Articles for Teachers
There is nothing more discouraging to a teacher who has spent hours preparing a lesson than to feel like none of the students even care. With a little focus on motivation, teachers can actively involve students in the learning process.
Praise students often. Don't wait until a student has accomplished something major to give him a pat on the back. Always couple constructive criticism with a praise. You must realize that no matter how nice you make it sound criticism is criticism and many students view it as negative. Don't deliver correction for something done wrong without praising your student for something he has done right.
Make learning a collaborative effort. Allow students to work on a project with a partner or a team. As long as students are closely monitored and realize that the teacher is walking around the room, they will usually stay on task. There is strength in numbers, and students sometimes have more confidence in themselves when working with a partner.
Allow students to use technology in the classroom whenever possible. Even if your school district doesn't have the money to equip classrooms with computers, you can sometimes purchase discarded equipment from other school districts that is still in good working order.
Create excitement when introducing new ideas and concepts. Allow students to see how the new lesson relates to their lives. Provide real world examples when possible.
Involve students in teaching whenever you can. When introducing a new unit, give each student a partner to work with. Make copies of the reading assignment or lesson introduction and give a small section of the passage to each pair. Allow time for pairs to digest and summarize their section. When everyone is finished, go around the room and have each pair briefly summarize what their section of the passage was about. Some pairs will do a much better job of summarizing than others, but make sure you reward each pair with praise.
Check for understanding and review previously covered concepts often. To a student, the only thing worse than not understanding is feeling like everyone else understands everything when she is totally lost.
Realize that each student is an individual and, as such, no two students will be motivated in exactly the same way. Some need more encouragement and different techniques than others. The demographics of a classroom are sometimes extremely varied, and you will have a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds to work with. Something that can mean the world to one student may be totally meaningless to another.
Let students know that you have high expectations of them and that you feel each student is important and has the ability to learn something from being in your classroom.