in chemistry, you should teach each lesson with heaps of enthusiasm. Don’t for one minute agree that the work is uninteresting or you risk sending the wrong message. Instead, stay positive at every opportunity and teach each topic with plenty of energy.
When faced with motivating their class, most teachers will emphasise that there are exams right around the corner. But why not go one better and delve a little further into the future? It is always worth reminding your class about the prospects that come from working hard. This can be a dream job, a fancy house or money to splash on expensive items. This will surely motivate them to get their head down and go the extra mile to school.
As mentioned, it can be all guns blazing at the start of the year when pupils tuck into a whole new subject. But eventually, as they delve further into the detail, many start to believe that they have hit a wall. When this starts to happen, it’s wise to remind your pupils of how far they have come in just a few months. Let them know you are happy with how much they’ve learned and are confident they will be able to absorb much more as the term continues.
There is nothing like a bit of competition to spice things up. Admittedly, this won’t motivate everyone so you need to have an awareness of which pupils could buckle under the pressure. Generally, though, you are on to a winner if you put your class into a position where they’re vying for victory. Just to be sure, you should only have your students strive towards first, second and third place because the technique could work against you if you expose people’s weaknesses by naming them in last place.
In some cases, pupils may think that some subjects bear no relation to real life. Due to this belief, they struggle to care for knowledge and lose motivation along the way. You can easily turn this around by pointing out how everything learned in school can be applicable to day-to-day life. It’s always handy to use pop culture references to make things more exciting. For example, if they’re bored of physics, simply explain that it will help them to understand TV’s The Big Bang Theory.
You don’t want to rely on this technique too strongly. After all, it is more the responsibility of parents to offer their children rewards for doing well. However, there is nothing wrong with offering a small incentive to an individual who might just need a push in the right direction. It doesn’t have to be anything like money or sweets. Instead, you should be able to get away with offering treats like classroom games or finishing early. As mentioned, such rewards should only be used few and far between so that you don’t foster a mentality where students won’t work unless there is an immediate incentive.
7. Class trips
The routine of 9 to 5 isn’t for everyone. Similarly, some individuals just aren’t built to spend their days in a classroom. They learn better when they are out and about – visiting places like museums, art galleries and historical buildings. There’s no reason why you can’t change gears every now and then by organising a class trip. It should mix things up for the pupils and remind them that learning can be very fun.
This one is so obvious, but sadly it isn’t always used. If you want to re-motivate your class, then try dishing out some praise. Throw words around like ‘excellent’, ‘perfect’ and ‘superb’ where appropriate. As well, where possible you should also strive to tell each member of your class how impressed you are with them and their efforts.
Motivation is key
You will find that your classroom is a much more productive place when your pupils are motivated. If for whatever reason they have become discouraged, these eight techniques should hopefully set them back on the right track.