Improve lessons according to student motivation
- December 4, 2020
- Posted by: Shannon Amaadar
- Category: Uncategorized
Student motivations are as unique as a fingerprint. This often makes it difficult to motivate an entire class of students using the same techniques. How can we help student motivation to get the most out of the lessons, keeping them interested and engaged? The first step is to understand the basic motivation structures.
Intrinsic and extrinsic student motivation
There are two main types of motivation that we’ll be looking at. These are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Students interested in learning language for the sake of it are Intrinsically motivated. They feel a sense of pride when they learn something new or understand new concepts. That is, their motivation comes from within them and their own drive to learn.
Extrinsically motivated students respond better to external stimuli. Effective rewards can be stickers, sweets, or achieving a goal such as being accepted to the university they’ve applied to. So how do we incorporate this into our classrooms?
Having an idea about how students are motivated is important. If you’ve worked with your students for a while you’ll understand. However, a few simple questions can make it clear. If you find a student who isn’t engaging or seems distracted, ask them how the lesson could be better. Their answer will tell you a lot.
Intrinsically motivated students may seem bored. Providing them with a research task or activity that engages their mind, like a word search will help them focus. The pride of completing a task or learning a new fact will boost their motivation to keep going.
You might also like 5 reasons to start learning onine
Students who say they don’t understand the point of the lesson or say that it isn’t relevant to their goals will need an external motivator to stay engaged. Adult students will benefit from explanations of why a certain topic is relevant, or how they can use the information in different ways. Younger students will be excited to receive a reward such as a star or sweet for staying on tasks and completing it.
Deep, strategic, and surface learners
As well as these 2 types of student motivation, let’s also take a look at three different kinds of learners, deep learners, strategic learners and surface learners. Knowing the different types can help you to motivate your students as well as you will be better able to understand and meet their needs.
Deep learners like getting involved in a subject. These are the easiest students to teach. They’re often intrinsically motivated and need little encouragement to learn effectively. They find reward in mastering difficult subjects, so if you have a student who seems bored, challenge them with something a little above their ability and see how they do.
Extrinsically motivated students are often strategic learners. Driven by competition and physical reward. However, these students often learn the material in a more temporary manner that allows them to achieve their goal, then quickly forget the lesson altogether. It’s important to appeal to their intrinsic motivations and show them that the feeling pride in their work is itself a reward. This can be difficult though, as these students quickly lose interest if they feel there isn’t anything to gain.
Students motivated by the need to avoid failure are Surface learners. Often they’ll avoid difficult tasks and stay within a comfort zone that allows them to succeed even if it’s only at a very basic level. These students benefit from building their confidence. Try rewarding them for trying a new and more challenging task rather than rewarding them for completing it, or acknowledge their efforts and praise them, even if they fail. Showing these students that failure is in fact progress in learning may help them to try learning at a deeper level.
It can be hard when you have a full class, each students motivation unique. Being aware of them can help you to plan a more engaging lesson and build better relationships with your students.