What Motivates Students?

studentsMany students need motivation.  They need motivation to get up in the morning and get on the bus, to pay attention in class, and to do their homework.  Teachers and parents try numerous things to motivate young people from giving positive feedback to rewarding students with money.  No matter the adults' preferred method of motivation, education experts all agree on one thing: while many students are naturally excited about learning, most others need (even expect) to be inspired, challenged and rewarded for in the teaching and learning process.  Here are some tips for parents and teachers alike to motivate students:

  • Tell the student that he/she can do well.  Positive feedback is great mental stimulation.
  • It doesn't all have to be so hard.  Help students feel better about their work by making some assignments and tasks easier and others more difficult.
  • Relate classroom material to the students' personal lives.  Introduce the connection between theory and practicality.
  • Allow students to ask questions; give positive and honest answers.
  • Help students feel respected.

These tips are good steps towards encouraging, mentoring and rewarding students.  Notice that the reward needn't always be material or monetary.  Students are often better served with a kind word or gesture.  A good lesson for future "real-world" life is that good work isn't always rewarded with money.  Students need to know and feel that their work is valued even when a price tag isn't attached to their success.

What are your tips for motivating young people?  Share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Jim Frost